Posts tagged racism

Ten years ago: United we Stand?

This is an article I wrote 10 years ago today, when I was just starting my journalism master’s degree at Columbia University. Each of us was assigned a New York neighbourhood as our “beat” – mine was Crown Heights in Brooklyn. I went out there and interviewed people on Eastern Parkway about their reactions to the upcoming one-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and discovered that their views were more nuanced than the flag-waving sentiment engulfing much of the nation at the time. It’s an article that means a… Read More

“Race and Racism in Britain” by John Solomos

I’m sure that for sociology students, this book is a very valuable text. It’s very methodical and thorough – it looks at its subject from every angle, and almost every paragraph contains at least one reference to a book in the large bibliography at the end. For me, though, the book was a bit of a struggle. Although I have often thought I would have liked a life in academia, to tell the truth I am not suited for it. I don’t like the dry, passive, non-committal tone, the judgements… Read More

Racial identification

Read a fascinating article in the Fall 2007 edition of the Du Bois Review. In an article “The New Latin Nation”, Alejandro Portes made the very interesing, and ironic, point that whereas in the past, much Mexican immigration to the US was cyclical, in the last few decades the tighter border controls have made it permanent. The controls are failing to stop people from coming in, but are making them less likely to go back. So they settle permanently, have families, move to different parts of the country. The article… Read More

Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis and freedom of speech

I went to see Salman Rushdie in conversation with Lisa Appignanesi at the Southbank Centre last night. I have never been a particular Rushdie fan, so was pleasantly surprised by his wit, intelligence and affability. He was talking mostly about his new book the Enchantress of Florence, and made me want to read it. I was struck mostly, though, by a comment he made right at the end, when he was asked by a member of the audience for his stand on the recent Martin Amis controversy. His answer was… Read More

Get in touch with your inner racist!

When I lived in New York, there was a small shop across the street that was owned by a man from Afghanistan. I used to visit him in the days after September 11, and he had a bewildered, beleaguered look about him. Business was slack, he said, and the few people who did still come into his store were often either cold or abusive. Whereas on September 10 he was the local newsagent, on September 11 he suddenly became a “Muslim”, and a national of an enemy country to boot…. Read More

“The Muslims are breeding”

It’s sad that there’s a site called “Islamophobia Watch.” Not, as its critics would argue, because there’s no such thing as Islamophobia and it’s all just political correctness gone mad, but because it shows that every day, several times a day, someone makes some flagrantly ignorant, racist attack on Muslims. And these attacks are published not in the fringe newsletters of right-wing nuts, but in mainstream newspapers and magazines. So it’s very sad that this site has to exist, but I’m glad that someone is drawing attention to this stuff…. Read More

Who’s your audience?

I love watching Chris Rock. He’s one of the few stand-up comedians who is pretty much guaranteed to make me laugh every time I watch him. However, watching Chris Rock videos on YouTube recently proved to be a very different experience from renting Chris Rock videos from Blockbuster. On YouTube, you get to see exactly what people are interested in. And that brings up important questions of who the audience is, and why exactly they are laughing. For example, you see that by far the most popular Chris Rock video,… Read More

Clueless

It’s become clear since I moved back to London that most white British people have absolutely no idea what racism is. They persist in lumping it together with any other form of name-calling, and denounce any attempt to clamp down on it as “political correctness.” A few examples from the last couple of days, although sadly I could have written this post at pretty much any time and had equally relevant examples to hand. First the BBC writes a piece of absolute garbage entitled “Is gingerism as bad as racism?”… Read More