Political Blackness in Multiracial Britain

By Mohan Ambikaipaker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
“Would They Do This
to Tony Blair’s Daughter?”
Gillian’s Struggle Against
Intersectional Racial Violence

African Caribbean women’s experiences of racial and state violence have rarely been recognized as a mainstream political issue or as an actually existing contradiction in Britain’s purportedly color-blind and genderblind liberal juridical social order. Silence in the British public sphere, and even within antiracist social movements, about black women’s specific struggles against racial violence exacerbates conditions that make black women vulnerable, socially marginalized, and invisible within social and political spaces.1 Black British feminism is both a grassroots social movement and an academic field that has challenged this “normative absence/ pathologizing presence dynamic of racialization” that has abetted the subordination of racialized and ethnicized women (Mirza 1997, 2014:128; Reynolds 2002; Samantrai 2002). Historically, black British feminist thinkers and grassroots activists have critiqued how antiracist social movements have overlooked the intersectional dynamics of co-ethnic gender subordination and violence with the British state’s own racialized discrimination, violence, and domination (Siddiqui 2000; Gupta 2003). As Hannana Siddiqui has argued, “The new British civil rights movement, the antiracist, as well as the left more generally, demands racial justice, which is often at the expense of black women’s rights—silencing those who criticize the community itself” (Siddiqui 2000:95).

In 2017, there was a greater disproportionality of African- and African Caribbean–descended prisoners in the United Kingdom than in the United

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