The Social Limits to Equality



On 28 July 1993 three officers from Britain’s Aliens Deportation Group (ADG) arrived at the north London flat of Joy Gardner to deport her. Gardner had been born in Jamaica, but had come to Britain six years earlier. Her mother, Myrna Simpson, had lived in Britain for more than 33 years. Her half-brother, three uncles, and two aunts also lived in Britain. She was married to a British citizen and her son, Graeme, was born in Britain. Under Britain’s immigration laws, however, Gardner was considered to be an ‘illegal immigrant’. The immigration authorities declared her marriage to be fraudulent and imposed a deportation order on her. The officers from the ADG manacled her with leg, arm and body belts, cuffed her hands and bound 13 feet of sticky tape around her body, including seven times around her face. Gardner died from asphyxiation. When the three officers involved were tried for unlawful killing, they were found not guilty. The Daily Mail declared the verdict to be correct because ‘Gardner had no right to be in Britain in the first place’.1


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 2.
    George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism ( London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1978 )Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe (New York Library, 1971)Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    David Theo Goldberg, Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning ( Oxford: Blackwell, 1993 ).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    E. J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution 1789–1848 (London: Sphere, 1973 [first pub. 1962]) p. 35.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Cited in Peter Fryer, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain ( London: Pluto Press, 1984 ) pp. 137–8.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993 ) pp. 4–5.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Irving Zeitlin, Ideology and the Development of Sociological Theory (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968) pp. 2–3; the quote is from Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, p. viii.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Cited in N. Hampson, The Enlightenment: An Evaluation of its Assumptions, Attitudes and Values ( Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968 ) p. 36.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    Charles de Secondat Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, trans Anne M. Cohler, Carolyn Miller and Harold S. Stone (Cambridge University Press, 1989 ).Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    Nathan Tarcov, Locke’s Education for Liberty (University of Chicago Press, 1984) p. 1.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    George-Louis Leclerk de Buffon, A Natural History, General and Particular, trans by William Smellie (London: Richard Evans, 1817) pp. 107, 306, 398.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    David Hume, Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Oxford University Press; 1994, orig. pub. 1748).Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    Cited in Ashley Montagu, Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race ( Cleveland: World Publishing, 1964 ), p. 44.Google Scholar
  14. 21.
    Louis-Armand de Lom D’Acre Lahontan, New Voyages to North America (London: H. Bonwicke, 1703) vol. 2, p. 8.Google Scholar
  15. 22.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, trans by Maurice Cranston (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968 [orig. pub. 1770]) p. 49.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality, trans by Maurice Cranston (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984; orig. pub. 1755) p. 160.Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Origin of Language, trans by John H. Moran and Alexander Gode (New York: Frederick Unger, 1966; orig. pub. 1761).Google Scholar
  18. 27.
    Joseph-Marie Degerando, The Observation of Savage Peoples, trans by F. C. T. Moore (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969; orig. pub. 1300) p. 66.Google Scholar
  19. 32.
    David Hume, ‘Of National Characters’, in Selected Essays (Oxford University Press, 1993) n. 120, p. 360.Google Scholar
  20. 34.
    Tzvetan Todorov, On Human Diversity: Nationalism, Racism and Exoticism in French Thought, trans Catherine Porter (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993; orig. pub. 1989), p. 103.Google Scholar
  21. 35.
    Georges-Louis Leclerk de Buffon, The History of Man and Quadrupeds, trans William Smellie (London: T. Caddell and W. Davies, 1812 ) p. 373.Google Scholar
  22. 36.
    Michael Banton, Racial Theories (Cambridge University Press, 1987) pp. 8–9Google Scholar
  23. 36.
    Robert Miles, Racism (London: Routledge, 1989)Google Scholar
  24. 36.
    Anthony Barker, The African Link: British Attitudes to the Negro in the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade,1550–1807 ( London: Frank Cass, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  25. 37.
    T. H. Huxley, ‘Emancipation - Black and White’, in Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews, ( New York: D. Appleton, 1871 ) p. 24.Google Scholar
  26. 40.
    Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas ( London: Hogarth, 1976 ) p. 215.Google Scholar
  27. 41.
    Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford University Press, 1993; orig. pub. 1776) p. 408.Google Scholar
  28. 43.
    Cited in Lucio Colletti, From Rousseau to Lenin: Studies in Ideology and Society (London: Monthly Review Press, 1972; orig. pub. 1969) p. 155.Google Scholar
  29. 49.
    William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765–9) p. 23.Google Scholar
  30. 50.
    Seymour Drescher, Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilisation in Comparative Perspective, (Oxford University Press, 1987; orig. pub. 1986) p. 20.Google Scholar
  31. 52.
    David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution 1770–1823 (Oxford University Press, 1989) p. 461.Google Scholar
  32. 57.
    Cited in Reginald Coupland, Wilberforce, A Narrative (Oxford University Press, 1923) pp. 144–5.Google Scholar
  33. 58.
    Cited in Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery,1776–1848 ( London: Verso: 1988 ) p. 148.Google Scholar
  34. 65.
    Cited in David Brion Davis, ‘New Sidelights on Early Antislavery Radicalism’, William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series, no. 28 (Oct. 1971).Google Scholar
  35. 66.
    Cited in James Walvin, ‘British Popular Sentiment for Abolition’, in Christine Bolt and Seymour Drescher (eds), Anti-slavery Religion and Reform ( Hampden: Archon, 1980 ) pp. 152–3.Google Scholar
  36. 69.
    Abbé Raynal, The Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies (London, 1776) vol. 13, pp. 466–67.Google Scholar
  37. 70.
    Michael L. Kennedy, The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution: The First Years (Princeton University Press, 1982) p. 202.Google Scholar
  38. 71.
    M. B. Garrett, The French Colonial Question,1789–1791 (Ann Arbor, Michigan: George Wahr, 1921 ) p. 51.Google Scholar
  39. 72.
    C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (London: Allison & Busby, 1980; orig. pub. 1938 ) p. 80.Google Scholar
  40. 76.
    Robin Blackburn, ‘The French Revolution and New World Slavery’ in Peter Osborne (ed.), Socialism and the Limits of Liberalism ( London: Verso, 1991 ) p. 89.Google Scholar
  41. 77.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile, or, On Education, trans Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books, 1979 ) p. 39.Google Scholar
  42. 78.
    Thomas Paine, ‘Agrarian Justice’, in Michael Foot and Isaac Kramnick (eds), The Thomas Paine Reader ( Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987 ) p. 484.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kenan Malik 1996

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations