Monthly Archives: March 2013

Week 7 – Visual Timeline

Issues of representation of Race in Britain

1940 – 1950’s

  • 1947 to 1957- Arrival of 350,000 European Nationals

This relates to the topic because the increase in ethinic minorities would create demand for multi-cultural programming within the media sector and the need to promote understanding of racial differences in the community. The BBC did this in order to become more liberal as a public service broadcaster.
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  • 1954 – Camden Town Riot

This incident contributed to the growing problem of racial hostilities, causing the UK to convince it’s self that it had a race relations problem.”In a small street of terraced houses in Camden Town, London, Afro-Caribbeans were subjected to a spate of racial violence that lasted for two days, culminating in a petrol bomb attack on the house of an Afro-Caribbean settler.” – Encyclopaedia of Contemporary British Culture
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  • 31 January 1955 – Programme: Special Enquiry: Has Britain A Colour Bar?

Importance – The first full length documentary, examining the problems faced by Black immigrants. It was important because it was the start of television that was created to highlight Black problems. However the programs were created from a White point of view only and hence had a bias opinion.
Video example – http://euscreen.eu/play.jsp?id=EUS_0ECCB596ACFA41279720CC91C5275A0F

  • 23 August 1958 – Nottingham & Notting Hill Riot

Importance – This incident contributed to the growing problem of racial hostilities, causing the UK to convince it’s self that it had a race relations problem. The Chief Constable at the time dismissed claims that the rioting was caused by prejudice even though the riot was ‘racially motivated’ between white and black people that lasted two weeks.
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  • 1958 – Programme: People in Trouble: Mixed Marriages

The documentary that broadcasted on television focused on ‘racial problems’ in the society that was from the White people’s point of view. This led to a misrepresentation and false construction of the image of Black people.
Video example – www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybqLRF1zFUI

  • 1958 – Programme: The Black and White Minstrel Show airs on TV

The popular show, averaging about 18 million views, featured performers who were white but had their faces painted black. It was considered offensive to some people but the fact that millions of people watched the show regularly, the show may have possibly parted racist ideologies
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1960’s

  • 1964 – Programme: Black Marries White

The documentary that broadcasted on television focused on ‘racial problems’ in the society that was from the White people’s point of view. This led to a misrepresentation and false construction of the image of Black people.
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  • 1965 – Programme: The Negro Next Door

The documentary that broadcasted on television focused on ‘racial problems’ in the society that was from the White people’s point of view. This led to a misrepresentation and false construction of the image of Black people.

  • 1965 – Programme: Fable

Even though Black people were writen as characters on television shows like Fable, their characters create conflict in the show due to their skin colour and roles were reversed. Black people were in position of power, the ruling party, while the white people were the social underdogs. The show provided an alternative view and constructed a different image of Black people.

  • 22 July 1966 – Programme: Till Death Do Us Part airs on TV

The show addressed the racial and political issues so realistic. Some viewers accepted the show especially the character Alf but some people found it racist and uncomfortable to watch. But the show showed ‘how representation can produce and circulate a number of different ideologies and meaning’. Different viewers may have felt differently due to their beliefs or personal feelings
Video example – www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNSbMNl9K7Q

  • 1967 – Petition: Campaign Against Racism in the Media

Set up by a group of 60 media representatives who were unhappy by the portrayal of minorities in the media. It help brought people from the media industry and communities that were victims of racism.

  • April 1968 – Enoch Powell’s delivers his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech

Enoch was the ‘expert’ when it came to programmes about British race relations. He feared that the Whites would soon be invaded by the minorities. His message helped spread fear among the society, which did not helped the image of minorities.
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  • 21 July 1978 – Programme: The Black and White Minstrel Show ends

Importance – Though the show was popular, part of society resisted and did not approve how racist the show was. In 1967, BBC received a petition. With continuos accusation of racism, a spin off aired as a replacement but failed and was cancelled. The show ran till 21 July 1978.

1970s

  • Early 1970 – Analysis of media

Became more to cultural criticism and minorities became more vocal of the media’s racial bias

  • October 1977 – Set up of Independent Programmes Complaints Commission (IPCC)

This was due to the questionable role of television in social life and to consider feedback from viewers

  • 1979 – Programme: Babylon

London Weekend Television began experimenting with schedules to improve minority programming and Babylon was an example

1980s

  • 1981 – Uprising in parts of UK

Being politically driven in the 1980s, people had a strong desire for their voices to be heard. This occurred in St Pauls, Toxeth and Brixton, and it sparked a similar Black Power Movement from the 1960s. Many Asians, Africans and Caribbean people began to use ‘Black’ as a political term. This triggered a change in Black British film.
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  • 2 November 1982 – Formation of Channel 4

The IPCC said that ‘Good broadcasting would reflect the competing demands of a society which was increasingly multi-racial and pluralist’ and black programming was built into the structure to cater to the society. Opportunities given for Black people (film makers, media reps) to create and contribute content and produce shows.
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1990s

  • 1995 – BBC Multicultural Department split into the African-Caribbean Unit and Asian Programmes Unit

Though it meant that minority group would be represented in the media, this was not the case as programmes were stereotypical. The aim was for high viewership and profits unfortunately and not to showcase the multiculturalism in Britain.