SH: I’m talking about the riots, I’m talking about the Sus laws that picked up the kids on the street, the kind of criminalization of ghettos that happened in the ‘70s, and the first generation who really had nowhere else to go, that had been born here, brought up in English schools, and were under enormous pressures. They drew on cultural resources to pull themselves together. For the current generation, the boys especially, there is a kind of diminution of a strong resistance culture, coupled with another kind of racism very much tied up with little Englanderism, with England, racing away from difference: Black, French, German…difference of any kind, which is the predominant mood in Britain at the moment. This has been very dispiriting, there’s a lot of individual survival, but there’s not that collective opposition or thrust, the counter surge of resistance culture, going on at the moment. There is a crisis for black men especially, in their teens and twenties, in terms of forming an authentic aspiration for themselves, which can be both black and British, which respects their blackness, their difference, but which also recognizes their deep involvement in British culture, which after all is three or four generations old. They don’t know any other place.

Stuart Hall x Caryl Phillips, BOMB Magazine, Interview, Winter 1997
2 years ago
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