Writers like Saladin Ahmed, Cindy Pon and Shveta Thakrar show that non-Western worlds can be fantastic, magical and unique, without resorting to common exoticizing tropes.
That all three writers are also persons of color certainly helps, but that shouldn’t limit anyone–of any background–from trying to do better. I do not subscribe to the school of thought that it is solely up to PoC to write diverse stories. It’s certainly relevant that we “write our own stories,” yes. But I should be able to write stories that aren’t about my particular ethnic-racial background. And so should everyone else. That argument in my opinion is a cop-out, that conveniently leaves PoC holding the responsibility bag. It lets white-dominated speculative fiction continue on doing what they do–while PoC are relegated to smaller enclaves that get little to no popular visibility. We’re all responsible for creating not only more diverse worlds, but ones that challenge our past (and modern) stereotypical tropes.
by Jon Daniel
In contemporary art and design, context is everything. Where the medium and the moment come together forms a powerful and resonant statement. So the context is 2011 Obama, the most powerful man on Earth, is of African origin. Barriers are being broken down across all market sectors and territories. And there is a shift of economic power from the western world to the emerging markets of Asia, Latin-America and Africa, where over 100 domestic companies boast revenues greater than $1billion. It’s all part of an African renaissance that has been taking place for several years. A renaissance that’s evident in the media, with the arrival of high quality publications like Arise magazine; online environments such as the African Digital Artists Network; and new African cinema as evidenced in Wanuri Kahui’s futuristic sci-fi movie, Pumzi. All are united by a desire to portray a dynamic, progressive image of The Motherland. From a UK design perspective we saw new initiatives arrive, primarily in the form of the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora (AACDD). A three-year programme, initiated by the British European Design Group (BEDG), its aim is to promote the creative skills of ethnic minorities of African and African-Caribbean heritage. It was in part a response to statistics, which showed that minority ethnic groups are significantly under-represented in the art and design scene in the UK. In fact, Design Council research in 2010 revealed that just 7% of designers are from a minority ethnic background.
From two single beds and a spotlight bright enough to crochet beneath, we would watch Bollywood films, my aunt and I, in the bedroom we shared in North London. There were, within each film, similarities to my own Turkish upbringing; a crossover of words, appearances and plot-lines worthy of less-accessible Turkish cinema. It kept my attention. Characters who became somehow…
While schools may mark Black History Month, it is important to remember that we cannot rely on them to teach us about black history.
There are other avenues, resources and people that can provide us with an abundance of knowledge, particularly during this month.
One example is Filmmaker and founder of Visionnary Arts, Troy James Aidoo who to mark Black History Month has created a short film…
By Huma Munshi
In one fail sweep Judy Finnegan has laid bare the prejudice and ignorance faced by rape survivors. Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women programme on the case of convicted rapist, Ched Evans, Judy noted that because there wasn’t violence during the rape and the woman was drunk at the time, it didn’t cause “bodily harm.” herefore, the footballer having served his sentence should be allowed back to play in his team, Sheffield United.
Let us unpick for a moment Judy’s conclusions based on her logic.
Without any physical sign of violence, a rape has not caused the victim “bodily harm.” Testimony from survivors and victims would lay bare the ignorance behind this statement. Not fighting back does not negate the violence inflicted or the long-term trauma of being violated. A woman might not physically fight back for a number of reasons: the perpetrator is physically much stronger; fear and terror may paralyse a woman; the victim may believe the perpetrator may be less violent if she does not struggle; or in the case of the 19 year old woman Ched Evans raped: his victim was passed out.
We walked into the police station in Uganda. My white British friend who wanted to file a complaint had asked me to accompany her. The three officers behind the desk stood up immediately, one giving her his chair, the other rushing to take notes and the third, with a great deal of concern on his face asked her what had happened.
Sat in the waiting area were a pregnant woman and an elderly gentleman, both were black Ugandans. The lady had been waiting over two hours for the police to attend to her while the gentleman had spoken to them regarding his issue and been told to wait. He’d been waiting for almost three hours. My friend on the other hand was dealt with immediately and within thirty minutes all procedures had been carried out and her complaint both logged and addressed.
Two years prior to this I was stood in a queue at a bank in Uganda, ahead of me was a white gentleman and in front of him was an elderly Ugandan lady. The Bank Manager came out and bypassed the lady at the front and made a beeline to the white man. I stood, absolutely baffled by both her actions and the collective silence of everyone in the bank as if this was a normal occurrence. As I called out to the manager and pointed out that the Ugandan lady was first, she ignored me and continued on with her tasks.
This was to be the first of many situations I witnessed of what I believe can be defined as ‘white privilege’ in East Africa a right earned through the continued domination of white supremacy.
Two weeks ago the media reported that the Kenyan Government have offered a free holiday to the family of a 15 year old American tourist who was ‘harassed by a police officer’ because he mistook her for terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite. If it was a Somali family holidaying in Kenya and their son been mistaken for Abu Ubaidah the new leader of Al-Shabaab would the same courtesy have been offered? I highly doubt it.
by Shane Thomas
“There is no racism in football… If you are good, you get the job… Football is not stupid to close doors to top people.” – Jose Mourinho
“The whole recruitment process needs to be more professional, more diverse, and equality-wise, fairer. We’ve struggled to do that.” – Gordon Taylor
One shouldn’t draw any kind of equivalence from these quotes, the former made last week and the…