The Student Union Lecture Series 4: Is There Room for Black in the Union Jack? Wed, 2015-11-04 15:05

The Student Union Lecture Series 4: Is There Room for Black in the Union Jack?

Britain has seen a complicated relationship with race. The Industrial Revolution saw Britain?s industries and economy grow exponentially, almost totally a direct result from its colonial and imperial (mis)dealings. It had taken part in both World Wars, recruiting thousands from the colonies to fight in the armed forces. Britain has therefore been a truly ‘global’ nation with cities like London built almost entirely out of the colonial moment.

In the 1970s and 80s, post-colonial migrants from across the empire then began to define as ?black? as a term of solidarity to confront racism in the UK. However, ?political blackness? has become contentious, as solidarities have arguably broken down. So what does black mean now?

London ? the heart of the empire ? looks very different today. It has redefined itself as the ?post-race? and ?superdiverse? melting pot, despite black communities being quickly gentrified and displaced.

With all this in mind, we ask what/who is black and Is There Room for Black in the Union Jack?


Joshua Virasami is a musician, writer, waiter and member of Black Dissidents. Black Dissidents are a UK based group of militant black and brown activists, organising for liberation by any and all means necessary.

Fatuma Khaireh is a poet and playwright, she is part of OOMK Zine a biannual publication centring activism, art and faith of non-white women and muslim women.

Kevin Bismark Cobham is a criminal defence lawyer who also defines himself as a movement lawyer, pan-Africanist and community activist and is from London. He also is a member of London Campaign Against Police and State Violence, a family-led campaign against all forms of police and state brutality against communities in South London and beyond.

Activist and blogger Zahra Dalilah is a South London native and a long time nomad. Her experiences of the African diaspora are shaped by her both her studies and her travels and has recently been proactively in exploring ideas on race and racism and why these issues are so reluctantly explored in mainstream discourse. She is currently an active member of Take Back The City.