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Malcolm X And The Sikhs Of Smethwick


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9 days before Malcolm X was assassinated, he made a solidarity visit to the streets of one of England's largest and oldest Sikh communities: Smethwick.

Whilst different areas of Birmingham always housed different immigrant groups it was always only Smethwick that had a Sikh majority. Things in Smethwick however, were far from rosy. Racism against the Sikhs was so fierce and mainstream that a local Sikh, Avtar Singh Johal, asked Malcolm X to come and visit and, help. To his credit, he came. He could have shown solidarity with many black areas or Muslim areas but it was to this Sikh area that he came and when he came, he said what he had seen there was worse than what was happening in America.

The day Malcolm X came to visit:

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Smethwick indeed is a big area for Sikhs, the foundarys in Smethwick are where sikh men worked. The heavy foundarys work was easy for them, as in punjab they weren't working with tools or great machinery on the farms of punjab. Though the foundarys of smethwick are tough there were machines and tools. The pakis couldn't do this type of work which Is why there were in Bradford working in the textile trade. Smethwick is next to handsworth, handsworth is a big sikh area and a tough manor. The Sikh youth of the 70-90s area more urban compared to smethwick . I'm not sure what malcom x saw, but myself with extensive knowledge of the area and experience can say racism doesn't work in birmingham, the NF didn't gain moment after the 1974 bombings, the rivers of blood speech was made on the edge of birmingham, but white brummies didn't want to know. The most racist people in birmingham are pakis, with their racially motivated sexual assaults, and kaffirphobia.

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. I'm not sure what malcom x saw, but myself with extensive knowledge of the area and experience can say racism doesn't work in birmingham, the NF didn't gain moment after the 1974 bombings, the rivers of blood speech was made on the edge of birmingham, but white brummies didn't want to know. .

Ooh no, Hammertime007. :nono: You have no idea how the racism of Smethwick was so big that it not only made international headlines but was, single-hendedly, responsible for the enactment of the UK's first anti-discrimination laws.

You see, at that time, there was of course racism everywhere....partly because being racist against non-white people was not only perfectly acceptable and the norm among the masses but also perfectly acceptable according to the Law. In Smethwick however, the level of racism reached a level that made liberal thinkers and research academics realise that something must be done. In other words, if it wasn't for Smethwick, the Race Relations Act would never have come into existence. The catalyst was the 1964 by-election in Smethwick which has gone down in history as the most racist election campaign ever in British history. The politicians, the people (white people), the police and the local authorities all made it abundantly clear that they did not like or want any non-whites (in Smethwick's case that means Sikh as the Sikhs were overwhelmingly the non-whites of Smethwick). The level of racism was the worst that the UK had or has ever experienced. As the title of this thread states, the Sikhs of Smethwick did not take it lying down. They organised....they unified....they demonstrated...and they even reached out to America and the man who was, at that time, the international face of non-white rights and dignity. They reached out to Malcolm X and, to his great credit, he actually came.

Now, the important thing to note here is that today, many people on this very forum lament how the Sikhs are always demonstrating....always agitating....always fighting for their rights. What these people need to understand is that, from an historical point of view, this facet of the Sikh's character in contrast with the character of the Muslims, Hindus and blacks, has been responsible for so much that is now good in Britain. For example, when the UK had a racist party on the cusp of election victories (the National Front) it was the Sikhs who consigned them to the dustbin of history (Southall, April 1979). When this country had a massive youth movement that was based on the principle of beating and killing non-white people (skinheads) it was the Sikhs that consigned them to the dustbin of history (Southall, 1981).

We are, by very nature, so different to all the non-white groups that have ever made the UK their home. We need to remember how much we have acheived on behalf of every non-white person in the UK today. They won't know if we don't remember and teach our kids.

Not to say the others did nothing at all though because I often sit my son down and remind him how the middle aged Hindu Gujarati ladies of Wembley are legends when it comes to the working rights of all non-whites. The strength, unity and single-mindness that those auntia showed during the Grunwick Strike between 1976 and 1978 should always be saluted and remembered.

Smethwick is next to handsworth, handsworth is a big sikh area and a tough manor

Handsworth was never an actual Sikh area (ownership of stores in an area, all around the world, is never a good indication of who actually lives there and...as Soho Rd was always throughout history the main shopping thoroughfare to the west of Brum city centre, it was always the place to own and operate retail businesses) (the fact that it is and has always been the hotspot of the largest concentration of massive Gurdwaras is indicative of the fact that the area is where Sikhs congregated for shopping, extra-curricular activities and the abundance of cheap vacant large premises than the actual existence of Sikh residents).The Jamaicans always easily outnumbered the Punjabis and of the Punjabis, the majority were always ravidasias who classified themselves as Hindu rather than Sikh. To this day, whilst the eastern part closer to the city centre (lozells) is overwhelmingly Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim it is only the small suburban area of Handsworth Wood that has a Sikh feel in terms of residents. In terms of relative recent history then, Handsworth is up there, just behind Brixton and Flatbush in New York as Jamaican towns. You might not know that but there are youngsters into reggae throughout the globe that listen to 'Handsworth Revolution' regularly and blacks in America who remember that it was a Handsworth rasta who ensured that the state of New York enact a Law ensuring that New York taxis stop for black customers (David Hinds - Steel Pulse).

The pakis couldn't do this type of work which Is why there were in Bradford working in the textile trade

Pakistanis have always outnumbered Sikhs in Birmingham by about 30 to 1, and their main community in places such as Balsall Heath is even older than the Sikh community of Smethwick.

But, I take your point because the news archives of Smethwick from the early 1960's talk bout hard working 'asians' (sikhs) whereas the news archives of Balsall Heath from the same and even earlier era talk about 'asians' (Pakistani Muslims) who are pimps (Balsall Heath was always the red light capital of northern europe this side of amsterdam)

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Wow I had no idea it was that crazy in the UK. I mean people were killing non whites? We're taught about the civil rights movement of America in school but the UK is always painted as more progressive (the ended slavery before USA, there Multiculturalism is mosaic rather then melting pot) We're always under the impression that the states were crazy racists back in the good ol' days but the UK sounds just as bad.

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Ooh no, Hammertime007. :nono: You have no idea how the racism of Smethwick was so big that it not only made international headlines but was, single-hendedly, responsible for the enactment of the UK's first anti-discrimination laws.

You see, at that time, there was of course racism everywhere....partly because being racist against non-white people was not only perfectly acceptable and the norm among the masses but also perfectly acceptable according to the Law. In Smethwick however, the level of racism reached a level that made liberal thinkers and research academics realise that something must be done. In other words, if it wasn't for Smethwick, the Race Relations Act would never have come into existence. The catalyst was the 1964 by-election in Smethwick which has gone down in history as the most racist election campaign ever in British history. The politicians, the people (white people), the police and the local authorities all made it abundantly clear that they did not like or want any non-whites (in Smethwick's case that means Sikh as the Sikhs were overwhelmingly the non-whites of Smethwick). The level of racism was the worst that the UK had or has ever experienced. As the title of this thread states, the Sikhs of Smethwick did not take it lying down. They organised....they unified....they demonstrated...and they even reached out to America and the man who was, at that time, the international face of non-white rights and dignity. They reached out to Malcolm X and, to his great credit, he actually came.

Now, the important thing to note here is that today, many people on this very forum lament how the Sikhs are always demonstrating....always agitating....always fighting for their rights. What these people need to understand is that, from an historical point of view, this facet of the Sikh's character in contrast with the character of the Muslims, Hindus and blacks, has been responsible for so much that is now good in Britain. For example, when the UK had a racist party on the cusp of election victories (the National Front) it was the Sikhs who consigned them to the dustbin of history (Southall, April 1979). When this country had a massive youth movement that was based on the principle of beating and killing non-white people (skinheads) it was the Sikhs that consigned them to the dustbin of history (Southall, 1981).

We are, by very nature, so different to all the non-white groups that have ever made the UK their home. We need to remember how much we have acheived on behalf of every non-white person in the UK today. They won't know if we don't remember and teach our kids.

Not to say the others did nothing at all though because I often sit my son down and remind him how the middle aged Hindu Gujarati ladies of Wembley are legends when it comes to the working rights of all non-whites. The strength, unity and single-mindness that those auntia showed during the Grunwick Strike between 1976 and 1978 should always be saluted and remembered.

Handsworth was never an actual Sikh area. The Jamaicans always easily outnumbered the Punjabis and of the Punjabis, the majority were always ravidasias who classified themselves as Hindu rather than Sikh. To this day, whilst the eastern part closer to the city centre (lozells) is overwhelmingly Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim it is only the small suburban area of Handsworth Wood that has a Sikh feel in terms of residents.

Pakistanis have always outnumbered Sikhs in Birmingham by about 30 to 1, and their main community in places such as Balsall Heath is even older than the Sikh community of Smethwick.

Smethwick is not of birmingham it's Warley. Smethwick and handsworth are neighbouring are areas. Shere punjab came from handsworth the biggest on street sikh youth movement the UK will see. They battered the blacks at the freighted horse known as the carra to locals. Sp ran soho rd part of villa rd holyhead rd nearly all of Handsworth.lozells which is mainly Jamaican separates handsworth from aston. Aston has a big industrial history, the kynoch. Imi, gec employed thousands, aston is paki but the local pakis never worked there they couldn't handle it. Birmingham aluminum casting was a tough foundary in Smethwick where 100s of singhs worked, these singh made alkali dal birmingham, proper alkali old punjabi suba types, not like the current jokers. Congress were also running the main gurdwara in Smethwick round mid late 70s there were battered rd out by the singhs from said mentioned foundary. Racism in brum it never worked, alot of the white people in brummichum are of Irish background, the white English people themselves grow up in multicultural birmingham and mix with others. As for these gurjrati women from wembley you praise, if you want to praise these indra ghandi types in your home that's your business.
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Smethwick is not of birmingham it's Warley. Smethwick and handsworth are neighbouring are areas. Shere punjab came from handsworth the biggest on street sikh youth movement the UK will see. They battered the blacks at the freighted horse known as the carra to locals. Sp ran soho rd part of villa rd holyhead rd nearly all of Handsworth.lozells which is mainly Jamaican separates handsworth from aston. Aston has a big industrial history, the kynoch. Imi, gec employed thousands, aston is paki but the local pakis never worked there they couldn't handle it. Birmingham aluminum casting was a tough foundary in Smethwick where 100s of singhs worked, these singh made alkali dal birmingham, proper alkali old punjabi suba types, not like the current jokers. Congress were also running the main gurdwara in Smethwick round mid late 70s there were battered rd out by the singhs from said mentioned foundary. Racism in brum it never worked, alot of the white people in brummichum are of Irish background, the white English people themselves grow up in multicultural birmingham and mix with others. As for these gurjrati women from wembley you praise, if you want to praise these indra ghandi types in your home that's your business.

I remember watching a program about football hooligans. And I recall that the Birmingham City hooligans were called The Zulus. Normally, football hooligans are known to be white racist thugs but what was strange about the Zulus was that they were full of Irish and Blacks.

What was stranger was the Irish and the Black's used to go up and down the country to fight other hooligans who were mainly white English.

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I remember watching a program about football hooligans. And I recall that the Birmingham City hooligans were called The Zulus. Normally, football hooligans are known to be white racist thugs but what was strange about the Zulus was that they were full of Irish and Blacks.

What was stranger was the Irish and the Black's used to go up and down the country to fight other hooligans who were mainly white English.

the birmingham city zulus are the UKs biggest multicultural football firm, there's alot of white English lads and Irish of spring, there's alot of the black lads who run the firm hence the name. However one the first multicultural football firms were pre zulu days and they also came from Birmingham it was the Villa c crew, this is the type of thing that shows racism never gained momentum in birmingham.
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the birmingham city zulus are the UKs biggest multicultural football firm, there's alot of white English lads and Irish of spring, there's alot of the black lads who run the firm hence the name. However one the first multicultural football firms were pre zulu days and they also came from Birmingham it was the Villa c crew, this is the type of thing that shows racism never gained momentum in birmingham.

There is a particular dynamic between different ethnic groups that is maybe not the same in other parts of the country.

What makes the Birmingham/W.Midlands area unique in this instance?

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There is a particular dynamic between different ethnic groups that is maybe not the same in other parts of the country.

What makes the Birmingham/W.Midlands area unique in this instance?

that's true what you saying, and Pakistanis do the most damage to a harmonised multicultural society in the UK.
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What is this particular dynamic you speak of?

Well, for example the fact that different ethnic groups can get together to fight others.

Take Millwall as an example. They are based in Deptford, S.E. London which has a very highly black population (it was in the 1990s, not been there for almost 20 years and do not know if this is the case). But they have always been known as a racist club and even though there are black Millwall fans, they never galvanised together with their local whites.

However I know that Cass Penant headed up the West Ham firm and he was black.

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As for these gurjrati women from wembley you praise, if you want to praise these indra ghandi types in your home that's your business.

Umm. Interesting, Hammertime. :huh:

Slightly interesting in the fact that you normally reserve all your hate towards Muslims but more interesting in the fact that a Sikh (i.e one who has been taken out of the darkness by our Guru) is swayed more by the fact that those great women of Wembley were HINDUS rather than the fact that they bravely persevered with their strike (on behalf of yours and my grandma) on the streets for 2 years. (for those of you who do not know: At that time, our mothers were paid less than white work colleagues in the factories......our mothers were legally treated worse in terms of breaks than their colleagues......Our mothers worked in the same sort of factories that the Gujarati ladies of north west london worked for. Those Hindu Gujarati ladies did something Sri Gobind Singh ji taught us to do. They said no. This is not right. They walked out on strike. The unions and the labour party at that time were even more racist against non-white people than the establishment so they didn't support those ladies. But, even without union support, those ladies continued to strike and picket the factory. A week went by. A month went by. And then more months. And then a year. These ladies still, without union or any support, continued with their picket because it was right. Another 6 months went by. By the 18th month of these women's struggle, the consciousness of the entire nation was woken up. By the 18th month, every right thinking individual in the country was in awe of the sacrifices of these women and by the 19th month media reports say that between 20,000 and 30,000 people were coming down to wembley every day to stand alongside those women in solidarity and fight the police that were inimidating them.)

So, I'm intrigued Hammertime, how does a 'Sikh' grow up to hate or dismiss such brave women just because they are 'Hindu' ??? :omg:

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