The growth of corporate black identity among Afro-Caribbean people in Birmingham, England
This work charts the development of corporate "Black" identity among Afro-Caribbean people in Birmingham. It begins with a theoretical appraisal of the concept of identity and offers a sociological definition in terms of the conscious projection of a shared and worthy self-image into social reality. In selecting Afro-Caribbean people as a case-study, a historical and internatipnal perspective is adopted. Even though the peculiar mode of incorporating Africans into British slave-based societies suggested that a Sambo/Quashie identity resonant with the dominant "White" structures would emerge, it is argued that more positive identities were cultivated among the blacks and transmitted to their descendants by means of "creole" cultures. Such syncretic cultures provided complex links with the countries from which the resources came. The British elements presumably reinforced the objective economic and political forces that accounted for the migration of black British subjects from the colonies to the metropolis after World War II. However, the low social placement of these migrants together with their depiction in local newspapers as non-white, troublesome, alien and unwanted "guests" created identity problems for them. The empirical data of this study show that they drew resources from black reference groups abroad to assert a number of more positive and meaningful identities that ranged from avoidance, through acceptance and toleration, to suspicion and rejection of the status quo. As conditions worsen and as "racialist" structures congeal during the current economic recession, it is contended that this typology will contract into a characteristic Pan-African identity among Afro-Caribbean people resident in Britain. The anti-imperial component of this identity implies that the struggle for liberation will be brought home to the metropolis and mark the final stage of the British imperial adventure.