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Victorian Minds: A Brief History of British Racial Attitudes Towards The Coloured-Races

The Old Victorian System

The United Kingdom has never as yet in completeness overcome or left behind her old Victorian system of attitudes and stereotypes towards the non-white races.

It has now only been 20 years since Britain as a nation really started to engage with seriousness in the national discourse with a focus on multi-racial/culture future of Britain (that the question of Race in Britain: as yet still to be answered question), and this discourse has generally been less-focused or over-shadow frequently by other ”more pressing national debates”, and tends only to re-surfaces when there arises the need to re-engage with such a serious debate again as a result of specific events; for example take the recent events surrounding the UK Police and London Riots which originated as a result of the unlawful, seemingly racially-motivated, police assault on a local neighbourhood black youth, which again re-opened the debate throughout the media, the government official reports and academia.

A Brief History of The British Attitudes Towards Other-Races

The evolution and development (or history) of the British attitudes toward races (racism) in order to appreciate these one need to start from the obvious Victorian Imperial-Colonialism, which generally founded the idea of racial superiority of the ‘white-race’ (of Anglo-Saxons), reinforced by, ”what was called scientific and divine truth”, of sociological theories of evolutions (of Darwin, Herbert Spencer and others) and church-men, as well as Government (John Enoch Powell MP & ”Sir”, CBE etc).

This British (white-men) attitude towards others, i.e. non-whites, races continued (and still exists behind closed-doors of the majority) to the early 1990s, especially after a long period of the riotous events (as more recent, as mentioned above) around the West Country regions of the past decade, and most important catalyst factor to drive this new-founded need for the nation to be more tolerant of other-races and colours was the Murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by Five White Youths, and for defining early ”Islamophobia” driving events was without a doubt the Oldham Riots of 2001.

For popular culture representation of this evidence just search for any television or radio, or even newspaper articles, of the period after 1990s and observe the yet to be rid anti-minorism, or racism, of the British nation and the establishment (for the latter watch perhaps the popular series of the time, ”House of Cards”, and it’s follow-up, shown in 1990, 1993 and 1995 respectively).

Thus, the above mentioned new racial events across the nation brought, or rather forced, the moment of national truth and ”self-analysis” for the nation. And after the 1997, when [still politically-pure with ideals of socialism based on equality and so forth] the Labour party came to power, that old national discourse and self-critique found a new natural political champion who opened and forced (somehow) the country to ”action” towards moving away from our ancient national Victorian attitudes towards other races and religions.

With new actions, sadly, the revived discourses were again slowly re-buried under ”new normalcy” of sound-biting concepts of ”Multiculturalism” and ”Equal Opportunities”. This was a period of [during] which the nation fell into silent transition, i.e. still racially-divided but ”tolerable” (and still influenced via inter-relations by those old Victorian attitudes), and the period saw the birth of a new defining racial inter-relations lexicons of ”discriminate racism”, ”silent racism”, ”passive racism”, and so forth (or most recent according to ”new police reforms”, of ”positive discrimination”, meaning stay with old race attitudes in recruiting new minorities).

In other words, there was for the country as a whole and not to mention the elite sections and institutions, still a very long and hard road to go, and we are still moving on this path, and this is where we, the centre, as others, come in with a strategic goal founded on long-term non-violence approach of knocking and knocking on that door, of old prejudices, until slowly we are let in– but the hope is a mere long dream…….


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