Brian Walker (@brianwalks), MSc Social and Public Communication
Brian is a media and communication practitioner who has covered parliamentary and judicial affairs for leading outlets in Jamaica. He currently works with LSE’s Public Affairs team which leads on the School’s engagement with key stakeholders in the UK and across the globe. He recently produced ‘Black Excellence: Sir Arthur Lewis and His Enduring Legacy’, a video feature on the life and work of LSE’s first Black academic who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics 40 years ago. Brian’s research interests are at the intersection of media, (in)justice and social psychology.
‘I Thought No One Would Care’ : The Windrush Scandal and Social Representations of Blackness.
Supervisor: Cathy Nicholson
Citizens of then British colonies accepted the United Kingdom’s (UK) invitation over 70 years ago to help with rebuilding efforts after World War II. Some of these citizens who are part of the Windrush generation did not formalise their status in the UK through naturalisation and became victims of the hostile environment policy. In 2018, stories of deportation and detention of citizens who lived in the UK for multiple decades, plus the denial of public services and loss of employment attracted sustained media attention in what has been called the Windrush scandal. This study explored how Blackness was represented in press coverage and how power players and naturalised members of the Windrush generation experienced the scandal as it evolved in the media. By using social representations theory as a gateway, the data revealed that there was a significant shift from historical representations of Blackness as a social problem to the Windrush migrants being positioned as British and upstanding citizens. This shift in the media narrative evoked sympathy for victims, heightened ‘respect’ for the Windrush generation at large and outrage at the Government. Nevertheless, the vulnerability of victims embedded in media coverage added another layer to perennially stigmatising representations of Blackness in the UK.