White Privilege: The existence of poor white people doesn’t erase Racism

Around 2:00am this morning, I was woken up by a WhatsApp message from an ex. What did he want in the middle of the night? Well, it turned out he has just seen a homeless white couple and he wanted me to know racism is a figment of my imagination.

Just saw this drug couple sitting in the street in front the train station with a two years old daughter. It really breaks my heart. Not all children are born equal

Alert – Assumption that all homeless people are drug addicts.

His conclusion –

In Ipswich, skin colour is the least problem

I was like, “White Satan, get thee away from me this ungodly hour!”

I refused to be dragged into that discussion again, especially at such hour. However, the message kept nagging at me, I really wanted to ignore it but thought i should not. So, first thing in the morning, I sent him a few lengthy responses about what the reaction would have been if it was a homeless black couple with their two-year-old daughter sitting outside a train station, and in Ipswich of all places. The reaction would more have been around the line of-

  • “WTF is a black person doing in our white neighbourhood”
  • “Those immigrants are filthy and have bought their poverty to our dear Ipswich”
  • “Go home niggers, we don’t need your type here.”

Unfortunately, I’ve had this type of discussion with him so many times. He thinks because he was a cash strapped German who came to UK about twenty years ago, and had to do some menial jobs to survive, black people cannot blame anything, including their economic circumstances, on racism. In fact, to him it is not racism, it is a class struggle issue. Unfortunately, he is one of those white people who think that racism is a thing of the past and that Classicism is the problem.

I cannot reiterate enough that White people who claim not to see colour while benefiting from systemic racism are part of the problem.

While on a date with a nice, white gentleman who identify as a progressive, I told him his white skin was like winning a lottery. He immediately thought I wanted to be white and that I had internalised self-hate for my black skin! I tried to explain how being a white person can be a lottery you did not even sign up to play, but I doubt he got the point. Also, he wanted me to put a label on his sexual orientation because as a cis, upper middle class white man, he dated a very feminine Asian trans woman. I point blank told him i don’t put label on anyone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. However, I think if as a cis man you date a trans woman, this would not in any way affect your sexual orientation or gender identity. You dated a woman, that is all there is to it. No, it doesn’t make you queer or means you can now identify as LGBTQ, not if you truly believe you dated a woman, anyway.

Well, back to the issue of my ex and his erasure and denial of racism because of the existence of poor white people. My attempts to make him consider that he probably reacted that way because they were homeless white people and not homeless black people only made him angrier than see sense. He responded that it was about the girl, not my egoism. Yeah, my lived experience of racism as an immigrant black woman in a western country is all about my ego. Racism is a figment of my egoist imagination.

I was like okay, if you can’t take my black ass word for it as i am an egoist black woman, maybe you will consider the word of a white person. Then I googled some articles on white privilege and immediately the beloved article, ‘Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Personby Gina Crosley-Corcoran came up. I thought yeah, I’d share that, but then I thought. “Shit, a white woman wrote it”. I know a white man would stand a better chance of getting to my ex than a white woman, but well, I sent him the article anyway. Unfortunately, all he saw was that it was a Huffington post article, and before he even read it, he responded that Huffington post is conformist propaganda. I told him he probably was confusing it with Daily mail or Fox news.

Anyway, I wanted to share this enlightening article by Gina Crosley-Corcoran with you. The article was her reaction to the acclaimed academic piece by Peggy McIntosh titled- ‘White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’.

Excerpts from Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Person by Gina Crosley-Corcoran

I, maybe more than most people, can completely understand why broke white folks get pissed when the word “privilege” is thrown around. As a child I was constantly discriminated against because of my poverty, and those wounds still run very deep. But luckily my college education introduced me to a more nuanced concept of privilege: the term “intersectionality.” The concept of intersectionality recognizes that people can be privileged in some ways and definitely not privileged in others. There are many different types of privilege, not just skin-color privilege, that impact the way people can move through the world or are discriminated against. These are all things you are born into, not things you earned, that afford you opportunities that others may not have. For example:

Citizenship: Simply being born in this country affords you certain privileges that non-citizens will never access.

Class: Being born into a financially stable family can help guarantee your health, happiness, safety, education, intelligence, and future opportunities.

Sexual orientation: If you were born straight, every state in this country affords you privileges that non-straight folks have to fight the Supreme Court for.

Sex: If you were born male, you can assume that you can walk through a parking garage without worrying that you’ll be raped and then have to deal with a defense attorney blaming it on what you were wearing.

Ability: If you were born able-bodied, you probably don’t have to plan your life around handicap access, braille, or other special needs.

Gender identity: If you were born cisgender (that is, your gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth), you don’t have to worry that using the restroom or locker room will invoke public outrage.

As you can see, belonging to one or more category of privilege, especially being a straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied male, can be like winning a lottery you didn’t even know you were playing. But this is not to imply that any form of privilege is exactly the same as another, or that people lacking in one area of privilege understand what it’s like to be lacking in other areas. Race discrimination is not equal to sex discrimination and so forth.

And listen: Recognizing privilege doesn’t mean suffering guilt or shame for your lot in life. Nobody’s saying that straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied males are all a bunch of assholes who don’t work hard for what they have. Recognizing privilege simply means being aware that some people have to work much harder just to experience the things you take for granted (if they ever can experience them at all).

I know now that I am privileged in many ways. I am privileged as a natural-born white citizen. I am privileged as a cisgender woman. I am privileged as an able-bodied person. I am privileged that my first language is also our national language, and that I was born with an intellect and ambition that pulled me out of the poverty that I was otherwise destined for. I was privileged to be able to marry my way “up” by partnering with a privileged, middle-class, educated male who fully expected me to earn a college degree.

There are a million ways I experience privilege, and some that I certainly don’t. But thankfully, intersectionality allows us to examine these varying dimensions and degrees of discrimination while raising awareness of the results of multiple systems of oppression at work.

Excerpts from –White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh –

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since
hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon of while privilege
that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about
racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see on of its
corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to
recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white
privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can
count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White
privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports,
codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.
Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable.

She further wrote-

I usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck.
Yet some of the conditions I have described here work to systematically overempower certain
groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure renting or purchasing housing in an area
which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed
or harassed.
5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my
race widely represented.
6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that
people of my color made it what it is.
7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the
existence of their race.
8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a
supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a
hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work
against the appearance of financial reliability.
11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like
them.
12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people
attribute these choices to the bad morals,the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the
world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior
without being seen as a cultural outsider.
18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person
of my race.
19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t
been singled out because of my race.
20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and
children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in,
rather than isolated, out-of-place, out numbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job
suspect that I got it because of race.
23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in
or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or
situation whether it has racial overtones.
26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match
my skin.

I would encourage reading the two articles in full if you have not, and if you have, it is refreshing to read them again.

Also, don’t be like my Ex.

 

The Terror attack on Muslims in London and the appalling Muslimphobes

On June 19, 2017, I woke up to the news that there had been a terror attack at Finsbury park Mosque, targeted against Muslims in London. I was shocked and appalled by the barbaric act. I posted on my Facebook wall to condemn the terrorist act. A valued facebook friend from Australia responded with such surprising views that I was really taken aback.

As I have been meaning to write about the Darren Osborne terror attack on Muslims but have not been able to, I thought I should share the exchanges I had with my Australian friend here as the comments basically covered what my thoughts are on the terror act.

I posted on my wall-

Oh no, a counter terror attack in London! This is a dangerous ground to tread, London is too diverse for this appalling act. Londoners are proud of our diversity and tolerance, this is barbaric. I’m just tired of all the bad news. Humans seems to be going downhill.

My Australian FB friend commented-

People can only be murdered for so long before someone stands up and fights back. The English have a history of putting up with shit for so long before taking action. Thankfully someone has chosen to do so.

Needless to say I was appalled by his line of thinking –

That is a very appalling, horrible thing to say. Going around murdering innocent people because you do not like their religion or because a few religious extremists carried out terrorist attacks in the name of that religion is barbaric and very inhumane. There is nothing that can justify murdering innocent people. I have no respect for Islam neither do I have any respect for Christianity nor any other silly religion out there, but I will never advocate for the killing of religious people. Human rights guarantee the right to freedom of Religion. I am appalled by your hateful comment here and I will say NEVER leave such a comment glorifying and justifying the killings of innocent people on my wall.

He refused to put his thinking cap on and responded with –

If these Muslims were not attacking every corner of the globe, every day of the week there would be no reprisals, no trillions spent on security, you would not know they were part of any community. They would be under the radar such as Hindu, Buddhist etc but they are not. They created this situation so they need to suck it up and accept the responsibility for their dogma which has turned the world into chaos.

When some of my British friends tried to set him straight, he was not having it –

Perhaps if you pom’s were as aggressive at actually controlling your social failure with Islam as you are with someone who is please to see someone in your cuntry have the spine to actually stand up and fight instead of hiding behind a keyboard you might not be in decay. After reading all the rubbish you have thrown at me ‘good ridden’s’ to you all.

 

 

 

 

His fellow Australian who has known him personally for about 10 years also stepped in to talk some sense into him-

hate speech like yours is the very reason why people drive their car through innocent people who are simply participating in the deity of their religious beliefs!

You’re stereotyping all Muslims as being murderous terrorists which is bullshit!!

Wake up man!!! What you’re doing is no fucking better than what the terrorist does! An act of terrorism is to incite fear, hate and to terrorise.

I actually know a lot of Muslims and they are wonderful caring beautiful people.

They’re not saying things like your saying. !!!!!

I also thought I should talk more sense into him –

How on earth does attacking and committing terror acts against Muslims solve terrorism? That line of thought is indeed very barbaric, primitive, ignorant and retrogressive.

Were the Muslims killed by this far right English man terrorist the Islamists extremists who are committing terrorists Act?

How is the action of this silly, primitive, barbaric Western terrorist any different from the actions of the Islamist terrorists you loathe?

How is your glorification and justification of this heinous act any different from the jubilation of ISIS and Islamist terrorists after a terror attack?

How is the killing of innocent people targeted solely for their religion any different from killing westerners in the name of Islam?

Today this man targeted Muslims, tomorrow it will be some westerners with extreme far right ideology that will start targeting migrants. And who next, black people living in Europe?

Look, let’s get this straight, there is no justification for hate crimes or any kind of terrorism

Innocent Muslims do not need to convince you or anyone that they have the right to life, live and coexist in any society without fearing for their lives. Muslims should be judged on their individual actions in the society, like every other human being, they should not be collectively held responsible for the heinous crimes of a few others.

I continued-

***your comments are disgusting, appalling, Muslimphobic, hateful and a danger to humanity. I am more than disappointed that you hold such disgusting views as i really did consider you a friend. This is not a simple matter of difference of opinion, i will not let you use my platform to spread such hate. I will block you the same way i block anyone one who spouts homophobic, biphobic or transphobic nonsense on my wall. Pls, kindly stop ANY kind of justification of this heinous act ON MY WALL. Any further comment hinting at all at justification or encouragement of this hate crime and terrorist action get you blocked immediately.

***I am really disappointed that an intelligent man like *** who I consider a friend would hold such extremist views. So sad. I hope he let go of such hate and understand that as evolved human beings, we have no justification for killing or encouraging the murder of innocent people for the crimes of others simply because they share a religion, skin colour or race. How barbaric!

His Australian friend seemed as confused about his line of reasoning as I was , she wrote-

Yemisi Ilesanmi and yet, yesterday he posted a video of the barbaric treatment of Irish by the English in the early 1800’s!

Now here he is defending this barbaric behaviour!! I just don’t understand his thinking.

I’m very disappointed 😔

However, our mutual friend wasn’t budging on his hate-filled murderous views-

Winge all you want as I really don’t care. Neither of you understand my point of view or respect it. I’m labelled a hater when you are both spitting venom at me, throwing hate speech at me. Yes I did load up a bit of English history but I don’t hate anyone over it. I don’t hate anyone, don’t hate Muslims but I am entitled to a opinion to what you believe is right or perhaps in your case ‘left’..

I had to let his fellow Australian know just how shocked I was by our mutual friend’s views-

*** When I first read ***’s comment, I almost thought his account was hacked! I find his comment so out of character. As an Atheist, I never hide the fact that I loathe religion, all type of religion. I and criticise Islam openly, just as I criticise Christianity which actually harmed me a lot while growing up and still harm me cos of my sexual orientation. However as an adult with a functioning brain, I know it is OK to criticise an ideology without calling for the death of innocent people who have done no harm to the society, just because they share or practise their ideology or religion. *** is sadly misguided.

I tried to call him out on calling his murderous, genocidal, oppressive view just an “Opinion” –

Get it into your head, it is not an OPINION to deny a whole group of people the Right to life because of their religion. That is a gross violation of their human right. You are sick in the head if you think you have the right to debate the right to life of innocent people who have committed no crime just because of their religion. You will not use my platform to spread your hate.

His fellow Australian tried to appeal further to his sense of reasoning-

*** you stated that Muslims created this situation.

Muslims did not create this situation, EXTREMISTS did.

I think you are so full of hate for a minority that you’re now persecuting the majority.

I’m not a believer in Religion but I certainly don’t hate those who are.

Also I want to refresh your somewhat lacking memory here. Not all terrorists are Muslims!!!!!

However our mutual friend wasn’t having any of it, logic was lost on him-

I don’t use the word hate as it is a vicious word. Calling me a hater, racist is offensive and wrong. There are 1 billion Muslims so they are not a minority. If they were a minority they are causing way to much death for such a group. If it was a peaceful group the world would not be on terror alert due to Islamic attacks I am aware of this problem, perhaps you are not but back to the original post before I was attacked. Did it actually cross your mind the act of retaliation by a member of the host nation may have been besotted by the grief of someone close to him who was killed, beaten, raped by one of these poor so called minority groups? You are also aware the location of the reprisal was a hub for Islamic haters of Western society?

At this point I was fed up with him –

What nonsense are you spewing, sounds like you’ve totally taken leave of your thinking faculty.

How has the supposedly 1 billion Muslim population you quoted harm you as a person or the society as a whole? How is the killing of innocent Muslims the solution to Islamist terrorism?

I asked you pertinent questions earlier, obviously you have not taken the time to logically ponder these questions or you are just too clouded by your hate and alarming ignorance to logically and honestly answer these questions.

I come from a country of about 120 million people and half of that population are Muslims. Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group who have been terrorising the country have killed more Muslims than Christians or people of other religion. Muslims, who are predominant in the Northern part of Nigeria are integrated into the western, southern and Eastern part of the country.

There are many cases of families where one parent is Christian and the other Muslim. Do we now say because of the atrocities of Boko Haram, we should start killing Muslims in the country? Wouldn’t that lead to another civil war? Of what good are wars? Why advocate for the genocide of innocent people because you loathe their religion?

Your reasoning is very barbaric, ignorant, retrogressive and very inhumane. As *** said, you posted a video yesterday on your wall condemning the Irish genocide by British, now you are advocating for the genocide of Muslims. What a hypocrite you are.

Or is it OK to kill Muslims because you think they are sub-humans? Or you view Muslims as ‘Brown people’ therefore you think they are sub-humans?

You say you know your UK history, are you aware that IRA is classified as a terrorist group that carried out terrorist acts in UK? Was that a good enough reason to murder innocent Irish people? You clearly don’t think so as you condemned the Irish famine as genocide just yesterday. However, the hypocrite Musimphobe and possibly racist that you are is not willing to give Muslims same consideration. You cannot find it in your hate-filled heart to see Muslims in the same way as you see the Irish. I guess the Muslims are too brown for you to deserve basic human right.

You said the location of the terror attack was a hub for Islamic haters of western society. Are you aware that the Mosque in Finsbury Park was the first Mosque to win a National Award in UK? Until a few months ago, I live in North London, just a few stops from Finsbury park, and I can tell you it was a lovely place to live, A hotbed of London diversity.

You are a disappointment. I sincerely hope you will let logic cleanse your beclouded brain and not let hate to consume you so much. What you are advocating is genocide. There is no justification for genocide. I am greatly disappointed in you and disgusted by your comments. Pls, stay away from my wall until you learn how to behave like a decent human being again.

Did he get it? Did he find his brain and conscience again? No, he simply responded with this gem-

What a load of crap. Goodbye

Well, my parting shot was-

Good riddance to bad rubbish, Thanks for unfriending your Muslimphobic, subconsciously racist, ignorant ass from my Facebook page. I don’t need friends that call for genocides. Hate and ignorance fuel violence and you are now obviously a violent man. I hope you get the help you need before you constitute a nuisance to the society. You sound like a terrorist in the making. Goodbye.

Oh well, that was the end of that. Another friend lost to ignorance and hate. Probably many more will be lost as Brexit and Trump embolden people to show their inner racist, sexist and bigoted selves. Hopefully my now ‘ex-friend’ sees the errors of his ways before it is too late.

 

The First Time I Realised I was Black

I didn’t know I was black until I relocated to the UK in 2009 at the ripe old age of 34, before then, I thought I was just a human being.

Settling down in the UK, I quickly realised my skin colour mattered. It matters a lot.

I relocated to the UK in 2009 to study for my Post graduate degree in Law, specialising in Gender, Sexuality and Human rights.  Even though I had contemplated my gender, sexuality, globalisation and the catastrophic effects of unbridled capitalism, I had not given my skin colour much thought.

From the overt racism, which I encountered from the University Surgery GP, the subtle racism of some of my white lecturers (who ironically taught equality classes), the white co-workers who turned their noses up at my African accent, to the ‘behind the back’ racist stab by the white, female principal officer in my workplace, which cost me a much needed, very good job offer, I quickly realised that my skin colour mattered. [Read more…]

Donald Trump’s America: A Win for Sexism, Racism and Misogyny

Today is undoubtedly one of the saddest days of my life, and I am not even American. I might not be American or even live in America, however, I am human and Donald Trump is the very embodiment of everything I stand against.

Every vote for Donald Trump was a vote for Sexism, Racism, Xenophobia, Misogyny, Bullying, Sexual Assault, Bigotry, Tyranny and every other thing appalling.

A win for Donald Trump was a rude awakening that majority of Americans would rather see a very horrible, inept man lead the country than a very capable, humane woman.

A win for Donald Trump is a reminder that so many Americans are not as appalled by sexism, racism, xenophobia, bullying, sexual harassment as any decent person would be. [Read more…]

No one should have to choose which racism they would rather endure

I was having a phone conversation with my 21-year-old son while watching the Williams sisters’ doubles match the other day when our discussion veered towards racism which the Williams sisters have endured over the years.

I mentioned that I didn’t get why the British audience booed Serena during the match. My son said something about the British always supporting the underdogs and maybe they were just rooting for the player that Serena had defeated earlier who was also playing in the doubles.

However, we both agreed that there was an obvious case of hostility towards Serena during a match last year in Wimbledon when Serena defeated British player, Heather Watson. The audience were indeed unruly and very hostile towards Serena and even the commentators expressed their shock. My son said he was quite surprised as British people are not usually very open when they are being racist. [Read more…]

UK Black Pride 2016: Transforming Our Community

UK Black Pride was held on Sunday 26, June 2016 at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London, with the theme “Transforming Our Community”. It was a blast with positive vibrations, diversity and thousands of vibrant people.

It was such a joy to be at UK Black Pride, 2016. It was fun in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with lots of foods and drinks to share, great music, great dance steps, lots of twerking and yeah, sexy, lovely people! LGBT BMEs do know how to party!

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Did someone say Why Black Pride?” [Read more…]

Online Dating: Serving up Choices and Confusion

Dating in this generation has a whole new meaning. It is all about choice or rather the illusion of choice, leading to confusion, pain, and a life wasted on swiping profiles for the next hit. This Facebook note by a Facebook friend, got me thinking about dating. As a single woman, i must say, i agree totally with his take on it. In this age of online dating, it is all about the illusion of choice and the uncertainty that comes with it. dating

Back when i was a teenager growing up in Nigeria, 20 something years ago, dating was not even a thing. You were either in a relationship with someone or you were not. It was straight to the relationship phase. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy asks girl, “Will you be my girlfriend?”, if girl likes boy, she plays coquettish long enough to not appear desperate, then says yes, and bingo, they are in a relationship. No dating as it is known today, no testing the waters, that was done at the ‘eyeing her/him up’ stage. The courtship stage did not normally involve alone time together. Maybe time with friends and families where you both sussed each other out, until one of you makes the move. [Read more…]

8 Reasons “I’d Rather Be a Rebel than a Slave” on t-shirts for “Suffragette” is Wrong

When Time Out London invited the leading actresses of the new film, “Suffragette”, to be photographed for its October 2015 issue, they did not envisage the heated debate that ensued. The photoshoot featured the stars of the movie, Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Romola Garai, and Anne-Marie Duff posing in t-shirts bearing Emmeline Pankhurst’s quote, “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.” The appropriateness of the t-shirts message was called into question. Reactions to this debate have been very enlightening as well as disturbing. The photoshoot provided another opportunity to see white feminism in action and the reaction shows how difficult it is for feminists of colour to be heard in a visibly white world.

Mary Rozzi

Mary Rozzi

Below are 8 reasons why the quote on the t-shirts is inappropriate, insensitive and offensive as a promotional material for a 21st century film that seeks to promote equality.

1- Not everyone has the luxury of choosing between being a slave or a rebel

My ancestors were humans who were carted off from Africa and made slaves in foreign lands. They did not have12108275_10153653732906873_381376419150408220_n the luxury of choosing between being a rebel or being a slave. No one would “rather be a slave”. Many of them were rebels but this did not save them from being slaves. They did not just hand themselves over to their captors. They did not just roll over and decided to live the slave life. They did not choose to be separated from their families and land of births.

Captivity was forced on them. Slavery was forced on them. Many were born into slavery. Being a rebel in the sense of organising protests and speeches under police protection and throwing animal blood at their fancily dressed “Masters” were not options available to them.

However, the fact that millions of my ancestors died as slaves in foreign lands did not mean that many of them were not rebels. There were rebellions on the slave ships. Many died with their rebellion stories that will never be told. [Read more…]

Serena Williams: Racism, Sexism and the Champion

Serena Williams gave us another ‪‎Serenaslam. She is unarguably one of the greatest of all times. At 33, when most men and women champions are catching their retirement cheques, Serena Williams is saying ‘You aint seen anything yet!’ Serena Williams is at her best ever and she is here to stay. What an inspirational athlete!

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The Williams sisters not only changed the face of Tennis, they took it to a higher level. In a game where racism still unashamedly rears its ugly head, where sexism and beauty stereotypes mean the best athlete who happens to be black, gets less endorsement deals than the white blonde she has dominated for years, one cannot but admire the determination of the Williams sisters to excel in their game. Their many victories are inspirational and legendary.

We cannot ignore the racism the Williams sisters have faced over the years in a game that is predominantly white and traditionally elitist. [Read more…]

On the ban of UKIP LGBT from London Pride

London Pride is an event I eagerly look forward to since I started residing in UK. For me, it represents freedom, a 10270791_910936968932361_6130231271874203855_nsafe place to make a loud political statement and have fun with LGBT families and allies.

Therefore, it was a shock when I checked the London Parade list for 27 June, 2015 and saw UKIP LGBT staring right back at me.  The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is widely known for its homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia and blatant racism.  I was aghast that UKIP LGBT is going to be in that ‘safe and fun’ pride parade.

Considering how vocal UKIP leaders and members have been about condemning LGBT rights and [Read more…]

The curious case of Rachel Dolezal

When Rachel Dolezal was outed as a Caucasian woman in blackface, the story almost broke the internet. Several daystumblr_inline_npu43mC6mM1qfb043_500 later, we are still trying to put the pieces together. So far, the story has served as a platform to discuss racism and cultural appropriation. However, it has also served as a platform for transphobes to pontificate on gender and redefine transracial.

Rachel Dolezal, 37 year old part-time professor in the Africana studies program at Eastern Washington University, was outed by her Caucasian parents, Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal, as a white woman pretending to be black. Following the social media attention, Rachel Dolezal handed in her resignation as president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). She tendered her resignation without any sign of remorse, later followed by an exclusive live interview with NBC News where she insisted-

I definitely am not white, I’m more black than I am white. That’s the accurate answer from my truth.

Rachel seems to think her chosen truth trumps facts. You can choose your truth but you can’t choose your facts. She seems to have a history of choosing her truths with total disregard for facts.

On several occasions, Rachel Dolezal has claimed to be the victim of hate crimes. However, Investigators have not been able to find evidence to substantiate her claims. In fact, it was an effort to connect the dots in her latest hate [Read more…]

“Hero Mom”? Hitting children is not what good parenting looks like

When the video of an angry mom beating up her son at the Baltimore protest went viral, Toya Graham, the mom who smacked her 16-year-old son, Michael Singleton, for joining the protest, became the face of good parenting and many lauded her as hero mom of the year.

It is disappointing that many hailed her action and called for more ‘black mothers’ to whip their ‘erring’ sons into line! Are we so desensitised to violence that we don’t see anything wrong with a parent hitting a child in anger? You cannot discipline a child when you are out of control, not thinking straight or blinded with fear or anger. Toya Graham was expressing anger and fear, she admitted, “I just lost it”.

I cringed when I watched the video, the fear and violence hit me in the face! This is not what good parenting looks like. This is not what discipline looks like. This is not what makes a hero mom. This is FEAR. This is ANGER. This is a panicked mother lashing out at her child. This is an adult hitting a child she knows will not hit her back.

Hitting your child in a fit of anger is not discipline; it is child abuse. Lashing out at your children in fear because you want to keep them safe is not Love; it is child abuse. [Read more…]

South Africa and Xenophobic Attacks: Simply No Justification

On March 20, 2015, xenophobic attacks broke out in Durban, South Africa, some disgruntled South Africans turned on their neighbours, viciously attacking foreigners, mostly immigrant black Africans. This set in motion a wave of anti-immigrants attacks. The locals accused migrants of taking local jobs. They wanted the foreigners out of their country. Since the attacks, many deaths have been recorded and thousands of foreigners have fled for their lives, with many rendered homeless and in hiding.

A Mozambican man, Emmanuel Sithole was stalked, stabbed and murdered on the streets by vicious South Africans, According to reports, many including policemen watched while he pleaded for his life.

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The Nigerian consul-general in South Africa, Uche Ajulu-Okeke said  – [Read more…]

Chapel Hill Shootings: Condemning religion does not an Islamophobe make, Atheism does not a superior moral being make

The gruesome murders of Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19, all Muslims, in the gun-toting hand of Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, an atheist, is appalling and a tragedy. I cannot begin to imagine what the families of these victims must be going through.

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CNN reported

According to the law enforcement official briefed on the investigation, Tuesday’s altercation started after Hicks found a car belonging to one of the victims in what he claimed was his parking space. Then Hicks went to the victim’s condo and shot all three people in a confrontation.

Hicks turned himself in to police Tuesday night and is being held in the Durham County Jail without bond. He is cooperating with investigators, police said Wednesday morning.

Mohammad Abu-Salha The father of the female victims feels differently, he believes it is an hate crime.  He stated

We have no doubt that the way they looked and the way they believed had something to do with this

Karen Hicks, the soon to be ex-wife of Craig Stephen Hicks expressed her shock and sympathy, she however stated

This incident had nothing to do with religion or the victims’ faith, but in fact was related to the longstanding parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors

According to Craig Stephen Hicks’ neighbour, Samantha Maness it was an equal opportunity anger situation.

I have seen and heard him be very unfriendly to a lot of people in this community,” Samantha Maness, another resident of the Finley Forest development, told the Times. She said that Hicks displayed an “equal opportunity anger” and that he made “everyone feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

Why are some atheists blaming ‘Extreme Atheism’ for Chapel Hill shootings? 

I watched in bewilderment as some atheists assume extreme atheism was to blame for the murders. Some have [Read more…]

The Charlie Hebdo tragedy: The five crowds that are getting it wrong

In the wake of the atrocious murder of Charlie Hedbo’s journalists by Islamist fundamentalists which led to #Jesuischarlie, it is sad that some people have chosen this horrendous time to falsely accuse the magazine of the very thing it stands against; Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and Misogyny.

As Libby Nelson wrote in Charlie Hebdo: its history, humor, and controversies:

Charlie Hebdo is known for its cartoons, which are often raunchy and provocative, whether they depicted the Prophet Mohammed or portrayed the Pope performing holy communion with a condom.

Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, who was murdered in the attack, described the newspaper’s positions in 2012 as left-wing, secular, and atheist.

Below are 5 different crowds that are getting it wrong and why.

1- The “Charlie Hebdo is racist and sexist” crowd

This crowd eagerly post some of Charlie Hedbo’s cartoons with the aim of accusing the magazine of racism and L4057-1011.0sexism, without caring to dig into the context.

The context of Charlie Hebdo’s Parodies/cartoons is easily understood by the French but not easily understood by outsiders, unless they are conversant with French politics. Some of these cartoons can be viewed and understood under the piece What are some of Charlie Hebdo’s most famous cartoons?

At first glance, these cartoons might appear racist, sexist, and ill-thought-out, but after reading the contexts, this is usually not the case.

So, “What was the context of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting Boko Haram sex slaves as welfare queens?”

This is what Libby Nelson has to say:

Charlie Hebdo covers often combined two unrelated stories to make a satirical point. In the context of the magazine’s leftist politics, this seems to be about spoofing not Nigerian trafficking victims, but French welfare critics, who have argued that France should cut welfare programs to prevent immigrant women from exploiting them. The cover, in this view, seems to say, “Hey, welfare critics, you’re so heartless that you probably think that even Nigerian sexual slavery victims are money-grubbing ‘welfare queens.

This is what French people have to say about it on Quora [Read more…]