By Thomas L Blair © 2015
Get-out-the-vote campaigners entered marginal seat Nottingham in an eye-catching orange touring bus. It was bursting with voter registration computers, and a powerful message.
Like latter day Robin Hoods, they came to curb uncaring politicians and empower Black and Asian target groups – youth, women, the elders, and faith-based co-religionists.
With rights activist and master tweeter, Lee Jasper, warming up the crowds
in the Town Hall square, a symbol of municipal authority —
OBV leader Simon Wooley warned candidates:
“Putting race equality on the agenda is no longer an option but rather a question of their own political survival.”
Author’s note: My research suggests that one-stop canvassing once every five-yearly general election cannot bring the needs and views of the aggrieved margins to the centre of public affairs. I sense an appetite for a national umbrella group, with local branches and cyber-organisers with smart media networks and web sites, to add social action to the Black and Asian political agenda for change; an optimistic prospect the Nottingham Afro-Caribbean and Asian Forum (ACAP) and groups in all the marginal electoral districts might feel confident to partner.
Why? Because voting is at its core a democratic instrument to relieve the stigma of marginality by origin, race, religion, and class and similar barriers to opportunity. A stigma that afflicts Black and Asian minorities more perhaps than their co-residents in the historically worst white working class districts. Indeed, they came and found that poverty was the hallmark of the “forgotten Englishmen” until council estates replaced the wretched slums in the mid-20th century. Furthermore, current data from official sources shows that Nottingham ranks 20th out of 327 deprived cities in Britain. Nationally, Blacks and Asians are worse placed however in Liverpool the most deprived city in the nation — Manchester is fourth and Birmingham ninth.)
The Impact Agenda
Prof Thomas L Blair explores the use of Internet and social media by Black communities and scholars to disseminate ideas, and calls for this material to be captured and preserved as part of Britain’s cultural heritage.
On the OBV Nottingham roadshow
Directory of Nottingham’s BMEs
On the “underclass” stigma
On the Nottingham riots in 2011, look also for pre-Notting Hill 1958 disturbances
On historic white working class slums and today’s council estates where many people experience high levels of crime and unemployment, poor health and educational achievement, low skills and low standards of housing and the environment.
St Ann’s, a case study of the poverty of marginality
On Nottingham place in the high ranking deprived districts of the nation:
The African Caribbean and Asian Forum (ACAF)
ACAF, a Voluntary Sector Organisation, assists Nottingham’s Black and Minority Ethnic Communities with projects in Health, Public Involvement, Volunteering, and Adult Social Care. An associated group, Bright Ideas, supports positive changes in the places where BMEs live.