Britain, are you ok hun? Today an all-new party looked like it was ready to shake up politics for all of about six hours. Seven MPs, including Chuka Umunna, have now stepped down from the Labour party to form an independent centrist group that has absolutely no policies. It does, however, have Angela Smith who says that life is “not just about being black or a funny tinge … you know, a different… from the BAME community”. Wow, what a great loss.
The country has been embroiled in a debate over Shamima Begum. With Britain paralysed by its fear of terrorism, accepting someone who fled London at the age of 15 to join ISIS is a tough pill to swallow for most. Begum has now given birth in a refugee camp and told Sky News: “I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through. You know, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left.” In the UK a 15-year-old is not deemed able to consent to sex, to vote, or to drink alcohol, so it seems bizarre to not make any attempt to rehabilitate a young teenager who was groomed. Still, many view her as a terrorist sympathiser who poses a threat to the UK.
Think that Isis girl is cheeky.
— GHANA’S FINEST (@Ghanasfinestx) February 15, 2019
Here’s what else went down in the last week.
10-year-old boy traumatised after discovering “no blacks” graffiti on his front door
Salford was the scene of a horrific hate crime this week that left a 10-year-old boy and his dad “traumatised”. Solicitor, Jackson Yamba had recently moved his son to Salford from Glasgow five days before when discovered graffiti reading “No Blacks, No Blacks” on the door of their flat in the morning on February 8.
He posted a photo of the graffiti to Twitter after reporting the hate crime and it took Greater Manchester Police nine days to respond.
My front door in Salford was painted over a week ago with this abhorrent racist graffiti – after reporting it to @gmpolice they still haven’t been here to investigate. How do I assure my traumatised 10 year old that he is safe in his home? @BBCBreaking @RLong_Bailey @guardian pic.twitter.com/WjGEz9rT7e
— Jackson Yamba (@JacksonYamba) February 16, 2019
Speaking to gal-dem soon after the police left his house on February 17, Jackson said: “I am quite concerned that if it wasn’t for the tweet, the police would not have been here today. It was the tweet which really alerted the police to this problem, that’s quite shocking. What about people who don’t have access to Twitter and social media?”
The father and son are both British, and said this was “the first time in our lives we have experienced something so appalling and abhorrent”, which has now made them feel “uncomfortable” in their own home.
Jackson has lived in Salford for six years but moved into a new flat closeby to accommodate his son. He said that all of his neighbours are white but he’d never experienced any issues before this, saying “I feel uncomfortable now but not all of them are the same, there are many nice people”.
Both feel more reassured now the police are involved and will decide whether to stay in their flat depending on the outcome of the investigation. Police are reviewing CCTV footage.
Young people strike for climate change
On Friday, thousands of kids skipped school to make a stand for climate change.UK Student Climate Network mobilised the largest youth movement (15,000 across the UK) calling for “the Government declare a state of climate emergency and communicates the severity of the ecological crisis to the general public,” Jake Woodier, of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, told gal-dem.
He explained there was some “mistreatment of demonstrators by the police”, saying “It should be concerning for all of society that peaceful protesters, most of which are young students and likely embarking on their first demonstration have been treated in such a way for trying to make their voice heard to protect the environment, and fight for their very own futures.”
So many good images doing the rounds of the #YouthStrike4Climate.
— Leo Hickman (@LeoHickman) February 15, 2019
Following the peaceful protest, despite much support, Jake explained that “some attention has been dismissive, and in some cases has tried to trivialize young people’s understanding of the climate crisis by attempting to present students taking action as truants, rather than giving them the respect they deserve.”
In fact, lots of reactions were extremely patronising. The elders of our society, including crypt keeper Theresa May and her Tory cronies, criticised protestors for skipping school because staying in education is a way to invest in their futures. Yet Conservatives have failed young people, ruining their chances of stable adulthood. And, Jake said that “the response feels tired, and smacks of a short-sighted approach to climate change.”
Jake added: “The disruption to education yesterday, and in future actions will pale in comparison to what we will observe as the climate crisis unfolds in the years and decades to come. Without appropriate and immediate action now, there won’t be a future to look forward to.”
A second protest will be held in the UK on March 15 which Jake says they hope will be “even bigger”.
- A petition to allow people non-binary people to identify outside of “male” and “female” on legal documentation has been started by the Editor of FRUITCAKE Magazine, Jamie Windust. So far it has received just over 4,000 signatures.
Non-Binary Petition Thread: After having personal experiences of trying to get a new passport and not being able to self-identify, it made me feel dysphoric and upset, so I reached out to other people who have had similar instances and it was harrowing to hear the ways in which –
— Jamie Windust (@fabjamiefab) February 16, 2019
- A CBBC show about a British Chinese family, Living with the Lams, is being largely authored by non-East Asian writers. British East Asians in Theatre and on Screen (BEATS) claims the network hired a Chinese writer to work as a “cultural consultant” which is obviously insufficient.
- Vogue Brazil’s white director, Donata Meirelles, has resigned after coming under fire for evoking colonial depictions of slavery in photos from her 50th birthday.
- Spain’s second-largest bank, BBVA, has been accused of racism after freezing the bank accounts of hundreds of Chinese customers without warning, resulting in Chinese citizens protesting outside their office in Madrid.
- A mixed-race woman was accused of “racism against white people” in Bristol by nightclub cloakroom staff after she said “all the guys here are white and I can’t tell them apart”.
- India is mourning at least 40 paramilitary police who died in the horrific suicide bomb in Kashmir on Thursday Feb 14.
- An event called “White Women Yoga” set up by Pat Brown from Maryland on the platform Meetup has been removed. Brown wrote in a blog post that the app “promotes separatism and racism”, claiming she has been locked out of other communities for being white.
- A Universal Hip Hop Museum will open in 2023 in the Bronx, New York.
- Rape charity Rape Crisis has been bombarded with racist phone calls from Tommy Robinson supporters after a photo of its flyer offering help to victims from BAME backgrounds was posted on Facebook.
- David Lammy spoke about the 56 Black Men project attempting to challenge the stereotype that people who wear hoods are inherently scary or criminal.
Moment of the week
‘I can’t say my mum really enjoys that video,’ @ajtracey
He says the video for his single Psyche Out – with strippers – was shot in Atlanta and reflects the culture there.
He’s just released his self-titled debut album – without the help of a traditional record label. pic.twitter.com/mYXfQmZKcy
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) February 12, 2019
This interview with AJ Tracey on Victoria Derbyshire was an absolute shambles