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This week the Goldsmiths occupation gets hostile, and can you swirl if they don’t like ‘black people’s places’?

22 Jul 2019

Donald Trump’s words have sparked a ripple effect making it trendy to tell people of colour to “go back” to where they came from. At one of his rallies, the crowd chanted “send her back”, then African American lawyer Erica Thomas said she was told to “go back where you came from” by a middle-aged white man in Georgia, while a Tim Hortons employee in Michigan told a Muslim couple to return to their country

Despite his obvious malice, a Yale psychiatrist has basically said the president is using racism as a form of wellness, blurting out obscenities as a coping mechanism for his mental state which they say is deteriorating. I think they’re giving him too much credit. 

Meanwhile, Trump attempted to win some black points by “personally vouching” for A$AP Rocky’s bail in Sweden. The jury is still out on whether this will curry favour with black voters since this is the same rapper who remains purposefully silent on police brutality. “I don’t wanna talk about no fucking Ferguson and shit because I don’t live over there! I live in fucking Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate,” he said. “I’m in the studio; I’m in these fashion studios; I’m in these bitches’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life.” Well now he’s behind bars.

Justin Bieber wants Trump to get his priorities in order, he has requested that the president doesn’t forget about the children in cages who are being held in detention centres at the Mexican border. 

Here’s what else went down this week.

If you don’t like being in ‘black people’s places’, should you date black people?

An unnamed white woman said she would not go to Caribbean food chain, Rum Kitchen, by herself to meet her Tinder date because she was “nearly the only white person there” last time she went. 

She explained to her 32-year-old date Nicky Sowemimo, a black man, that she “doesn’t like to go to black people’s places”. Naturally, Nicky called off the date immediately. 

Nicky’s sister, gal-dem columnist Annabel Sowemimo, who posted the messages to Twitter, told said she was surprised at people justifying the white woman after the post went viral. She explained: “What has been alarming is the number of black people that have tried to justify these disturbing messages. Racism doesn’t need to be overt. We have to recognise that a lot of people want to see the best in people, absolve them of racism and this lack of accountability reinforces this behaviour. A black person not wanting to be in predominantly white spaces is not based on the same preconceptions.”

People of colour navigate white spaces every day, enduring the layers of racial prejudice and inequality that come along with it. The comfort of these situations is rarely examined, while many white people actively avoid non-white spaces, or, like this white woman, express feeling unsafe. It goes to show that dating PoC doesn’t mean you can’t hold prejudices towards them (like we’ve been trying to tell you).

Goldsmiths University anti-racist student occupation threatened with police and bailiffs 

The Goldsmiths Anti Racist Action (GAMA) – the first occupation to be led by students of colour – has been threatened with court action by the university’s Senior Management Team (SMT). The BAME students, who have been occupying Deptford Town Hall since 12 March, have been told they must leave by 8am on Monday 21 July.

Fiona, a media student, explained to gal-dem that an alleged hate crime directed towards a candidate in the SU elections was the trigger for the occupation. “Racist slogans drawn on her posters, banners torn down. But the hate crime reporting centre didn’t want to do anything about it.”

The SMT previously brought external security forces to lock down the town hall during the occupation’s first week. Nishat Seema from GAMA told gal-dem: “Having our safe space threatened – especially when SMT are reluctant to confirm their commitment for open access to DTH for the local community – meant that a lot of our occupiers were distressed by the thought of being forcefully removed.”

The university has shown zero sensitivity over the racialised context of police brutality, specifically towards black people. “It is evident that Goldsmiths does not serve the same capacity of care to its students of the colour as it does its white students,” Nishat said.

You can read gal-dem’s full report from inside the occupation here.


• The trailer has been released for Farming, a new film directed by actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje about his life growing up as a fostered Nigerian boy in 1980s England.

• Thousands of protesters marched in Puerto Rico, demanding the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló after homophobic and sexist text messages between him and his aides were leaked.

• In news that feels like it belongs in 1919, Polish conservative newspaper Gazeta Polska has said it will distribute discriminatory “LGBT-free zone” stickers with its next issue.

40.3 million people were living in conditions of slavery in 2018, most of them women, according to the latest report by the Walk Free Initiative. This comes as New Hampshire Rep. Werner Horn said he doesn’t think American slavery was racist. SOS.

• The James Bond franchise has finally come through, and the next 007 will be Lashana Lynch, a black woman. Let’s hope they write her character free of racial stereotypes and clichés. 

Miss England contestant Aysha Khan, a practising Muslim, is the first to wear a wetsuit instead of a bikini and made the top 20 finalists.

• The Centre for Entrepreneurs has launched a pilot scheme to provide new business start-up training for refugees in the UK.

• A Maryland female police officer was filmed calling a group of black men the n-word, using the excuse that she was only copying their language. 

• The new Apple iOS will allow users to vary the skin tone of emojis with two or more people.

• Black Brits rejoice! Netflix has cancelled She’s Gotta Have It after two seasons. gal-dem wrote about how the series exemplified how ignorant “diaspora wars” take place beyond black Twitter.

Moment of the week

Do you ever daydream about creating the next iconic teen comedy with Issa Rae? You now have that opportunity as she, along with Paul Feig, are seeking the next great script “that tells the teen experience in 2020”. They’re in the market for underrepresented writers with fresh and inclusive perspectives.Apply here!

This article is a part of gal-dem’s Race Review column, a weekly news roundup centring the issues faced by people of colour.