Tag Archives: racism

When Prime Ministers Make Promises

On 14th April 2011, David Cameron made a promise:

So, taking all this into account, I believe controlling immigration and bringing it down is of vital importance to the future of our country.
That’s why during the election campaign, Conservatives made a clear commitment to the British people…
…that we would aim to reduce net migration to the levels we saw in the 1980s and 1990s.
Now we are in government, we are on track to meet that aim.

Nick Clegg thinks that the problem with that promise was that it was undeliverable:

“I said to David Cameron he shouldn’t make the commitment because it was inevitable he was going to break it because you can’t control the net figure… We said we were not going to do it as a coalition government. It is very embarrassing for the Conservatives. They made a huge amount of fanfare about it and they were warned by me and others ‘Don’t do this, it doesn’t make any sense’.”

(If you are a white UK-born LibDem supporter, however, the Conservative/LibDem government responsible for this is “The best UK Government of my lifetime”, so there.)

Labour think they’ll pick up votes by pledging to have more controls on immigration. Labour's anti immigration mug

(Though in fairness, Diane Abbott condemned the mug as “shameful” and the pledge as a problem, for which she was predictably condemned in the not-at-all racist Spectator. (There’s just something about Diane Abbott they don’t like.))
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Say no to the Daily Express. Say no to racism.

At 4:44pm today, the Daily_Express twitter account posted this:

Daily Express Racist Tweet

This was originally posted as a Promoted Tweet, for which the Daily Express were paying:
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George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin

Trayvon MartinFacts not in dispute: on 26th February 2012, George Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin from his car: then, against police advice, Zimmerman left his car to pursue Martin on foot, carrying his gun. Shortly after Zimmerman had left his car, he shot Martin to death, with the gun he had brought with him. Martin, aged 17 when he was killed, was not armed.

On record: George Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that night “Fucking punks. These assholes. They always get away.”

The only living witness to all of what followed is George Zimmerman himself, who alleges that Trayvon Martin attacked him and he shot the young man in “self-defense”. Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel, who was talking on the phone with him as he tried to evade Zimmerman, says that Martin told her a “creepy-ass cracker” was following him and she told him to run.
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Dear Tom Midlane

Lolcat: Im in ur knapsak enjoyin ur privilijYou appeared annoyed this afternoon on Twitter when I did not greet your advice with the respect you felt it deserved.

I’m sorry. It’s difficult to remain (relatively) polite and to the point when we have only 140 characters to explain why I do not agree with you, nor do I respect you.

“The left”, however variously defined, is broadly speaking a movement for social justice and equality and against privilege. If you are accustomed to playing the game of life at the lowest difficulty setting there is, yet still consider yourself to be on the left, you are probably used by this time to having people who play the game of life at higher difficulty settings advising you to check your privilege. Indeed, that’s possibly what inspired you to write this article to which I am responding at terrible length and very late.

The left, it’s fair to say, has a long tradition of infighting. Groups with only a hair’s breadth difference in ideology splinter off into rival factions, aggressively defending their interpretation of the One True Path. It’s the perfect example of what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences”: communities with adjoining territories and seemingly identical goals who engage in constant feuding, striking outlandish poses to differentiate themselves from one another.

It’s important to reflect that the movement for social justice has, over the past two hundred and twenty years, accomplished paradigm shifts in the ways we think and act. We take for granted that there is something wrong with slavery, with war crimes, with rape: we assume that women have a right to our own property, that employees have a right to safe working conditions, sick leave, days off: that children have a right to shelter and food and care even if their parents can’t provide for them: that people too old or too sick or too disabled to work should be cared for still. True, I can think of examples in every country in the world in which those rights are violated, but it’s not so long ago in the history of humanity that none of these things could be taken for granted by anyone.
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Filed under Disability, Equality, Human Rights, Justice, LGBT Equality, Poverty, Racism, Women

Talking to prolifers

Edinburgh abortion rights outside Merchant's Hall - SavitaSavita Halappanavar went to Galway University Hospital on 21st October with severe back pain, to be told she was miscarrying. She was 17 weeks pregnant. For three days of agony she and her husband requested an abortion – the foetus was still alive but had no chance of survival – but the medical staff refused: there was still a foetal heartbeat. He said they were told that this was the law and that “this is a Catholic country”. After three days the foetus was dead and the prolife medical team removed it, but too late to save Savita Halappanavar’s life: she died of septicaemia on 28th October.

Edinburgh Abortion Rights protest - outside Merchants Hall

The protest last night outside Merchant’s Hall in Hanover Street had been planned well before Savita Halappanavar died: it was in response to the first meeting of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students.

This is an organisation that intends, in its own words, to “invest in the future”:

Students are the nation’s future leaders and professionals. The next generation of doctors, lawyers, parents, teachers, nurses, politicians, engineers and artists will go on to build a pro-life society with a profound and lasting respect for human life.

By “respect for human life” they mean the ethos that let Savita Halappanavar die in agony.
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Filed under Equality, Human Rights, Justice, Racism, Women

Scotland Says Nae Nazis

Today, the Yes Scotland campaign is having a march. The main reason for the march seems to be so that the march planned for 21st September 2013 is not the first march for independence.

Next Saturday, there will be another march: I expect it to be quite a bit smaller, but much more important. Alex Salmond won’t turn out for it, there won’t be any fancy rally in Princes Street gardens.
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“In my next Friday prayers, I will make a sermon against FGM to let people know the harms that is associated to it. That will be my duty,” said Imam Ayuba Jaiteh of Tujereng village.

He further promised: “Also in other social gatherings, such as naming ceremonies, I will talk against FGM.”

According to the Home Office, up to 24,000 girls under the age of 15 may be at risk of female genital mutilation. Since March 2004, it has not only been illegal to mutilate a little girl’s genitals in the UK (the first law against FGM in Britain was passed in the 1980s) it is also illegal to take a girl out of the UK to mutilate her genitals in another country. Anyone who does so can in principle be prosecuted and jailed for up to 14 years.

But there have been no prosecutions in the UK. Not because girls have not been mutilated, but because – according to Newsnight’s report last night – no effort has been made to prevent it:

[Isabelle Gillette-Faye, a French campaigner against FGM] walks me over to the Eurostar platform to tell me the story of two little girls who were about to board the train headed for St. Pancras to be mutilated in the UK.

“It was a Friday. We heard just in time. They had tickets for the Saturday.

“A family member tipped us off. We told the police and they were stopped from making the journey.”

The parents were cautioned. Had they gone ahead with the mutilations and been found out, they would have been imprisoned for up to 13 years.

“We simply will not tolerate this practice,” Isabelle explains.

Does she think many French children have been cut in the UK?

“Yes, because you do not care,” she says.

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Filed under Human Rights, Justice, Racism, Women

Three women on the Rochdale rapists

Arrested for being a public nuisance outside a takeaway shop, the 15-year-old blamed her behaviour – screaming and bashing the counter – on the systemic abuse she had suffered at the hands of two men inside. During six hours of videotaped testimony she went on to say how she’d been lured in by the men with gifts – drinks and a phone card or maybe something to eat – and made to feel “pretty” before eventually being asked to “pay for” the vodka with sex. She even handed over underwear spotted with the 59-year-old accused’s DNA.

Nine months later, in August 2009, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge the two men as the girl would make an “unreliable witness” and the lawyer doubted any jury would believe her.

Three-quarters of the time, when sexual offences against children are reported to the police, the adult alleged to have committed the offence will not go to trial. According to NSPCC research, a third of children who are sexually abused “do not tell anyone at all about it, let alone report it to the police.”

The teenager who screamed and yelled and told the police this year saw her evidence – believed at last – form a central part of the case against the gang of nine men found guilty of raping and trafficking children.

As a white feminist, I feel like Fleet Street Fox and Julian Norman: this is about adult men raping and abusing girls, and race doesn’t enter into it.

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Filed under Justice, Poverty, Racism, Women

Things white people like: Blackbusters

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney, Shadow Minister for Health, was having a conversation on Twitter about criticism of “Black leaders” by black communities who feel these “leaders” do not represent them.[Update: As usual – it was more complicated than that.] In the course of that conversation, she tweeted: White people love playing ‘divide and rule’ We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism

She was right of course. There’s nothing to apologise for in a politician having a public conversation about a controversial topic.

And the notion that it was racist because it expressed a negative view of “white people”?

What this absurd flap demonstrates is the desperate longing of some privileged people to wear the rags of victimhood. Any whiff of black-on-white racism, like misandry and heterophobia, is an excuse for these delicate souls to downplay the dominant prejudice and argue that there is a level playing field of bigotry or, on the crazier fringes, that there is a “war” on white people/men/straight people/motorists, etc. Coming so soon after the Lawrence verdict, Abbottgate is a nasty attempt to pretend that, hey, there’s racism on both sides now. A black man gets knifed to death by a white mob; a black MP writes a carelessly worded tweet about white people. It all evens out.33revolutionsperminute: racism vs “racism” – why Diane Abbott was right

In a racist culture, public criticism of white people by a black person is not allowed. Any number of white people suddenly got up and yelled RACIST! Including the white man who was one of her fellow contenders for leadership of the Labour party – Ed Milliband called her when she was live on air to give her a telling-off. White man scolds black woman at a time when he knows the black woman will just have to stand there and take it, in public, on video. (Today Ed Milliband tweeted “Sad to hear that Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters.” Yes, Ed, I’m sure.)

To prove the exact point Diane Abbott was making about stuff white people like to do, Ed Milliband seems to have told Chuka Umunna to criticise Diane Abbott’s comment and David Cameron got Tory MP for Stratford Nadhim Zahawi to call for her resignation.

Sometimes it’s so blatant even a Daily Mail columnist (and one that doesn’t like or agree with Diane Abbott) can see what you’re doing:

Interestingly, though, as one of my extremely learned friends pointed out, that very act of Ed Miliband’s intervention, and her subsequent retraction, actually served to re-inforce the truth in what she was saying. Albeit a point she had made poorly.

And who could deny that? The situation was clear for all to see. Here was her boss, the white man, and here was she, the black underling, and she was gagged and undermined and it was right in front of us. No confusion there.

She followed this with a time honoured cop-out ‘taken out of context’ and responded by saying it was ‘a mis-interpretation as it refers to nature of 19th century European colonialism which cannot be explained in 140 characters’. Sonia Poulton, Daily Mail, 6th January 2012

Stuff white people like to do: complain about ‘racism’ against white people

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