The White Essential Subject: Race, Ethnicity, and the Irish in Postwar Britain

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This article focuses on the history of Irish migrants in Birmingham in an attempt to enhance historical understanding of race, ethnicity and ‘whiteness’ in post-war Britain. To do so, it will look at two Birmingham histories: the Young Christian Workers’ Association’s report on the Welfare of Irish migrants in 1951, and anti-Irish violence in the aftermath of the Birmingham Pub Bombings of 1974. It will consider the extent to which Irish immigrants were victims of racism, what this meant in terms of discrimination and identity, and, in particular, how Irish experiences corresponded to that of black and Asian migrants.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-230
JournalContemporary British History
Issue number2
Early online date19 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018