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All the news you need to read this week

09 Jan 2019

The Lifetime six-part documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, details the harrowing personal accounts of the R&B legend’s alleged sex slaves. It’s upsetting. It’s disgusting. Yet, if there is one thing that is obvious from the documentary it’s that his manipulation and the molestation was so explicit, those around him must have seen something. So why did it take until now for investigators to reopen the case? It goes some way to making you think that the prejudice against young black women is what helped protect him for so long and that ultimately the police and his supporters believed that young black girls don’t need protecting.

The world seems ready to call a spade a spade: R. Kelly is toxic. And, newsflash, Donald Trump is a racist. New democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said there is “no question” about that in an interview with CBS News. The outspoken congresswoman has just been sworn in as the youngest ever, and she’s already established herself as a force to be reckoned with – in politics and dance. Seeing a politician express actual joy was refreshing and made me realise sometimes good things happen. Like Sandra Oh becoming the first Asian woman in over 40 years to receive a major TV award at the Golden Globes, or Cyntoia Brown, an alleged sex trafficking victim from Tennessee being granted clemency after being jailed for 15 years for the murder of her sexual abuser.

Here’s all the race-related news you might have missed this week.

Beijing furthers campaign to ‘sinicize’ ethnic Muslims with new law

China’s aggressive campaign against Uyghur Muslims in the country continues as a new law is passed dictating the way Islam can be practised. China’s most popular English newspaper, The Global Times, writes that the legal measure has been enacted “to guide Islam to be compatible with socialism and implement measures to Sinicize the religion”. To Sinicize means to make Chinese in character or form. The new report regarding the law does not detail how it will be implemented, but China’s government-backed Islamic Association is developing a five-year plan for the sinicization of Islam. The plan will focus on requiring mosques to uphold “core values of socialism, traditional culture, laws, and regulations”, the association’s president Yang Faming said.

There have been continued harrowing reports of the “re-education camps” where roughly a million Uyghurs are allegedly forced and tortured. It seems it is not only the Uyghur Muslims being targeted by the government as Hui Muslims, but China’s largest Muslim population are also now being attacked. Last month Chinese authorities in the province of Yunnan forcibly evicted Hui Muslims from three mosques. Beijing is allowing “cultural genocide” to take place, as described by U.S.-based Muslim student activist Sulaiman Gu, using the threat from Islamic extremism and separatism as its excuse. It looks as if the Chinese government is not going to stop at Islam either. Beijing demands control over all faiths practised in its country.

White drug dealers spared jail because of their perfect ‘spelling and grammar’

Blatant bias ruling rears its white middle-class head in UK courts this week as a pair of drug dealers avoid jail due to their impressive “spelling and grammar” in text messages arranging weed deals. Sounds about white. It’s very unlikely that this would happen if they were black. Yet, 19-year-old Luke Rance and 21-year-old Brandon Kerrison walk free out of court, and a compliment.

The Welsh drug dealers were found with several bags of weed and a small amount of cocaine, and police reportedly uncovered over £1,200 worth of weed from Rance’s bedroom. They both appeared at Swansea Crown Court this week where Judge David Hale examined texts between the dealers and customers, remarking that their “grammar and punctuation” was a higher standard than most drug dealers.

“Spelling and grammar” is a code-word for the privilege. They’ve had the right kind of education, they have talents outside of crime, so he decided they are undeserving of punishment.

As their freedom was being granted, it’s painful to think about the number of black and brown men of the same age and potential who are being sent to jail for the same crimes. They’re at least twice as likely as their white counterparts to be charged for possession of weed, as we know from LSE’s significant 2013 report. It really brings into question whether anyone should be prosecuted for dealing weed at all.


  • Anti-racism campaigners held a vigil in Kent welcoming refugees to the UK in response to the hyperbolically-named “immigration crisis” we are experiencing.
  • Lil Pump removes racist lyrics from Butterfly Doors which read:  “They call me Yao Ming, cause my eyes real low, ching chong.”
  • Parents of mixed race children in Bristol have created a community initiative to exchange hair-tips for those who don’t know how to manage mixed race hair.
  • Continuing issues of racism in football are clear as former Inter and Sampdoria striker Samuel Eto’o claimed black coaches are put off because they’re viewed as “second class citizens”. Before Christmas, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was recently subjected to monkey chants against Inter.
  • A black family-of-four who were racially profiled and mistreated by police in a Canadian suburb south of Montreal should be paid $86k in compensation, Quebec human rights commission says.
  • A Canadian barber shop that was vandalised with graffiti saying “Kill Muslims” and “Kill Lebs” along with a swastika is holding a community event to unite against racism. Owner Jesse Lipscombe said: “Barbershops, in general, are the place where you go and talk about everything from politics to family, the kids, the dogs and you want to keep that same feel.”

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