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Race Review: All the news from this week that wasn’t about the royals

19 May 2018

The phrase “bread and circuses” has summed up how easy it is to distract people for around two millennia. In its essence, it describes how it takes nothing more than a satiated appetite, so “bread”, and entertainment “circuses” to distract the masses from their political responsibility or the negative actions of government.

In 2018, pop culture is both the circus and the sustenance we crave for. A fresh Kim Kardashian controversy around appetite-suppressing lollipops is a loaf, the contestants on Love Island are the dancing elephants. Last week, Donald Glover perfectly displayed the dichotomy between life’s dangers and distractions in his powerful visual for ‘This is America’. Fittingly, this week a white woman then tried to distract us from its racially charged message with a cheap and reductive parody entitled ‘women’s edit’, in which she rapped about breastfeeding and date rape.

Meanwhile, actors at Cannes are trying to use the world’s idle gaze to make bold statements about the dark political mood, but a new audio internet mystery has been trending instead. It’s both Laurel and Yanny by the way. And as Royal Wedding fever kicks in, the streets have been cleared of the homeless, and there’s probably a lot of news you haven’t seen.


On Monday we were all looking at the shiny outfits that graced Cannes Film Festival’s red carpet, or Ivanka Trump’s smile as she opened the new US embassy in Jerusalem. US and Israeli leaders hailed the embassy move as a sign of the enduring relationship between the two countries, while American officials said it could create an honest foundation for an eventual peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

However, as many as 60 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army while they protested the contentious American presence. More than 2700 people were injured after troops opened fire on demonstrators along the 40-mile border. Hollywood actor Benicio del Toro demonstrated at Palestinian pavillion, while Palestinian filmmaker, Annemarie Jacir, addressed a crowd saying: “Today, we stand here in solidarity with the people who have lost their lives and loved ones. I want everyone to hold hands and show that we have a human connection with each other and resist being dehumanised and silenced.”

This is just one of the powerful protests at the film festival so far. On Saturday, Cate Blanchett led 82 Hollywood stars, women directors, producers and scriptwriters to demand equal pay and status in the industry. Similarly, Wednesday saw 16 black and mixed race actresses take to the carpet to denounce everyday racism in the French industry, and the prejudice they have suffered from directors and casting agents.


There are no words. 64-year-old Judah Adunbi who worked as a race relations officer for Bristol police was tasered in the face by a police sergeant from the same force. Claire Boddie, 47, has been cleared of unlawfully tasering him after she claimed she mistook him for a suspect and acted in self defense.

During the encounter, Boddie told Adunbi he looked “familiar”. There was a scuffle and Mr Adunbi fell to the floor after the Taser bar hit him in the jaw. He was a member of the force’s independent advisory group which raises policing matters which could cause the public concern.

She said the suspect she had been looking for had a warning for violence and weapons, so was concerned Adunbi had keys in his hand. Adunbi has actually been mistaken for this man before and after the altercation.


  • US State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is being hailed the #MeToo “movement’s biggest betrayal” after Harvard-educated activist writer Tanya Selvaratnam, of Sri Lankan heritage, spoke out about how he used to call her his “brown slave” and slap her until she called him “master”. Schneiderman is New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer and has taken an active role in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, suing Harvey Weinstein.
  • Guns N’ Roses have removed the song ‘One in a Million’ from a forthcoming reissue of their album Appetite for Destruction because of the racist and homophobic lyrics. It features the lyrics: “Police and niggers, that’s right / Get outta my way / Don’t need to buy none of your gold chains today.”
  • The Conservative party are under pressure to take action over councillor Rosemary Carroll’s racist Facebook post where she compared an Asian man to a dog

  • The effect of US police violence on people of colour is becoming evermore tangible after a new study estimates more than 100,000 years of life were lost in 2015 and 2016.