Black Is

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I gave the Milton K Wong lecture in Vancouver on Sunday.  I very much enjoyed the event- it was a stunning venue, a superb audience and a good discussion of the issues. My thanks to the Laurier Institution, University of British Columbia and CBC for inviting me. Entitled ‘What is Wrong with Multiculturalism? A European Perpective’, the lecture pulled together many of the themes about immigration, identity, diversity and multiculturalism of which I have been talking and writing recently. It was a long talk, so I am splitting the transcript into two. Here is the first part; I will publish the second part later this week. It will be broadcast in full on 22 June on the CBC’s Ideas strand.

It is somewhat alarming to be asked to present the European perspective on multiculturalism. There is no such beast. Especially when compared to the Canadian discussion, opinion in Europe is highly polarised…

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Samara Linton| What Cambridge has Taught Me about Representation


Flashback fifteen years or so and you would find me laughing with my family, frying fish by the riverside. Moving from the Jamaican countryside to inner-city London was a time I could probably write a novel about, but moving from London to Cambridge, a decade later, was an equally defining experience in my life.

It may seem ridiculous, but before Cambridge, I had not really thought about the fact that I was a working-class, black woman. I was Jamaican, my best friends were Chinese and Pakistani and Zimbabwean and Ethiopian, but in Cambridge, our differences paled to insignificance when we stood alongside the white, middle-class majority.

I quickly realised that being a working-class, black woman meant something. I initially felt the need to disguise my ignorance of this new world but it was quickly exhausting. I got tired of feigning laughter at cheese jokes (no, I’d never heard of Camembert)…

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Chelsea suspend two more fans over PSG racism incident; Total now five


On a day Jose Mourinho said the locker room was “ashamed” of the racist actions of some road fans on Tuesday in Paris, Chelsea continues to put the hammer down.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

The disgusting incident involved a group of fans singing racist chants at a black man, and refusing to let him board a train before the Blues’ UEFA Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain this week.

The incident was filmed by a British expat, and discipline started with suspensions that could turn to lifetime bans for three suspects.

Here’s the entire statement:

Chelsea Football Club has suspended a further two people from Stamford Bridge as a result of ongoing investigations into the incident on the Paris Metro on Tuesday evening. This makes a total of five to date.

If it is deemed there is sufficient evidence of their involvement in the incident, the…

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MLK Day: the Lessons of Pacifism & the Civil Rights Movement

The Red Phoenix

MLK National Mall

Today is the celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the United States. While it is ostensibly celebrated to promote the Civil Rights Movement, one wonders why MLK, among all other more active and progressive civil rights leaders, was chosen to receive a federal holiday. The answer lies in history: Martin Luther King Jr. would not have been successful in his bid for civil rights for black people if groups like the Black Panthers and individuals such as Malcolm X did not remind America of the alternative of pacifism.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy has been one of two strong messages which are spread on this holiday: a message of anti-racism and the preaching of nonviolence. One famous quote says that nonviolence “is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” Another says…

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A belated response/ take two on why I don’t think ableist jokes are funny

snipets of overanalysis

I am writing this because according to some the message was lost in my original critique of the Banshees “Tourettes: brainstorming out loud” poster because the way in which it was delivered. I raised a red flag with my original status but never stuck around to explain why I found the poster to be so problematic, so that is what I aim to do here, because I think it’s important and deserves a more palatable approach.

I need to be clear about one thing though. The reason I am taking the time to explain my anger is that I am an able-bodied (in that I do not have Tourette’s syndrome) ally to those who have the disorder. That being said, I do not think members of non-dominant groups have ANY sort of obligation to explain to the dominant group why they are pissed off, and I support members of any non-dominant group…

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The Deepness Project

The empty, derelict, unfinished sanctuary stands bang in the middle of a desolate village. Its potential peers through the weed and grass flourishing in its gaping cracks. My heart sinks and my body laughs at the ephemeral boldness that got me started with such a grandiose project.

What was I thinking, resolving to step into my fear of writing, and starting this blog?

Who did I think I was? Who was I fooling?

Looking around me, I’m surrounded by even grander mansions, built with the imaginations and energies of men and women bestowed a new year, another chance to dream. Dreaming on. Before reality and their stubborn past selves gripped them at the ankles, snapped them back into “reality”, grounded them on humble earth and cut the lives of their (new year’s) resolutions short – erased their visions of progress, better selves, fuller lives.

But thank God, I get…

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