Colour Prejudice in Britain: A Study of West Indian Workers in Liverpool, 1941-1951

By Anthony H. Richmond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
HOUSING, MARRIAGE AND SEXUAL RELATIONS

1 SPHERES OF PREJUDICE

S o far the report has been primarily concerned with the relations between West Indians and others in the sphere of employment and the environment of the factories. In this and the next chapter relationships outside the factory, in the community at large, are considered. There are important reasons for discussing the difficulties experienced by the men in finding housing in the same context as the question of their sexual adjustment. Both are fields in which colour prejudice frequently finds its most severe expression. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that the tendency towards the segregation of coloured and white peoples in the matter of housing has its origin in the same unconscious sources which lead to the frequently expressed objection to sex relations between coloured and white.

There can be little doubt that economic factors play an important part in the restrictions that are placed upon the renting or purchasing of houses or flats. But economic factors can only come into force if there is already an underlying prejudice against coloured people, and it is the source of this that is important in considering segregation and restrictions on sexual relations between coloured and white people. Bettleheim and Janowitz1 in their study of ethnic intolerance find a very high correlation between prejudice in the sphere of housing and prejudice in matters of sexual and marital relations. They suggest that such a high correlation points to a common basis for these attitudes. It is suggested that if this close connection is a real one current efforts to break down segregation in housing, without at the same time dealing with prejudice in the matter of sexual relations, are likely to have only limited success.

____________________
1
Bettleheim B., and Janowitz M., Dynamics of Prejudice, footnote, p. 30 ( Harper, New York, 1950).

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