intermediate level English resource.
is a multiracial
country. Yet although Britain is reputed to be a country
where ethnic minorities integrate easily, Britain's Blacks - also
known as Afro-Caribbeans - certainly suffer from a degree of passive
discrimination. And when times are hard, things
often get worse.
Freeway magazine looks at the story of the Black community in
the vocabulary guide does not show up (some smartphones),
see guide at foot of this page)
In the nineteen
fifties, Britain was a nation in need of men. A decade
after the second
world war, it was a country with lots of children, but
not enough men to work in the mines, the factories and the public
thousands of young men had been killed during the war; who could take
There was an easy
answer; men from the colonies!
Britain was still
the capital of an Empire that stretched to the four corners of the
earth. In the developing countries of the Commonwealth, there were
millions of young men, just looking for work. When the British
authorities offered them the chance to come to Britain and work,
thousands wanted to come.
Most came without
their families; but soon, as they settled into
their new country and their new jobs, they
paid for their families to come over too. While a few came from Africa,
the largest contingent
immigrants came from Jamaica and the other islands that make
up the West Indies.
"Afro-Caribbeans" and their families had settled
large numbers in several of Britain's cities — usually in
the poorest and most unattractive parts. At the time
however, the conditions they lived in in Britain were not too bad, and
often better than those they had enjoyed
the West Indies. There were jobs, so there was money; there were
schools for the children.
Thus, with its young families, but few
teenagers, the Afro-Caribbean community lived quietly beside the White
community in cities like London and Wolverhampton,
and there was no tension. In reality, the two
mixed at all; there
was little ethnic rivalry
because generally speaking there were enough jobs for everyone. In many
cases, black workers took the jobs that white workers did not want
— bus conductors
railway porters, and other jobs that were not too well paid.
Around the year
1967, things began to change. Inspired by the Civil Rights movement in
America, and encouraged by the liberal ideologies of the
sixties, Britain's Blacks began to look for a new identity and
a better status
community. But at the same time, right-wing nationalist movements were
starting to develop in some sectors of white society.
minister, Enoch Powell, predicted violent
conflicts between Blacks and Whites, and called for Britain's Blacks to
be sent back to their countries of origin. He was expelled from the
Conservative Party because of his extremist views
nevertheless began to grow in some working class districts of London
and other cities. Once there had been jobs for all, but now a new
problem was appearing: unemployment
More and more people, both Blacks and Whites, began finding themselves
in competition for a falling number of jobs.
people's misfortune, new racist political parties came into
existence. The National Front
and the British
began recruiting young people, and
encouraging racism. Here and there, gangs of skinheads
began to write racist graffiti in public places;
there were occasional incidents between
black youths and skin-heads, but generally speaking, the overt
of the National Front did not appeal
people in Britain.
In most parts of
Britain, that is still true today. Generally speaking, Britain is a
very tolerant society; but even in a very tolerant society, there are a
groups who continue to judge people by the colour of their skin.
In most parts of
Britain, racism is not
part of ordinary life. Most people do not judge other people by the
colour of their skin. Groups like the British
National Party are very marginal, and do not usually win any elections.
racism, at least, have been rejected; and while Britain's
Blacks still have many forms of prejudice
fight against, vicious racism is not usually one of them.
Nonetheless, although Black and White
communities live side by
side in most British cities, and there are not usually visible
between ordinary people, from time to time serious racist
incidents take place.
The most notorious
these concerned a black teenager called Stephen Lawrence,
gratuitously murdered in 1993 by a gang of white youths as he waited at
a bus stop. Almost every week, racist incidents are reported in the
media, somewhere in Britain. Perhaps, in a population of almost 60
million people, that is inevitable, even in a country where the vast
majority of people claim that they are not racially
are two sorts of racism: visible racism, and invisible
Many black people in Britain feel that
they are regularly
discriminated against in invisible ways. Unemployment
higher among Blacks than among Whites, and Blacks do not do as well at
school as Whites - often because the schools that they go to do not
have high academic reputations. (Asians
on the other
hand, people from India, Pakistan or China, tend to do better than
Black community leaders
frequently complain about racism in the police, and
unfortunately, some of their complaints are justified. In
official report into the (London) Metropolitan Police (the "Met"),
murder of Stephen Lawrence, stated that "institutional racism" was
Since then, the Met
and other police forces in Britain have introduced tough programmes to
try to stop this form of invisible - though sometimes visible -
racism. Though there has been no serious violence in Black districts of
British cities for over twenty years, people have not forgotten the
that occurred in several British cities in the 80's. Even today, there
is often tension just under the surface in places like Brixton, London,
where poverty, unemployment and other social problems are high, and
confidence in the police is very low.
Plenty of projects have been
started, to provide
training to young Blacks in
the poorest parts of the cities. Some have been very successful, and
lots of Black teenagers do well at school,
then go to university or do something else interesting, and
successful. They are, nevertheless
in a minority.
Most Blacks in Britain today still live in the cities, or in the poorer
districts of small towns. Sixty years after the first Afro-Caribbeans
first invited to come and work Britain, only a small
of Britain's Black community have really integrated into the mainstream
young Blacks and young Whites get
together better than
their parents' generation. A
survey of teenage attitudes showed that 70% of British teenagers
consider themselves to have "no racial prejudice at all", while only 2%
racially prejudiced. The rest admit to being slightly
prejudiced. There are several reasons for this.
today's youth are growing up together, in a society which is much more
multi-racial than it was in the past. Many, if not most British
people aged over sixty never sat in a school classroom with
from different races; today, on the contrary, there are few
secondary schools in Britain that do not have at least a few Black or
Asian pupils. Today's British teenagers, whether they are Black, White
or anything else, share
degree of common
experience. They have been through the same school system, they eat the
same food, they watch the same television, and to a large extent, they
like the same music. In short, most young people in Britain today share
similar - though certainly not identical - culture, whatever the colour
of their skin. Hopefully, that can only result in even better race
relations among future generations.
In America in 2014, the President is black. Black policemen are fairly
common: so are black
politicians, black mayors, black Marines, and to a lesser extent black
In Britain however,
there are still many professions in which
Blacks have not yet managed to make much progress.
Although Blacks and
Asians make up over 14% of the population
of London and about 8% of the total British population, you won't often
black policeman, or a black Royal Marine. For many reasons, Blacks
have found it hard to enter a number of
professions; and once in these
professions, they often find it harder to get promoted than white
In 1981 40% of
Britain's Whites worked in professional,
managerial or clerical
jobs, only 13% of Blacks held similar
nevertheless, hold some important positions in
British life; in the media, the most trusted TV newsreader is Trevor
the former anchor of ITV's popular "News at Ten" programme; and on
the BBC, Moira Stewart, also black, was one of the most popular
employers now officially label themselves
"Equal Opportunities Employers"; police forces are trying hard to
more black officers, and the number of black doctors and
slowly but steadily rising, as a growing - though still relatively
proportion of black teenagers go on to university, and qualify for
In 2009 there were
in the House of Commons,
including David Lammy (photo right). Lammy, who was Minister
education, was brought up as a child in a poor quarter of
people say that he is one of the brightest M.P's in the Labour
possibly Britain's first black Prime Minister... could we say
Britain's Barak Obama ?
Black music has
than most things to bring Black and White cultures together.
whole of today's rock and pop music has its roots in Black music: rock
'n' roll, the base of today's pop, developed out of the jazz
rhythm 'n' blues of Black America. England's Blacks, however, have
added their own specific contribution to contemporary pop
music, in particular through reggae music, the music
Reggae came to England in the late 60's
company called Island Records. Island soon helped lots
Black bands from the West Indies and from Britain, led by Bob Marley,
to become popular with British youth of all backgrounds
Other record companies soon followed, and began signing
other Black bands.
Before long, Black British musicians were regularly
finding themselves in the Top Ten, while white bands played more and
more "black" music, and an increasing number of bands
musicians regardless of their colour.
Today, the world of music is one
of the ways that young British Blacks dream of as a route to
success. The band Sugarbabes
- two black, one white - is the most successful British girl group of
the 21st century – so far. Only a very small minority
succeed, of course, in
reaching the top, but in the world of music, as in the world of sport,
the doors to success are certainly open. More importantly though, the
virtual absence of "race" as an issue
most sectors of
the music industry today (in Britain at least) has helped to
young people of all colours together in a common culture and a
common heritage that all recognise as their own.
in which black British stars have done a lot to improve race relations.
When, in the 1980's, the first black footballers were signed
top British football clubs, they met serious discrimination and
sometimes hostility from the fans. Since then, most clubs have tried
hard to eliminate racism from the game, and
generally they have succeeded.
Today, with all but a bigoted
of fans, Britain's great black footballers enjoy the same status as
their white team-mates. The same is true in athletics; and everyone in
Britain knows that without its black athletes, Britain would have
brought back a less distinguished collection of medals from recent
attract - Asians:
(here) people from Asia - background:
origin - bigoted:
having extremist and fixed opinions - bitter:
strong, nasty - boil over:
reach a point of crisis - clerical:
in an office - conductor: man
selling tickets - contingent:
group - decade: period of ten
years - enjoy: benefit from - former:
who used to be... - get on: live
- hardly: almost not - improve:
get better - innovative: with
new ideas - issue: problem - lawyer:
man in the legal profession - MP: Member
of Parliament - misguided:
manipulated, wrong - nevertheless:
all the same, however notorious:
well known for the wrong reasons - overt:
clearly visible - poverty:
being poor - prejudice:
fixed and irrational opinions - prosecute:
attack in a court of law, sue - provide:
make, create recruit:
start to employ, find - riot:
violence - rivalry: competition
- settle: establish a home - share:
to have in common -signup:
give a contract to - status:
position - throughout: in all
parts of - tract: brochure,
sheet of paper - ugly:
unpleasant, nasty - unemployment:
not having any job - vehemently:
with force - views: opinions
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Black and British
Here is a résumé of section 1 above.
Fill in the blanks, using information from the article.
Most of the words that you need can be found in the article. In some
cases, the first letter of a word is given, to help you.
In the ..........., the British
authorities invited ............... ....... the colonies to
come .... Britain and work in jobs for which there were not ...........
workers; .......... took the opportunity and came.
TODAY IN BRITAIN
At first young men came ...........,
many of them from the West ..........; and before long they brought
their families over ..... . Within ten years, there were large
Afro-Caribbean ............. in several British cities.
Although these new .............. lived
in the poorer parts of the cities, they had paid jobs, and they often
enjoyed conditions that were better ........ .......... they
had known in the West Indies.
U........ about 1967, there
was l........ racial tension, because there was work for everyone, and
the new immigrants did the jobs that ........ workers did not want to
do. But then, following the success of the ......... Rights movement in
the USA, Britain's Blacks began demanding b.........
Some right-........ politicians became
alarmed at the number of Blacks in Britain, and said that they
s........ be sent back to where they had come from; at the same time,
there were the first cases of racial tension, as the problem of
................ began to spread. Some extreme right ....... parties
appeared, e............... xenophobia and racism; but these parties,
such as the National Front and the British National Party, were never
Today Britain is still generally a
............. country, even if there are a ......... racists here and
Section 2 contains a lot of "quantifiers"; such as most, many, few, several, a small
etc. There are three main groups of quantifiers:
those which are not
followed by of
followed by a second determiner,
for example: most people, but most of the people,
some of their
b) those which are always
followed by of,
such as plenty, none,
and c) those that are never
followed by of,
such as no, every.
Add in the word OF in the following
sentences, whenever (and only when) necessary:
Some _____ the people were very poor.
Which of these
true, and which are false?
2. Some _____ men
brought their families with them.
3. Few _____ the men who came
had been to Britain before.
4. There were few
_____ cases of racial tension in the 1950's.
5. At the time there were
plenty _____ jobs for everyone.
6. Not many _____ black workers
found well paid jobs.
7. Several _____ the worst
racist incidents took place in London.
8. Anti-racism programmes have been
introduced in several _____ police forces.
9. There are many _____
different forms of racism.
10. Most _____ the
black people in Britain still live in cities.
Rock `n' roll started in the West Indies. T / F
2. Bob Marley recorded with Island
Records. T / F
3. Music is one of the easiest ways for
young black people to achieve success in
Britain. T / F
4. Race is not usually an issue in the
music industry. T 1 F
This File is fairly concentrated
in facts. The background article (part 1) is particularly concentrated
through sections 1 and 2 with your class, checking that students
understand the meaning of
words and sentences; then use one or other of these sections as the
basis for an
oral gap-fill exercise.
Read the article quite slowly, pausing at
strategic points, and asking pupils to complete the sentences providing
necessary information, though not necessarily using the same words as
original. Here is a part of section: the |
which you should pause.
nineteen fifties, Britain was
| a nation
in need of men. A decade after the second world war,
it was a country
children, but not enough men to work in
mines, the factories and the public services.
Gap fill exercise
Here are the
to the exercise:
Hundreds of thousands of young men had | been
killed during the war; who could take their place?
There was an easy answer; | men from
was still the capital of an Empire that stretched
the four corners of the earth. In the developing countries
of the Commonwealth, there were millions of | young men,
looking for work. When the British authorities offered them the chance
come to Britain and work,
| | thousands jumped at the opportunity.
Most came without
| their families; but
soon, as they settled into their new country and their new | jobs,
they| paid for their families to | come over
While a few came
from Africa, the largest contingent of Black immigrants came
Jamaica and the other islands that make up theh | West
By 1960, "Afro-Caribbeans" and their families
had settled in large numbers in several of Britain's cities —
usually in the | poorest and
most unattractive parts.
/ from / to /
enough / many. || alone / from / Indies / too (also) / community. ||
immigrants / poorest / than those / || Until / little / work
/ white / Civil / better. || wing / should / back / unemployment / wing
/ encouraging / successful. || tolerant / few.
exercise, (section 2)
of, 4 /, 5 of, 6 /, 7 of, 8
/, 9 /, 10 of.
exercise, (section 3):
1. false 2
true 3 false (one of the ways) 4 true.
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching
materials or exercises.
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