In redefining national identity in the era of imperial decline, new West Indian migrant communities were a perceived threat to British culture. Perceptions of the 'dysfunctional' black family as a central problem were given academic credibility in sociological and population studies conducted in the 1940s and 1950s that targeted illegitimacy, female fecundity, 'looseness' of family life and poor parenting as major causes of poverty. Such interventions demonstrate the durability of a transnational discourse of the 'dysfunctional' black family and the way it has migrated with African diaspora peoples across time and space. In colony and 'Mother Country' academic research, official policies and voluntary initiatives centred on the African Caribbean family dovetailed into a powerful agenda of interventionist welfare policies. Social policies and initiatives favoured by British government officials and agencies involved in the welfare of migrants in British cities reflected a cultural racism, masked by a liberal discourse of racial equality, that permeated the new genre of race relations literature.