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

By Anthony H. Richmond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
FURTHER ASPECTS OF PREJUDICE AND CONFLICT

IF the pattern of racial relations in the United States were to be repeated in Britain, one would expect to find that Negroes are subject to restrictions and restraints in a number of walks of life where they are likely to come across white people. Partial or complete segregation and varying degrees of discrimination against Negroes in parts of America are to be found in hotels, restaurants, dance halls, cinemas, shops, etc., as well as in semi-public places such as banks, post offices, and on public transport. The extent of such discrimination varies a great deal from place to place in the United States1 and nowhere in Britain is it as marked as in the southern States of America.

There is no segregation or discrimination in Britain on any form of public transport or in any public place such as a bank, post office, or government office. That is not to say that individual people serving in such places do not express some prejudice against Negroes. Undoubtedly they do on occasions, but official policy does not condone such practices. In private and commercial establishments the position is rather more complicated. A business would seldom openly maintain that it operates a colour bar; but discrimination may work in more subtle ways. A Negro who attempts to make a booking in a hotel may find that there are no rooms available and that he is not encouraged to use the lounges or dining rooms even for a particular occasion. He will probably be told by the hall porter that this is a 'private hotel' and that non-residents are not admitted, even though, as is often the case, a notice is displayed outside welcoming non-residents for meals. In such indirect ways will the Negro be made to feel that he is not wanted. it is not suggested that this happens frequently or in more than a few places in any particular town; but there is ample evidence to show that it

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1
Johnson C. S., Pattern of Negro Segregation ( Harper, New York, 1943).

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