A New Generation (1998)

Film details


Documentary series chronicling the experience of West Indians in Britain following mass immigration. 3 of 4: This programme describes the difficulties faced by the early migrants' children in defining themselves culturally. Were they British or not? Many of the problems of this generation stemmed from negative school experience. As the feeling of alienation grew, young black people, influenced by the rising tide of black assertiveness in the States, came into conflict with the police. The Notting Hill protest of 1971 has become a lasting landmark of in the story of community-police relations and resulted in a trial in which those charged were finally acquitted.

A confrontation at the Notting Hill Carnival in 1976 reinforced ideas of black criminality and the National Front took advantage of the situation to create anti-immigrant feeling.

In January, 1981, 13 black youngsters died in a fire in a house at London's New Cross Road. No one was ever charged and victims found themselves the targets of police suspicion. When fifty thousand people marched into Central London to peacefully protest at the way the tragedy had been handled, the media represented the event in a negative manner.

Although the Seventies was a period of intense cultural change for young black Britons, in which Caribbean music icons such as Bob Marley, Lee `Scratch' Perry, and Linton Qwesi Johnson entered the mainstream, the programme ends by asking if the repeated pattern of police action and violent reaction will set the pattern of race-relations for the future.

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