A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain by Nasreen Ali, Virinder S Kalra et al

By Nasreen Ali, Virinder S Kalra et al

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Broadly, concepts induce reflection on marked relations between different aspects of reality, which pass unnoticed and undistinguished from the flow of everyday experiences or freely available empirical descriptions, unless brought into concentrated focus as an abstracted, condensed idea. To conceptualise some things in particular is often not to conceptualise other things in particular, it defines an ideological orientation. indb 28 15/12/2005 08:39:13 The Postcolonial Political and the Immigrant Imaginary 29 the United States after the Second World War, despite the opprobrium it placed on the biologisation of the ‘race’ idea, was only a partial discrediting of its politicisation.

The index of racism is linked not with its routine rationalities and practices established within the lineaments of British imperial culture at home and abroad, but rather with the (ascribed) refusal of these postcolonial people to cross over into a national hearth of belongingness and absorption, thereby almost obliging the national ethnically unmarked majority to racially exclude, deride and violate the ethnically marked minorities. What we can see from the postcolonial reframing of the cycle of ‘race relations’ in Britain are the limits and shallowness of many policy interventions around racism.

It was the establishment of national languages with national standards (rules of grammar, dictionaries), compulsory or wide-spread schooling, conscription, expanded administrative machinery, dislocations and relocations of national economies, which induced and coerced the domestication and eventual absorption of European ethnic minorities. Unsurprisingly then the ‘immigrant’ imaginary articulates the arrival of ethnically marked ex-colonial people as another instance of the postnational minority thesis, hence postcolonial people become available if not ready to be domesticated and assimilated into the national fold by using the same techniques and practices that made nation-states out of diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic, economic groupings.

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