Immigration Street: A Community Thriving?

“Immigration should be celebrated,” said Executive Producer, Kieran Smith. He thinks that immigration needs to lose its negative connotations and be accepted for what it is- people coming to our country to live and work together.

But is immigration really a bad word? Immigration Street set off as a documentary trying to see how people lived on Derby Road, Southampton. The street is full of immigrants, some are second and third generation and some have just arrived. Lots of countries are represented on the street including; Jamaicans, Hungarians, Iraqis, Poles, Russians,Latvians, Somalis and Lithuanians.

Reactions on Twitter were certainly divided, with Mohammed Ansar and Kevin O’Sullivan feeling annoyed:

Other people raised the issue of whether the name could have made a massive difference to the programme:

However, some people did embrace the documentary and saw it for its good points, raising awareness and showing a multicultural society that worked well before filming commenced.

Views online were very swayed by the argument between Delroy, a Jamaican man who cooked for residents of the street once a week, and worked as a cleaner, and a group of men who were against filming.

Strangely, this outburst from the men came straight after Delroy had been talking about building walls and people segregating themselves and others from them.

Delroy had said: “God did not put a wall here, he did not put barbed wire. Who did that? Mankind.”

One man in the documentary, Rafique- the local shop owner who’s family moved here in the 1950’s, says that the issue is not with immigrants but with British peoples views.

He said: “English people are very lazy and immigrants come here and do all the rubbish jobs and do well. And you people can’t handle it when they’re doing well 15 years later.”

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The documentary clearly raised the issue of harmoniously living in a multicultural and multi faith community. Nonu, who had just moved from Portugal, hinted that racism against immigrants shows that we have not really progressed since the days of Nazism in Germany. He explained that is how the war started in the 1930’s.

He said: “That’s what the Germans did, they blamed the Jewish for everything.”

Despite the bad things we saw in the programme last night, it was clear to see that the people of Derby Road did live happily. This was seconded by Landlord Barry who said: “It is the best place I’ve ever lived. Anything goes on this street.”

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