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Extra resources for A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain
It allows us to break with the primacy of the domestic in determining the proper responses to racism and its persistence, and clearly locates the decolonising impact of the ethnically marked. It has to be remembered that ethnic marking, the process of designating ethnic minorities and national majorities, is not a simple reflection of underlying realities, rather it is the product of a particular construction which has been foundational to the articulation of British identity. Attempts to re-articulate a British identity in the wake of ex-colonial settlement, loss of geopolitical prominence and the unravelling of the United Kingdom continue to founder upon the insistence that a serious consideration of the postcolonial be excluded from this.
Although Britain has a small but honourable tradition of political activists, community workers, journalists and academics striving to expose and explain the impact of racism across social life, the effect on British public culture has always been negligible. Atlantic slavery, British colonialism or Western imperialism were instrumental in shaping what contemporary Britain inherits and understands as nationalism and liberalism. Yet in the fields of knowledge regularly and conventionally produced in and disseminated through the public culture, racism is somehow exempted from these historical and social formations.
Given the homology between racial practices in Nazi Germany and normalised practices in the rest of the world subject to European coloniality, it is worth asking what circumstances motivated the invention and formulation of racism as a concept describing German imperial practices across Europe, especially when these practices resembled those carried out by European authorities in the colonised territories? Each one of the racialised techniques of social exclusion, segregation, demonisation, marginalisation and violence was already operating under the rule of coloniality.