'We must rise above racist onslaught' Windrush generation endured says CEO of the West India Committee

24 June 2023, 18:46 | Updated: 24 June 2023, 18:55

We must 'rise above' racism says Blondel Cluff

By Anna Fox

As the UK marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of passengers on the Empire Windrush from the Caribbean, Blondel Cluff CBE notes the ongoing racism many individuals continue to face today.

CEO of The West India Committee, Blondel Cluff CBE began by telling Sangita Myska despite claims racism is declining, she asserts "it is on a terrible increase", stating "We must raise the game within our own sort of mindset and push through this because, you know, the establishment is not necessarily there for us".

Continuing, Ms Cluff CBE told Sangita she believed in order to progress forward, we must "educate and encourage" the younger generation to have "more pride in being West Indian".

She added: "But also to sort of shed some of the stereotypic expectations of our community and go beyond that because we can attain so much more than just that".

Their conversation arose as the UK marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush, which docked in Tilbury, Essex, on 22 June 1948, carrying passengers from the Caribbean to fill labour shortages in the UK.

Sangita questioned the CEO of The West India Committee: "Are you suggesting that the Caribbean community here in Britain has internalised racialised stereotypes of itself?"

Ms Cluff CBE replied saying: "No, I don't think we've internalised that.

"I think that we're being subjected to it day in, day out. I don't think it's about internalising. I just think of it as part and parcel of daily life, unfortunately."

Read more: Migration Policy Expert condemns Greek authorities for 'practically murdering' migrants

In 2018 it emerged that the government had not properly recorded the details of people who had travelled from the Caribbean to the UK, and many were wrongly deported.

VV Brown stresses importance of telling stories of the next generation of Windrush descendant

Continuing, Ms Cluff CBE said: "It's about actually sort of trying to sort of rise above this onslaught.

"Otherwise, we will be we will continue to suffer from it. It doesn't seem to be letting up. Quite the opposite if anything".

Noting the assumptions and predispositions many people hold towards West Indian people, Ms Cluff CBE said: "I think that people just assume that we, for example, we're very good in the worlds of sports and entertainment and if you look in the Caribbean, it actually has the highest density of Nobel Prize winners".

Read more: People smuggler admits manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants found dead in lorry in Essex

The inquiry, which released its report in March 2020, stated that the scandal was both "foreseeable and avoidable", and criticised "a culture of disbelief and carelessness" in the Home Office.

The inquiry made 30 recommendations, including setting up a full Home Office review of the UK's "hostile environment" immigration policy, appointing a migrants' commissioner and establishing a race advisory board.