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

By Anthony H. Richmond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
CONCLUSION

IN Chapter I, three main hypotheses were set out which appeared to be corroborated by a great deal of research on inter-group relations in the United States. It remains to examine these hypotheses, once more, in the light of the evidence presented in this report.


1. IN-GROUP/OUT-GROUP HYPOTHESIS

In the discussion of the relationships between West Indians and others on Merseyside, one fact stands out beyond all others: the clearly marked in-group/out-group delineation which exists between white and coloured people. The conspicuousness of the Negro marks him as a member of a group, which is regarded as somewhat strange and not quite belonging to the society as a whole. The West Indian, in his turn, tends to become (if he is not so already) extremely colour conscious and aware of his membership of a minority group. This feeling remains despite the actual heterogeneity of the West Indian group and the strong class feelings within the coloured population. 'In Liverpool we have to mix with other coloured people we would not look at at home', is a typical comment. The white members of the community do not appear to distinguish between Colonial-born and English-born Negroes. In fact the existence of the latter group is frequently overlooked altogether, and the assumption made that all coloured people are recent arrivals in the city from overseas.1

The spheres in which this in-group feeling on the part of white people is seen most clearly are housing and sex. Employment questions are also subject to divisions between coloured and white which are not quite so marked as those in housing and sexual relations, but which would clearly become of greater importance were it not for the relatively full employment situation. It follows from the strong in-group/outgroup attitudes, and the increasing colour consciousness of the minority

____________________
1
See, for example, Richmond A. H., Sociological Review, op. cit., p. 20.

-145-

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