About that institutional racism of post war Britain

Bloke on the Windrush, serving in the RAF:

King rejoined the RAF, but found civilian accommodation was the biggest challenge. At the first place he visited he was greeted with a sign that would become depressingly familiar: “Room to let. No Irish, No Coloureds, No Dogs.”

When he found a place there was no bath. Like many fellow Jamaicans, he relied on the public baths of Camberwell and Brixton, queueing for half an hour on Friday evenings.

He was determined to buy his own house and became only the second West Indian in London to do so when he took the deeds to a property in Sears Road, Camberwell. The manager at his local bank had refused to give him a mortgage even though he had a job and saved up for a deposit. The rejection letter advised him to “go back to the colonies”. The RAF lent him the money to be repaid in ten years. King paid it back in five.

Most certainly racism, yes, but it’s a little difficult to call that institutional, isn’t it?

52 thoughts on “About that institutional racism of post war Britain”

  1. My white English great-grandparents relied on the public baths of Middlesbrough. That was the state of the country back then.

  2. His bank manager, who would have been rather independent was a racist, but the RAF gave him the money.

    I would argue the best way to tell if there was institutional racism would be if we knew whether he was allowed in the baths at the same time as white folk.

  3. No Tim, not institutional.

    But bloody horrible and shaming. We are souch better than that today.

  4. “bloody horrible and shaming. We are souch better than that today.”

    Souch? Whatever you say.

    He alone is responsible for his actions (from the available info) so it’s not ‘shaming’ of the rest of us, decades on, any more than Myra Hindley shamed all women, or the 9/11 hijackers shamed all muslims, or your ostentatious emotional fuckwittery shames all South African Scousers.

  5. Back then you had to look after your family,clan,group etc.
    There was not the abundance and life such as now.
    If the sign ‘rooms to let etc’ existed at all it was
    rare.
    My year book of 1958 had 9 ‘pigmented’ out of some 60 and this was in Wales.

  6. @ironman, not if you listen to the media. All Brexiters are responsible for the death of Jo Cox, and most of the UK population are racist, even it’s against white Easter Europeans. It’s racism all the same.

  7. King certainly made a worthy contribution to the UK. Today’s numerous semi-feral blacks, not to mention many RoPers, could learn a great deal from his example.

  8. Isn’t that “No Irish No coloureds. No dogs ” thing apocryphal?
    The supposed sign was photographed was actually done for the photo.

  9. The Meissen Bison

    Ironman: We are so much better than that today.

    When did human nature get that important system upgrade?

  10. “He was determined to buy his own house and became only the second West Indian in London to do so”
    I’d call bollocks on that too.
    How would you know? Did they put colour of freeholder on title deeds, back then? Seen enough deeds & it’s never been mentioned. I certainly know of a house was owned by “West Indians” long before the Windrush sailed in. It’s in Forest Gate They were white & in the sugar trade. But definitely “West Indians”.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    I guess those Blacks must be so glad now that landlords discriminated against them. When I lived in London everyone told me Blacks had to buy their own houses because no one would rent to them.

    They are all probably millionaires by now given what London prices are like.

  12. Oh indeed how happy “those blacks” must be for our prescience. And of course for our innate goodness to hunk of them in this way.

    No it was not apocryphal. A bi-electon (Smethwick) was openly contested and would in the ’60s with the slogan “if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour”.

    So no Meissen, no human upgrade; we just behave better.

  13. Institutional in the sense of people reacting to difference. It has changed over the years. When I was a kid there were only two black lads in my school; when my sister entered the same school seven years later there were a significant number of Afro Caribbean children, and a number of my sister’s friends inter-married. I thought we were getting there in the late ‘70s and multi-culturalism was succeeding, however relations now appear to be growing worse. Despite our problems, I suspect England is still the most accepting and accommodating country in Europe.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “Oh indeed how happy “those blacks” must be for our prescience. And of course for our innate goodness to hunk of them in this way.”

    No prescience. The difficulty of working out causes and final effects. All sorts of things happen for all sorts of reasons and ultimately it is hard to draw up a final balance sheet.

    Certainly this man, like pretty much all other Blacks, remind me of the story in 1001 Nights of the poor man who was given a sack containing 1000 gold coins. Only to come back the next day and complain that one was light weight. Anyone who got off the Windrush won a lottery worth millions of pounds simply by living in a country created and enriched by our ancestors and not theirs. Well not many of theirs anyway.

  15. ‘No Irish, No Coloureds, No Dogs .’ I remember an Irish friend shamefacedly telling me how pleased he was when Afro Caribbean immigrants arrived in London, in that he discovered he wasn’t at the bottom of the pile any more. He was the first person to take me to task for my intemperate language because he had been there and knew what it was like to be on the receiving end.

  16. The Inimitable Steve

    Hmmm…

    Decades later King formed the Windrush Foundation. His personal crusade was to give the ship the same significance as the Mayflower, which had taken British immigrants to the New World

    Do we expect Red Indians to celebrate the memory of the Mayflower?

  17. Isn’t that “No Irish No coloureds. No dogs ” thing apocryphal?

    There is only that one photo: if these signs were commonplace, you’d expect to see more photos of them. I suspect the attitudes were commonplace, and that photo gets passed around as proof.

  18. Bernie,

    he wasn’t at the bottom of the pile any more

    I heard a black chap the other day (on a radio phone-in) saying how pleased he was about all the eastern Europeans arriving, since he no longer felt that he was at the bottom of the pile. Plus ça change…

  19. The Inimitable Steve

    The Red Indians had signs pinned to their teepees that said “NO IRISH, NO DOGS, NO PALEFACES”.

    I hope they’re suitably ashamed.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew M – “Plus ça change…”

    There is a poor SF story about aliens arriving and everyone sitting around worrying about what is going to happen next when the Black waiter says he knows some people who will be happy to hear it.

    That must date from the 50s.

  21. “He was the first person to take me to task for my intemperate language because he had been there and knew what it was like to be on the receiving end.”

    He –and all the other self-hating whites– should try walking around parts of Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans and see how alive and well (leftist-stoked) race hatred is.

  22. Theo–statism in general and socialism in particular.

    The shitholes of American urban blight are AFTER 23 trillion has been given to “poor” people since 1965.

  23. “No blacks or Irish” is only racist if you fail to grasp that both those groups were regarded by landlords at the time as extremely poor tenants. If they paid their rent on time, kept the place spotless and only went out to work and bible class no one would have given a shit.

    If you were a landlord and you noticed that, say, Chinese tenants invariably left you out of pocket, you would pretty soon be saying “No chinks” but nowadays not in public.

  24. So Much For Subtlety

    Roue le Jour – ““No blacks or Irish” is only racist if you fail to grasp that both those groups were regarded by landlords at the time as extremely poor tenants.”

    “At the time”. It is likely that the only forms of racism that persist over time are those with some grounding in the real world. I am sure that in the 50s the occasional landlord hated Jews. But I doubt that many refused to rent to them. If Jamaicans were perfect tenants people would have been happy to rent to them and the racism would have slowly disappeared.

    This is probably why the only firm finding in the social sciences is that stereotypes are pretty much true.

    http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/27657/

  25. The much maligned Peter Rachman used to buy up large houses with long leases that were reaching the end of their time and rent them out to West Indians who were often not welcomed as tenants because they liked to party and play music loudly. And smoke stuff.

  26. ‘or the 9/11 hijackers shamed all muslims’

    Right. Only those Muslims who believe in Islam.

  27. The ‘no Irish, no coloureds, no dogs’ sign was deliberately offensive even back then. As for the notion that ‘blacks’ or ‘Irish’ are bad tenants, that’s what we call naked racism: the idea that you can discriminate against whole groups because of preconceived notions about how they act. Even if 99% behave that way, it’s still just prejudice. Ask 100% for references and let in the 1% that have good ones, that’s not racist. Refuse 100%, that is.

    Really, I thought all this was settled decades ago. In fact, it was, and Timmy’s place is a rare hotbed of the delusional who think anyone cares about their mad racist rants.

  28. The shitholes of American urban blight are AFTER 23 trillion has been given to “poor” people since 1965.

    Section 8 payments go to the property owners. Medicaid goes into the pockets of doctors. Food stamps go to grocers. Most of that $23 trillion ended up going to higher profits for those who already have plenty of money.

    I can’t say that giving the money directly to the poor would have worked better but it’s hard to image how it could be worse.

  29. “Most of that $23 trillion ended up going to higher profits for those who already have plenty of money.

    I can’t say that giving the money directly to the poor would have worked better but it’s hard to image how it could be worse.”

    Ummm….if you gave the poor money directly, wouldn’t it end up in other people’s hands anyway? Cause they have to, you know, give to someone else in order to get what they want?

  30. Sorry, ‘government wastes money’ is ‘dog bites man’, not ‘man bites dog’. But it’s notable how the nutjobs like Ecksy will cheerfully ignore the fact that they normally insist that government expenditure is widely wasted, when they have a chance to insist it’s ‘feckless blacks’ and so-on who are to blame for some problem or other. Why, it’s almost as if their insane rants are based purely on delusions…

  31. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I don’t want to speak for Tim, but it’s fairly orthodox policy among Cato/Adam Smith/etc. types that direct cash transfers to the poor are to be preferred to funnelling them through vast bureaucracies with all the waste and Public Choice Theory distortions. This would turf an enormous number of government employees out on their ears, so it is a) heartily to be recommended and b) never gonna happen. Whether the recipients would behave any better is unknown. Of course it’s not necessarily the case that if you are poor you are stupid and feckless, but it’s usually the case that if you’re stupid and feckless, you’re also poor.

  32. That Marxist semen has traversed far from your arsehole into your every working system Dave .

    Indeed you have become a sanctimonious lunatic. To wit:

    ” As for the notion that ‘blacks’ or ‘Irish’ are bad tenants, that’s what we call naked racism: the idea that you can discriminate against whole groups because of preconceived notions about how they act. Even if 99% behave that way, it’s still just prejudice. Ask 100% for references and let in the 1% that have good ones, that’s not racist. Refuse 100%, that is.”

    So if 99% of 18-30 Mid-East yobbos are as bad as the worst of them we should still let them in because it would be racist against the other 1% not to.

    So that is what Occupy was bullshitting about. 1% and all that.

    And what about the people who are on the receiving end of the behaviour of the 99%. The ordinary white British folks. Well we know your answer don’t we. Fuck ’em. Cause they are wicked white waycists and treating them like shit serves them right.

    “Really, I thought all this was settled decades ago. In fact, it was, and Timmy’s place is a rare hotbed of the delusional who think anyone cares about their mad racist rants.”

    One of the main characteristics of white, self-hating , middle-class, cultural Marxist trash is that they have egos that would blow William Shatner’s circuits.

    In the world of big important people like Dave it was “all settled “decades ago. Who are wretched little oiks and white trash like us to be bursting the fantasy bubble of his faux cultural harmony.

    “But it’s notable how the nutjobs like Ecksy will cheerfully ignore the fact that they normally insist that government expenditure is widely wasted, when they have a chance to insist it’s ‘feckless blacks’ and so-on who are to blame for some problem or other”

    Pretend that I only understand the Sane English dialect O Great University-honed Intellect/socialist stooge and explain the connection between state-thievery/expenditure and “feckless blacks”– which is your expression not one I have ever used.

    Incidentally in the example of the US cities I named the biggest threats to white people come not from poor black crims but from middle-class young blacks who carry out the largest number of “Knockdown Game” assaults ie cowardly group attacks on lone whites–often the aged and infirm. These scummy examples of inhumanity carry out their assaults glad in costly designer gear paid for by Mammy and Pappy and are motivated to do so by the anti-white hatred also peddled by CM scum like you Dave.

    I would really like to see you desperately training to explain your solidarity and freedom from white-privileged waycism to such a gang–just before they beat your smug stupid face in.

    ” Why, it’s almost as if their insane rants are based purely on delusions…”

    All is not lost for you Dave. That last sentence shows you have a small degree of self-knowledge still at your command.

    Fucking use it….

  33. “Training”=”trying”

    The Preview Tim–get some help somehow but get it back for God’s sake.

  34. Jeez, Ecksy, get some help. I’m as far from Marxist as you are from sane, and your obsession with buggery proves nothing other than that I was correct when I said you’d be much happier if you could admit to your own desires.

    “So if 99% of 18-30 Mid-East yobbos are as bad as the worst of them we should still let them in because it would be racist against the other 1% not to.”

    No, if there are obvious grounds for refusing them entry, then let’s refuse the 99% and let in the 1% – or whatever the proportions actually are. But let’s not pretend using skin colour and religion as a spurious proxy is anything other than you indulging your racist prejudices.

    “So that is what Occupy was bullshitting about. 1% and all that.”

    You really are a total fucking loon. Occupy are your lot.

    Seriously, you revere Enoch but it’s never once occurred to you that you are what he was warning against – a race war, yes, but he was worried about people like you shaming a proud nation with your racist bullshit, not about a tiny minority of ‘blacks’ murdering us all in our beds.

    “The Preview Tim–get some help somehow but get it back for God’s sake.”

    It is back, you numpty. Shows just how attached to actually observing the world you are…

  35. Megan McArdle (Blogger of Irish descent, m’Lud) once said something to the effect that she’d heard all her life about ““Room to let. No Irish, No Coloureds, No Dogs” and yet had never seen a photo of such a sign. She began to suspect that they had never existed, or had been remarkably few.

    She was discussing northern cities in the US.

    The famous “No Chinese, No Dogs” sign in Shanghai undoubtedly existed. It was planted by the Communist Party, as it later (God knows why) admitted.

  36. Dearieme>

    While the specific ‘no Irish, no coloureds, no dogs’ sign may have been apocryphal, there’s no doubt that signs saying ‘Irish need not apply’ (INNA) and ‘no coloureds/Commonwealth citizens/blacks’ were common enough – there’s ample evidence in the BBC archives, for a start.

    And then there’s the story about the Polish airman, in the Second World War, mistaken for a Jew and told ‘we don’t serve Jews here’ who reacted in outrage and told them ‘we Poles don’t eat Jews, that’s just a myth!’

  37. The fog of confusion shrouds you Dave. Possibly because you exhale it.

    You don’t support CM– but you spew its every cliché.

    “No, if there are obvious grounds for refusing them entry, then let’s refuse the 99% and let in the 1% – or whatever the proportions actually are.But let’s not pretend using skin colour and religion as a spurious proxy is anything other than you indulging your racist prejudices.”

    Here we see a chump who knows everybody else better than they know themselves. What you think you believe is nonsense cos Davey Boy knows what is really going on between your ears. Bill Shatner was a grotesque under-estimate of ego compared the sheer greatness and vast breadth of Dave’s ego.

    He also is a yet another Grand Master in the game of” Who is a Jihadi/Who is a Rapist”. Dave can tell who is who and sort out the wheat from the chaff. Leaving aside the fact that the volume of chaff is born from the same collective beliefs as the ” wheat”. And of course a lot of European women have already suffered because of the failure of official bunglers who shared Dave’s conviction of supreme rightness and wisdom.

    Shall I re-post the video of the room full of “ordinary, moderate Muslims” endorsing both that they are all ordinary RoPers and the ordinariness of their belief that homosexuals should be killed. Naw, why bother cos you nor any of the other white-haters on here took the slightest notice the first time.

    “Seriously, you revere Enoch but it’s never once occurred to you that you are what he was warning against – a race war, yes, but he was worried about people like you shaming a proud nation with your racist bullshit, not about a tiny minority of ‘blacks’ murdering us all in our beds.”

    Mindreading again Dave–not just me but the late Enoch Powell. You of course know better what he meant than he did because that’s the kind of bloke you are. Now its the Vulcan mindmeld with the great beyond as well.

    Also the black malarkey that you spew is interesting Dave. I mentioned American urban blight and it is true black majority cities are the US worst. But the whole “you hate Blacks” stuff is your projection Dave. Maybe your talk of other peoples “real urges” is also self-referential. Your constant ramblings about how others hate blacks serving to release your own hatred in a form your ego can accept.

    Nothing to say about the violence of young middle-class yobs of colour inspired to white hatred and vicious assault by the rhetoric of dross like yourself?

    Plenty of your CM pals–disown them as you like , you are fellow travellers–have screeds to say about the non-existent violence that has never been advocated by Trump and Farage. But you yourself have nothing to say about hateful group violence that has already cost several vulnerable people their lives. Especially as those people were killed because they were white. And their killers were and still are inspired by the anti-waycist–that is anti-white– rhetoric you are on here slinging most days.

    Thanks for pointing out the Preview. Hadn’t noticed it.

    Managed to notice your evil nature and that is good enough observation for my liking.

  38. So Much For Subtlety

    Liberal Yank – “Section 8 payments go to the property owners. Medicaid goes into the pockets of doctors. Food stamps go to grocers. Most of that $23 trillion ended up going to higher profits for those who already have plenty of money.”

    This is very impressive as economic illiteracy goes. Yes, Section 8 payments go to the property owners. But poor Blacks get housed. Doctors get paid. But poor people get medical treatment. Don’t watch the money flow around the system, look at who is consuming what. Because in the end wealth is measured by what we consume. Welfare enables poor people to consume more.

    Some of that $23 trillion ended up in wasted bureaucracy. But the vast majority of it ended up making life easier for poor people.

    “I can’t say that giving the money directly to the poor would have worked better but it’s hard to image how it could be worse.”

    They might have smoked it as crack.

  39. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “As for the notion that ‘blacks’ or ‘Irish’ are bad tenants, that’s what we call naked racism: the idea that you can discriminate against whole groups because of preconceived notions about how they act. Even if 99% behave that way, it’s still just prejudice. Ask 100% for references and let in the 1% that have good ones, that’s not racist. Refuse 100%, that is.”

    It may be prejudice but it is not irrational prejudice. It has a logic to it. How much benefit of the doubt do you have to give someone? There was a case in California where a woman was showing her apartment. A young Black male wanted to see it. She showed it to him. She was raped and murdered. Friends said that she probably didn’t want to seem racist. Well that is all well and good, but what sort of advice would you give your daughter? Assume bad things about men – and Black men in particular – or die trying to prove what a non-racist you are?

    Prejudices are often short cuts. They are sometimes unfair. But life is too complicated to evaluate every single case on its merits. We need short cuts to help us – and we all use them. Every day. Given that most prejudices are true, it seems reasonable to rely on them.

  40. Broadly speaking, what we label “prejudice” (or -isms, whatever) are a pragmatic strategy for doing better than random in interactions with strangers. A prejudice is not a claim that every member of some class of people is of a particular nature, merely that they are more likely to be of that nature.

    If a young woman feels more comfortable being alone on a lonely station platform with another woman rather than with a man, she is being rational. If she avoids deliberately situations like that, her prejudices are helping her do better than random in protecting herself from rape, assault etc.

    If you insist that people ignore such strategies, you are forcing them to put themselves at greater risk. This is not wise.

  41. SFMS,

    Section 8 is an artificial market manipulation that raises rents in poor neighborhoods. Give the tenant the money directly and they can move into a better neighborhood and pocket the difference.

    Better yet we could just give them the money for the rent in the better neighborhood and save the tax dollars for something better than crumbling housing. Although I would love to get it back it seems that we need the best and brightest in the psychiatric field. Judging from what I read that will not come cheap.

    It is interesting to note that you decided to go with crack in a forum about institutional racism. Heroin is the topical drug of choice and far more Americans have a meth problem. Perhaps it is time to apply another coat of whitewash to your arguments.

  42. mikef,

    I grew up on Peter Rachman’s “manor”. The purpose of renting to Jamaicans was to drive out the other tenants thus creating a vacant freehold.

  43. So Much For Subtlety

    Liberal Yank

    Either you are pulling my leg or wasting my time. Section 8 is a voucher. Which can be used anywhere in the United States. And Puerto Rico. So it is the same as giving tenants money directly.

    It is also impossible to push up rents. Doesn’t happen.

    They are being moved to nicer neighbourhoods. There has been a push to empty out the inner city and move Blacks to the suburbs.

    So basically you are John Snow.

  44. Just handing the poor money instead of SNAP, Section 8, Medicaid etc. wouldn’t last very long since the evening news would be full of stories about kids who were hungry/homeless/unable to see a doctor after mom spent all the welfare money on clothes, hairdos and nights out on the town with her boyfriend. Voters would demand that something be done and vouchers and in-kind provisions would be back before you could say Cato Institute.

  45. Consider two Pittsburgh neighborhoods pre-gentrification, Bloomfield, and Lawrenceville. Both were primarily white so we don’t have to worry about racism affecting the results. Both contain a hospital and have similar transportation access. The houses are generally the same size and were built, mostly pre-WWII. Lawrenceville is on the river and is traditionally lower-income than Bloomfield. Lawrenceville had large numbers of section 8 rentals.

    The initial case that made me realize the problem was the mother of a friend. She lived in a 4 BR row house with a basement bathroom. The rent she paid was $50 per month. Section 8 paid $925. The total the landlord received was $975. The tenant never saw a voucher as it was sent directly to the landlord. The section 8 portion was based on a government table that said how much the rent should be. Non-section 8 rentals were in the $700-800 range.

    Similar sized houses in Bloomfield for $600-$750 per month. Houses that had a bedroom converted to a bathroom were more desirable and explain much of the price difference.

    I do admit that these are turn of the millennium prices. The reason I still use these as comparables is that it is difficult to find two virtually identical neighborhoods in close proximity. The key differences were general state of repair(Bloomfield was better), earned income(Bloomfield was higher), and welfare benefits(Lawrenceville). Before we consider welfare benefits we should expect rental prices to be higher in Bloomfield. Obviously that was not the case. Something in the welfare benefits was distorting the market values. I am fairly confident that the difference was not due to food stamps.

  46. JerryC,

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Note for my previous post. Purchasing a house was affected far less. A $50,000 house in Bloomfield would have sold for $35,000 in Lawrenceville. It is interesting that sale prices in section 8 neighborhoods are generally between the maximum a person on welfare can have in the bank and the minimum required to get a mortgage. This is more obvious in typically black neighborhoods. Section 8 qualified housing in Mckeesport was selling in the $5000-$10,000 range at last check. It takes a special kind of greed to be a landlord in these areas.

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