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As we approach the new millennium, African, Asian and Caribbean activists in Britain appear to be poised at the proverbial fork in the road. Do we march into a future marked by a pluralism of ethnicities, identities and interests? Or do we continue to hark bak to the golden days of black struggle -- when the movement was united in deed, action and purpose -- in the frail hope that outdated or failed notions of black unity will be revitalized?

The need for a new strategy for anti-racist struggle is evident. Increasing social stratification in black communities and the emergence of Afro-Saxon conservatives and Asian millionaires mock the idea that the colour of one's skin will determine the content of one's politics. The rise of new faces of racism, especially Islamophobia, suggests the need for a more sophisticated and encompassing anti-oppressive language. And the failure of certain forms of state anti-racism, such as occurred at Burnage, invites us to re-assess understandings of where we are, where we need to go and how to get there, the terms of the debate as so far stated may in fact be too narrow and unimaginative to answer the challenge.


This article was originally published in Patterns of Prejudice, 32:4, pp. 21-34 in 1998.

Julia Sudbury has since changed her name to Chinyere Oparah. She has also published under Julia Oparah.