chapter  8
20 Pages

‘Police on My Back’ and the Postcolonial Experience

One song that can be read as a marker of the changing experience of migrants in Britain and Europe is ‘Police on My Back’. In this chapter, I trace the shifting meanings of the song over forty years. Originally a genre song about Jamaican rude boys, the song was revisioned thirteen years later as an expression of the experience of oppression. In later versions this experience has been more clearly identified as that of the migrants from Europe’s colonies and ex-colonies who arrived in the post-Second World War period, and their descendants. These people remain not only oppressed but also, in the neoliberal capitalist restructuring that took place after the economic crises of the 1970s, increasingly dispossessed and excluded from the dominant social order.