‘Turnbull, take your words back’: South Sudanese plead for racism to stop
Australia’s South Sudanese community reaches out to prime minister in new video in bid to end vilification.
High school student Elizabeth Gai says she wants to be a doctor one day. Ashar Anyar is studying criminology and aspires to become a lawyer.
The two South Sudanese-Australian women have big dreams, but first, they just want to be heard.
“We need our politicians and our leaders to know that we are affected by their statements,” Anyar, 24, told Guardian Australia this week at the launch of a new video highlighting racism directed towards the South Sudanese-Australian community.
Created by prominent Australian film and TV producer Richard Keddie and Anglican bishop Philip Huggins, Please Stop features South Sudanese community members relating their experiences of dealing with racism.
With the Victorian election looming, Keddie said he hoped the video reassured the South Sudanese community that “there are a lot of people on their side”.
While Anyar and Gai want their voices heard, others said they hoped politicians would reach out to them rather than attack their community over youth crime.
Last month, Soma was on the way to the Please Stop video shoot in the Melbourne suburb of Albert Park when he stopped to fill up his car. As he stood at the bowser, he was racially abused by a man. Soma said the man aggressively waved the petrol nozzle in his direction.
“I blamed myself because I didn’t wear my clerical collar,” Soma told Guardian Australia.
9 shootings in 50 days: Italy’s ugly face of racism
A string of alleged or openly racist attacks on minorities in Italy has fueled a debate about whether the country has a growing problem with racism and xenophobia. Ylenia Gostoli reports from Rome.
The shot fired from an air gun that disrupted the tranquility of a tree-lined provincial road in the central Italian city of Forlì in early July was met with disbelief by those who initially didn’t pick up on it — not everyone in the city pays much attention to local events. The first to be taken by surprise was Hugues Messou, a 34-year-old of Ivorian who had been heading home on his bike when the shot hit him in the abdomen.
Having lived in the city for more than 10 years, Messou never knew it as a dangerous or hostile place, despite the occasional racist remark thrown at him.
“The car stopped for a few seconds ahead of me,” he told DW, “but I couldn’t see exactly who was inside. It was at least two people, around 30-years old, maybe older.” He filed a report at the local police station the following day. There are cameras about 200 meters down the road from the location of the incident.
“It was late at night, and it happened twice in the space of two days,” Messou said. “Whoever did it left the house with the intention of shooting a black person.”
The local police department has in the meantime responded to DW’s request for comment and confirmed that an investigation into Messou’s case is ongoing.
Two days before Messou’s shooting, a Nigerian woman had been hit by a pellet fired from a scooter on a nearby street, but had not reported the incident.
“I was talking about what happened to me at the local bar, and that’s when it came up,” Messou said. “If they’re using guns, that’s worrying.”
In the past 50 days, at least nine people belonging to ethnic minorities have been reported shot and wounded across Italy. Eight of the attacks were carried out with BB guns — air-propelled guns whose round, metal bullets can nevertheless lead to serious injuries — and one with live bullets. One of the incidents involved a one-year-old Roma child who was shot in the back in Rome. The shooter, a government employee, would later tell police he had fired to “test the gun.”
On June 11, two Malian refugees living in a reception center near Naples told local media they’d been shot at from a passing car while its occupants shouted slogans in support of Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister and leader of the far-right League party.
A month later in Latina, a city south of Rome, two Nigerians were hit by BB gunshots fired from a passing car. The perpetrators were later identified and reported to the police for bodily injury with the aggravating circumstance of racial discrimination.
In the same city at the end of July a man of Cape Verdean origins was hit in the back by a shot fired from a balcony while he was working on a scaffolding. Local media reported that the man responsible later told investigators he’d meant to hit a pigeon.
And in Naples earlier this month, a 32-year-old Senegalese street vendor, was shot at three times by two people on a scooter, this time with live bullets. One of the bullets hit him, fracturing his thighbone. A further shooting was reported in Pistoia, Tuscany, where two 13-year-old youngsters shot blanks at a Gambian man. Upon being identified by police, they claimed the act had just been a prank and “not racially or politically motivated.”
Serge Diomande is a member of the local council’s citizens’ committee in Forlì and chairman of Anolf, the National Association Beyond Borders. The Ivorian, who has lived in Italy for nearly 10 years and works as a warehouse keeper, says it’s hard to ignore what happened.
“Until [those responsible] are caught, we will always be in doubt,” he told DW. “We want to know who and why. This never happened here before. Forlì has always been a very open city,” he said. “Political parties shouldn’t play with migration. It’s like playing with Italian culture.”
Since taking up office on June 1, the coalition government, which comprises the far-right League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, has been turning away boats rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean. Salvini also announced he would speed up deportations of illegal migrants.
The government has responded to accusations that its policies and rhetoric stoke up fears and legitimize violence by denying there is a problem. According to Salvini, racism is “an invention of the left.”
Sports stars tackle racism amid Australia’s ‘African gang’ claims
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When Australian rules footballer Aliir Aliir kicked the winning goal for the Sydney Swans in a critical match last month, it was a special moment for the 23-year-old. But it was the sight of him walking off the pitch arm-in-arm with opponent Majak Daw, a fellow Sudanese refugee, that he hoped people remembered most. “Majak is a good mate,” said Mr Aliir, a 6ft 4in defender, whose physical presence has energized the Swans this year. “Who would have ever thought that two Africans could be playing the top sport in a different country?
It shows we can come to Australia and make a difference. We can be role models.” Sudanese people are one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in Australia, which resettled thousands of refugees following a brutal civil war in Sudan between 1983 and 2005, which led to 2m deaths. But positive depictions of Australia’s 45,000-strong Sudanese community are hard to find in the media, which has focused relentlessly this year on crime committed by “African gangs”.
The campaign was sparked by Peter Dutton, Australia’s home affairs minister, who alleged in January that people were too scared to go to restaurants in Melbourne because they were “followed home by African gangs”.
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He vowed to deport or jail perpetrators — and his comments were backed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, despite ridicule on social media. It is part of a wider debate about immigration, which some blame for pushing up house prices, traffic congestion and eroding traditional values. This debate exploded on the floor of the parliament this week when one senator called for “a final solution to the immigration problem” — an apparent reference to the Nazi era. Many migrants said the uptick in inflammatory rhetoric risked undermining social cohesion in the country, where more than a quarter of residents were born abroad. “It’s unfair,” said Mr Aliir, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp to South Sudanese parents. The family moved to Australia in 2005. “I read it on Twitter and all you hear is Sudanese gang this and that and all Africans should be deported,” he added. “That hurts me because I’m an African and I’m sure it hurts others. African communities are hurting because of what is said in the media, which is untrue. This is a small group of kids who do this and Australian kids are doing the same thing.”
Is Trump a racist? You don’t need an n-word tape to know
If you think a racial slur is the only way to determine if the president is racist, you haven’t been paying attention, and you don’t understand what racism is.
Omarosa Manigault Newman — who once declared that “every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump” — evolved from mentee to frenemy to antagonist before her nonstop media blitz promoting her new post-White House tell-all, during which she’s touted the existence of a recording of Trump using the n-word. It’s all sent the White House scrambling, with the president tweeting Monday that “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have.” Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday she “can’t guarantee” Americans will never hear audio of Trump using the slur.
It doesn’t matter.
Trump is a racist. That doesn’t hinge on whether he uttered one particular epithet, no matter how ugly it is. It’s about the totality of his presidency, and after 18 months you can see his racial animus throughout his policy initiatives whether you hear it on tape or not.
Over the course of his career, well before he took office, Trump’s antipathy toward people of color has been plainly evident. In the ’70s, his real estate company was the subject of a federal investigation that found his employees had secretly marked the paperwork of minority apartment rental applicants with codes such as “C” for “colored.” After black and Latino teenagers were charged with sexually assaulting a white woman in Central Park, he took out full-page ads in New York City newspapers calling for the return of the death penalty. He never backtracked or apologized when the teenagers’ convictions were overturned. He championed birtherism, and wouldn’t disavow the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya until the end of his 2016 presidential campaign.
Aretha Franklin’s Regal Rebellion Against Racism
The late Queen of Soul was “a black woman with no qualms about projecting that blackness to the world in all of its nuanced beauty,” writes Stereo Williams.
Aretha Franklin became a Queen in American culture at a time when black people were still fighting to be recognized as people and as citizens. That contradiction defines the American experience for black folks—we’re the most imitated, duplicated and venerated, yet remain so underrated. Inasmuch as her songs became feminist anthems for all women, and as much as she embodied a major cultural shift for all women, Aretha was a black woman. A black woman who didn’t coo cutely or present herself as an ingénue in the age of Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick; a black woman who didn’t trust anyone to tell her story for her; and a black woman who didn’t dismiss or downplay the realities of racism even as her career seemed to put her above the fray.
Her work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. via her father Rev. C.L. Franklin indicated that Aretha understood completely what was at stake for black Americans very early on, and she never lost that. In her own career, she broke barriers (becoming the first black entertainer to grace the cover of TIMEmagazine in 1968, playing that legendary show at San Francisco’s rock-centric Fillmore West in 1971) while also offering support—both vocal, ideological and financial—to those on the front lines of “the struggle,” from her father’s assistance to the Black Panthers to Aretha’s offer to post bail for Angela Davis. But in the telling of her story, a lot can get lost. One of the great conflicts of black art is controlling the narrative—and Aretha fought to make sure no one could get their hands on hers.
Toni Kroos calls Mesut Özil’s claims of racism around Germany team ‘nonsense’
Toni Kroos has criticised his former Germany teammate Mesut Özil for the way he announced his international retirement over claims of racism, which the Real Madrid midfielder called “nonsense”.
Özil announced he would no longer be playing for the national in July after Joachim Löw’s Germany crashed out of the World Cup group stage. He said he had faced “racism and disrespect” because of his Turkish roots.
“Basically Mesut is a deserved international and as a player he deserved a better departure,” Kroos told Bild newspaper in an interview published on Thursday. “But the way he resigned was not in order.”
Özil, 29, was a key member of Germany’s World Cup-winning side in 2014 and was voted by fans as the team’s player of the year five times since 2011. But the Arsenal midfielder faced a barrage of criticism at home for having his photograph taken with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May and for his performances at the World Cup in Russia.
In his resignation statement last month, Özil also accused the German Football Association of failing to back him in the row over the photo. German fans jeered him and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gündoğan, who is also of Turkish descent and posed with Erdoğan, during World Cup warm-up games in May.
“The parts in his statement that are rightly addressed are unfortunately overshadowed by the significantly higher amount of nonsense,” Kroos said. “I think he knows very well that racism within the national team and the DFB does not exist.”
Germany’s elimination from the World Cup was their earliest exit from the tournament in 80 years, and Özil felt he was scapegoated for their unsuccessful title defence.
In his statement, Özil wrote: “In the eyes of [German FA president Reinhard] Grindel and his supporters I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”
Kroos, 28, said he had no plans to follow Özil into international retirement:“I will continue towards Euro 2020 and have set myself the goal of being far more successful there than in the recent past.
“I had a good talk with Joachim Löw. “We will find solutions together so that I can get a break here and there. For me that’s the only way and I am thankful for Jogi’s understanding.”
BBC star RESIGNS from charity over ‘racist and misogynist’ Boris Johnson
Author and BBC broadcaster Natalie Haynes has stepped down from her role at Classics for All, a charity which teaches the subject in state primary and secondary schools.
Haynes accused Johnson of “helping to create an environment in which hate crime is more likely”.
The former Foreign Secretary is currently being investigated by the Tory party for comparing Muslim women wearing the full veil to “letter boxes” and bank robbers.
In a resignation letter obtained by BuzzFeed, Haynes wrote: “I’m sorry to have to be writing this, but I don’t feel able to stay on as a patron of a charity which offers Boris Johnson the slightest veneer of respectability.
“I appreciate that the Board members wish to discuss it, and I’ve no doubt August is a difficult time to bring everyone together.
“That’s one of the many disadvantages of having a dog-whistling racist and misogynist as a patron: you never know when they’ll next spew their hate-mongering remarks.”
Johnson recently received backing from the BNP over his comments.
The party released a statement praising Johnson – who has refused to apologise – for “styling himself on the new model” established by US President Donald Trump.
It read: “Could it be that Boris has not only taken to heart the President’s endorsement, but also a queue from his unorthodox, straight-talking populist rhetoric?
“Along with the populist nationalist politics that sweeping the West, a new type of politicians is beginning to emerge.
“One that puts the interests of the people first before that of the globalist paymasters.”
Daily Star Online approached Johnson and Haynes for comment.
Montreal to hold public meetings on racism
The Canadian city of Montreal will solicit public opinion on the extent of racism after 20,000 residents signed a petition calling for consultations, according to reports Friday.
The city confirmed the 15,000-signature threshold had been achieved that, under municipal bylaw, forces the city to act on a petition.
The petition calls for the consultations to look at “the problems and the barriers, like the under-representation of racial and ethnic diversity in employment and in nominations to municipal and (municipality-created) organizations.”
Montreal, in the province of Quebec, is the second largest city in Canada and ranks eighth in North America, with a population around 1.7 million. About a third of city residents were born in other countries.
A Canadian Broadcast Company study in 2016 showed that despite the large number of visible minorities, they only make up 11 percent of the workforce.
Montreal in Action, the group that spurred the petition, and its spokesperson Balarama Holness said gathering the signatures in a 90-day period was comparatively easy.
“The real work begins now,” he said Friday in a press release to Canadian media. “This public consultation’s success and impact depends on the collaboration of organizations, leaders, academics and citizens from across the city.”
Holness said to fully explore the extent of systemic racism and discrimination in Montreal it will be necessary for individuals to come forward during consultations, even if some find it uncomfortable.
“I think this consultation will be a safe place where people can feel secure and come to voice their experiences,” he said. “Even if you haven’t experienced racial profiling, housing discrimination or (aggression) in the workplace, being cognizant of these (situations), we want these people to come to the table and support and supply solutions.”
It was not known when the consultations will begin.
Montreal is a diversified city with more than half the population French-speaking. Canada is an officially bilingual country of French and English but the official language in Quebec is French. Muslims make up about 6 percent, or 154,000 of Montreal’s population, Chinese 92,000 and 36,000 Jewish.
The Quebec government passed a law last year that would force anyone wearing a face covering to remove it while using or giving public services, such as riding a bus.
The law has been in limbo since a judge ordered a stay, ruling it could cause irreparable harm to Muslim women and that the law violates the freedoms guaranteed by Quebec and the Canadian charters of rights.
Charlottesville one year on: Cauldron of racism is still seething
On the first anniversary of the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally, Trump continues to fan the flames of American racism.
One year has passed since the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which Nazis, neo-Confederates, Ku Klux Klansmen and others engaged in acts of violence, resulting in a man ramming his car into a crowd of antiracist protesters, killing one woman. The gathering of white supremacists, however shocking, was a reminder of the ubiquity and normalisation of racism in the US. The proliferation of right-wing domestic terrorists, acts of racial violence and the promulgation of government policies intended to harm racial, ethnic and religious minorities are evidence that the US has failed to come to terms with its original sin of slavery and genocide.
The tiki-torch-wielding white nationalists in Charlottesville were unabashed in their extremist hate, as they chanted such curious and offensive slogans as “You Will Not Replace Us”, “Jews Will Not Replace Us”, “Blood and Soil” and “Russia is Our Friend”. President Donald Trump, who refused to condemn the hate groups and their violence, made false equivalencies between the Nazi demonstrators and the antifascist counter-demonstrators. He defended the white supremacists – who happen to be the greatest domestic terror threat in the country – and claimed, “You had some very fine people on both sides”. Since the election of a man who incited racial violence in his campaign rallies, Islamophobic, anti-Latinx and other hate crimes have increased.
Trump, who has pandered to white supremacists, enjoyed their support in the 2016 election and received Nazi salutes upon his victory, and has kept their donations for the 2020 race, has constructed a government for the benefit of white Americans. The red baseball caps inscribed with the Trumpian motto “Make America Great Again” are akin to “this generation’s Ku Klux Klan hood”, as rapper Pusha-T has suggested. “When was America so great anyways? Name that time period?” he said.
After Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, the US experienced a white racial backlash against the browning of the nation, a revanchist yearning for the pre-1960s glory days when white men reigned supreme and black people knew their place and had no rights – paving the way for Trump. And the barnstorming reality-show swindler has weaponised his inflammatory rhetoric and offensive tweets, using his executive power over the government to codify white supremacist sentiments into law.
In a nation of “white fragility”, white people who are thin-skinned and insulated from discomfort on racial issues shudder when confronted with their racism. The US has always been a nation in which racism and white-skin privilege are normalised. However, in recent years white racists have been empowered, made to feel comfortable with open displays of racial hostility and toxic behaviour. Meanwhile, a segment of the white US is aggrieved, believing they are “victims of genocide” through immigration, sanctuary cities, civil rights and programs of diversity and inclusion.
Trump dehumanised Latin American and black immigrants by characterising them as criminals, people from “sh***ole countries” who are sending “not their best people”. The separation of migrant children from their parents at the border and placement in internment camps is a prime example of the Trump administration’s foray into fascism and genocide. Some of these children may never be reunited with their families and will forever be traumatised, which apparently was the point of the measure.
Using the courts as a tool to promote a whites-only nation, Trump has sought nearly exclusively white conservative men for the judiciary. The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court has led more than 100 organisations to write a letter to senators opposing his confirmation due to his hostility towards civil and human rights. Civil rights groups also rejected the US Department of Justice religious liberty taskforce, which critics condemn as white Christian nationalism and a civil liberties violation, with Islamophobia and anti-LGBTQ discrimination disguised as protections for people of faith.
Stormzy’s scholarships aren’t racist. They’re about tackling racism
Stormzy will be funding four scholarships for Black students ‘from underprivileged or disadvantaged’ backgrounds to attend Cambridge. This news has quite rightly been met with praise and celebration. There has also, however, been a strong backlash against Stormzy, and the scheme.
White people are upset; they have been excluded, apparently. Many are asking what the reaction would be if a white person was to fund such a scheme exclusively for white people – as if this was totally unheard of. Amongst other examples, only last year Oxford launched a scheme for white working-class British boys.
Such reactions reveal a deep ignorance to the histories of anti-Black racism and the structural inequalities that continue to pattern our societies. It has not been necessary to provide scholarships for white people, because, along racial lines, white people have been systematically advantaged in all areas, including education.
The backlash we have seen relies on the erasure of all of this wider, historically rooted, context. Such erasure feeds the misguided assumption that we live in a racially equitable society. It is under these fantastical conditions – in ‘a culture of racial equivalence’, as the sociologist Miri Song puts it – that Stormzy’s attempt to redress racial inequity, can be imagined as ‘racist’.
But the Stormzy scholarships cannot be understood in abstraction from the socio-historical realities that inspired them. The reality is a situation in which several Cambridge colleges admitted fewer than 10 Black British students over a 5-year period, a problem also manifest at other (so-called) ‘elite’ institutions like Oxford (it would be interesting to see how many of those that do attain an offer, come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds). Although this should be more than enough justification for the scholarships, it is only a small part of the picture.
Black young people face a range of racialised challenges that systemically impede their paths to institutions like Cambridge. From the racialised miseducation provided in schools to the over-policing of Black communities, state institutions make the path to academic success a difficult one for Black young people. When compounded by poverty and deprivation – which both disproportionately effect Black people it is – the path becomes ever more fraught. This is why Stormzy’s scholarships are specifically targeted at those at the sharp intersection of race and class disadvantage.