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The Multicultural Carnival And The Consolidation Of The White East End Dr Georgie Wemyss CRONEM.

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Presentation on theme: "The Multicultural Carnival And The Consolidation Of The White East End Dr Georgie Wemyss CRONEM."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Multicultural Carnival And The Consolidation Of The White East End Dr Georgie Wemyss CRONEM

2 Chronology of events in Tower Hamlets that received national media coverage and the launch of ‘The East End’ marketing strategy 1993 8 th Sept: Quddus Ali attacked 10 th Sept: Whitechapel vigil/’riot’ 16 th Sept: BNP councillor elected 21 st Sept: Marketing strategy discussed in closed council meeting. 28 th Oct: Council leader announces ‘The East End’ marketing strategy in ELA. 10 th Nov: Labour Party councillors boycott full council meeting to be attended by BNP councillor 25 th Nov: Launch of East End Life, East End Marketing Strategy and The East End Carnival 1994 Jan: ‘Vision’ of ‘The East End’ marketing strategy publicised to council employees 8 th Feb: Mukhtar Ahmed attacked 11 th Feb: mass mail-out of unsolicited ‘The East End Carnival’ packs 19 th March: TUC Unite Against Racism Demonstration. 2 nd April: The East End Carnival 17 th April:’The East End’ publicity along London Marathon route 5 th May: Local Elections.BNP and Liberal Democrats defeated.

3 The ‘Vision’ To raise the profile of the Borough and place it on the map. To move the Authority away from the name Tower Hamlets and to declare that we are THE EAST END, THE REAL LONDON. A cosmopolitan community full of history and tradition that is ready to face the 21 st Century through business and growth (Welcome to The East End: Publicity material 1993-4).

4 ‘ We want to return to the true East End’ “We want to reclaim the name East End… [I am] sick and tired of hearing Tower Hamlets portrayed as a run down murky borough … And it's time that we stood up proud to be living in the East End with its rich culture, diversity and the friendly area which it is … In the East End despite some recent concerning incidents – we do have relatively safe streets full of very friendly people, but how often are we portrayed as this? ( Cllr Peter Hughes, East London Advertiser 28.10.93 their emphasis).

5 A Message from the Mayor I welcome East End Life as the official voice of this area … It is our East End – a wonderful place to work and live and we want to reclaim it for all our people. The East End is the multi-cultural homeland of friends and neighbours, everyone knows that, but we have a rich history too that is worth telling… We are proud of our traditions of loyalty, good humour and courage. We are a caring community with diversity and tolerance and we are determined to tell the world about it. So … enjoy your own paper and rest assured that your East End - the real East End, will be found in its pages. (EEL 25.11.93)

6 The East End Carnival Come one, Come all! We hear too many negative things about the East End. We have a lot to ‘ be proud about, with a rich multi-cultural and multi-ethnic heritage. We should be celebrating this diversity.’ (Mayor’s quote) To acknowledge this next year will witness the East End Carnival, bringing all the variety of music and culture to the streets … All sections of the community will be represented on floats or on foot, from youth and sports groups to musicians, to you! (Launch edition of East End Life 25.11.93)

7 Welcome to the East End Community Carnival. Tower Hamlets Council and Spitalfields Market have joined together to celebrate the East End's common heritage … The carnival aims to show the world that there are positive things coming out of our community… Each of the dozens of floats, representing the East End's rich and varied community will be judged in different categories … Residents and businesses along the route will be decorating their premises and the streets (East End Life 31.3.94).


9 Challenges to the route of the ‘multicultural’ East End Carnival I was worried … a Bangladesh flag and no music through a white area … would only provoke the white crowd. It went through GT which had one of the highest BNP votes. It was a white route It was a racist route …it didn’t go through any areas where there were high concentrations of Bengalis or African- Caribbeans. (Carnival participants Pulok, Les and Carl)

10 The Carnival Hierarchy The white front: Carts and horses with Pearly Kings and Queens Carriage and horses with the Mayor Vintage vehicles, majorettes, Municipal vehicles The multicultural rear: Bangladesh Welfare Association Daneford Youth Centre Burdett Massive Youth Group

11 Challenges to The East End Carnival hierarchy… The Mayor with a lot of people behind him … there was all the lovely cockney refuse department vehicles, totally undecorated We were right near the end … there were only 3 of us from the Black community, out of 30. Only 2 of us had sounds …they were the real carnival types …multi-ethnic, multicultural, they were at the back and we didn’t win anything… It was just too white. (Carnival participants Les, Nicola, Carl)

12 The multicultural hierarchy of ‘The East End’ ‘multicultural’ ‘cosmopolitan’ ‘diversity’ ‘tolerance’ The use of these keywords in the marketing strategy appear to ‘unfix’ the category of ‘East Enders’ to include everyone who lives there. ‘reclaiming’, ‘returning’ ‘tradition’ ‘tolerance’ These keywords, together with the assertion of specific white histories contributed to the construction of the local ‘hierarchy of belonging’ Those at the top of that hierarchy have the power to grant or withhold tolerance from those at the bottom.

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