Category Archives: Racism

Hieroglyph in White

This is what Egyptians looked like three thousand years ago:

Here we see a depiction of a well-to- do Egyptian family and the clothes they wore. The family was from of Thebes during the 20th Dynasty (1184-1078 BC) according Ikram-Dodson
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Filed under Racism, TV reviews

UKIP: gamechanger?

Last night the political reporter for the Nottingham Post tweeted:

The Bus Pass Elvis party is in the great British tradition of Screaming Lord Sutch. And they polled more votes than the LibDems.
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Good Fortune

John Fortune died on 31st December. I probably first saw him as Major Saunders in Yes Minister in 1982: he and his partner John Bird doing their unscripted – but terribly well-researched – double-talk were always the best part of Bremmer, Bird, and Fortune.

Rory Bremmer said:

John Fortune “had the most beautiful brain of any man I’ve ever known”.

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Filed under In The Media, LGBT Equality, Racism, TV reviews

Immigrants are not the problem

Immigrant scary headlinesCheap-work conservatives don’t like human rights: for the principle of human rights, universal and indivisible, stands against the cheap-work conservative need to exploit, use, and abuse everyone less wealthy than they are or than they aspire to be.

It shouldn’t surprise us that so many cheap-work conservative MPs – of all parties – made greedy use of the MP expenses system, and regarded transparency and control of the system as a new tyranny.

Cheap-labor conservatives support every coercive and oppressive function of government, but call it “tyranny” if government does something for you – using their money, for Chrissake. Even here, cheap-labor conservatives are complete hypocrites.

We live in a country where unemployment is at 7.7% after the Department of Work and Pensions has massaged the figures to exclude unemployed people on mandatory government training schemes, and anyone sanctioned of their benefits. Foodbanks across the UK saw a surge in need during the school holidays, as families struggled to feed their children without the benefit of a free school lunch. Even by the DWP’s massaged figures, there are 2.39 millon people out of work.
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Filed under Benefits, Human Rights, Poverty, Racism

The racism of the respectable

Daughters of EvePlease sign this petition, on the Downing Street site from Leyla Hussein, Daughters of Eve, and Efua Dorkenoo OBE, Equality Now:

Over 66,000 women in the UK have already undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and more than 24,000 girls are at risk. FGM is a very British problem. Despite increased activities around FGM recently, it is not enough – we are still failing to stop the abuse.

[The petition has reached 100,000 signatures - 100,412 as of Sunday 26th January - and is therefore eligible for debate by the House of Commons. Important that if FGM is debated in the Commons it does not descend into a farago of Islamophobia: real solutions needed.]

The Guardian is running a consultation on how to eradicate FGM forever: closes 8th January.

In 2011, the Tory/LibDem government cut the funding for the only Whitehall post devoted to work preventing women and girls from the UK being subjected to FGM.

“This is a real step backwards,” said Diana Nammi, director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. “We feel it speaks about a real lack of commitment from the government and a marginalisation of this hugely important issue The new guidelines were an important step forward but efforts are now needed to ensure that they are actually read and acted on, and the government should also be working to change attitudes towards FGM within communities.

“Without a dedicated person in government to drive efforts forward, it’s hard to see how this will happen. The coordinator was a link between all the organisations working in this area and now that’s been lost.”
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Creeping fascism

England: subdivisions Muslim populationThe population of the UK is about 63 million, and fewer than 5% of the population are Muslim. (In Scotland, 1.4%.) Muslims are slightly more likely to express pride in being British than non-Muslims; are more likely to want to live in diverse, mixed neighbourhoods: and much more likely to identify themselves with Britain. (From a recent study carried out by the University of Essex.)

Muslims are not a majority religion in the UK, and mosques are more likely to be firebombed than churches. The most powerful and dangerous country in the world, whose religious extremism has caused more deaths than any other nation’s, has Christian conservatism at the heart of power, not Islam. The right-wing domestic terrorists of the EDL and SDL march against Islam: the BNP occasionally takes up pickets outside KFCs that provide halal chicken: we see a BBC Question Time panel debate veiled Muslim nurses for 20 minutes without ever asking themselves or the audience “has it ever happened that a nurse wanted to wear hijab on a ward”? Right-wing men go on rants claiming it’s a big feminist deal how Muslim women dress. (It is.) An anti-Islamic pressure group masquerading as a “student rights” organisation is funded by a neocon thinktank. And heavyweights like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph run media campaigns trying to convince people that it’s a very big deal if a shop assistant who prefers not to deal with wine or pork, has her religious preferences met with flexibility by her employer. Right-wingers who wouldn’t support LGBT rights or feminism against any Christian institution get all worked up over the hazards of “Islamic extremism” to women and to gay people.

When you have a right-wing political movement trying to blame all the ills of the country on “immigration”, and presenting a persecuted minority as if they were a huge danger, what does this look like to you?

Because I know what it looks like to me.

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Filed under In The Media, Racism, Religion

Neither cure nor endure

Back when we first evolved into naked apes, skin tone for human beings was normally high in melanin. Low-melanin skin (“white”) is a genetic freak that may have provided some advantage for living in latitudes where there’s little sunshine for a large part of the year – or it may have happened by accident, a group of freaks moving northward.

VV Brown wrote in September:

In 2010 I was selected to be one of the first black faces for a Marks & Spencer campaign. Many people in the industry questioned my motives. Being a musician and never having previously modelled, I was constantly asked “Why Marks & Spencer?” Only now can I fully understand the driving force that led me into the modelling world.

I began modelling because I was that young girl looking into the magazines and wondering why I didn’t see more faces like mine looking back at me. Whatever tiny impact it made, I wanted to empower the young black women around me, to feel liberated at the inclusion of a black female in a high-profile British campaign.
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Question Time Johannesburg

BBC Question TimeThis week, for the very first time in its 34-year history, BBC Question Time is going to be televised outside the UK, in Johannesburg. [Correction: not only not the first time it's been televised outside the UK - it's been to Moscow, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, and others - BBCQT has been to Johannesburg before, in 2005. My bad.]

David Dimbleby is chairing as usual, though next year will be his 20th anniversary and it’s long past time he retired from the post. (I’ve said this before. I’ll say it again. Dimbleby is a very, very poor presenter.)

Besides Dimbleby, there will be six people on the panel:
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Filed under In The Media, Politics, Racism

Nelson Mandela is dead

Born in 1918 in Mvezo, grew up in Qunu, small villages on the East Cape of South Africa. Named Rolihlahla Mandela, baptised Nelson by a Methodist teacher: went to Fort Hare University (from which he was expelled due to his political activities) and then to Wits University (from which he never quite graduated, again due to focus on political activities rather than study) and became a lawyer in 1953. In 1944 he was a founder member of the Youth League of the African National Congress and by 1950 he was a member of the National Executive of the ANC and elected national president of the ANC Youth League.

Between 1906 and 1914 another lawyer, Mohandas K. Gandhi, had worked to gain more civil rights for the Indian community in South Africa, but not the black Africans. A year after Rlihlahla Mandela was born, South West Africa – which had been the colonial property of the German Empire – was granted to the South Africa Union, then a territory of the British Empire, under British Mandate. (The BBC leaps smoothly over all of this from 1919 to 1948.) In effect South West Africa remained annexed to South Africa until 21st March 1990 when it became the independent democracy of Namibia: registration laws for black Africans and, after 1948, white apartheid, imposed on it by the South African government.
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Burqa ban wrong

What is a burqa?

Burqa NiqabThe name varies according to country, custom, and time: burqa, niqab, veil, chadari, abaya: effectively it is a one-person mobile tent with either an opening for the eyes or a lighter fabric to let the woman inside see through.

In countries where the burqa is required by law or imposed by male violence and female policing of the woman’s “honour”, adult women sometimes suffer from Vitamin D deficiencies because their skin may never get direct sunlight.

There is no requirement in the Qu’ran for Islamic women to cover their faces or to tent themselves with fabric in a burqa or chadoor.

The Islamic requirement that does exist, that believing men and women should dress and behave modestly, is culturally applied to women, and this double standard has been discussed at length by Muslims and non-Muslims. (I’d note that neither Islam nor any other religion nor the secularist community is unique in having double standards of behaviour and requiring women to behave to standard or face cultural punishment.)

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