David Cameron launches anti-racist plan for UK
DAVID CAMERON has launched an outspoken attack on Britain’s top universities for failing to recruit more black students, saying that racism in the UK’s leading institutions “should shame our nation”.
OXFORD University will be forced to reveal the number of successful ethnic minority applicants as part of a new anti-discrimination drive by the government.
Under Mr Cameron’s plans for universities, they will be required to publish admissions and retention data by gender, ethnic background and socio-economic class.
The prime minister has appointed David Lammy, a member of parliament, to lead a review of the criminal justice system in England and Wales to investigate evidence of possible bias against black defendants and other ethnic minorities.
Writing for The Sunday Times newspaper, Mr. Cameron says that Britain is NOT trying to achieve a “process of total assimilation” but rather, a country where “our shared British values should help us to live side by side”.
Mr. Cameron adds: “It’s striking that in 2014, our top university, Oxford, accepted just 27 black men and women out of an intake of more than 2,500”.
“There was a point a few years ago when there were more young people with the surname Smith at Oxford than there were black students”, Mr Lammy explained.
The Brave Sikh Man Who Stood Up to Trump’s Muslim Bashing
Arish Singh knew what he was in store for when he decided to attend a Trump rally in Iowa. But he’s glad he did it—and he’d do it again.
“If you don’t get out of here, I’m going to hit you!” barked the 40-something-year-old angry white man at Arish Singh. What did Singh do that made this man want to beat him up? Singh had simply objected to Donald Trump’s Muslim bashing at a campaign rally Sunday in Muscatine, Iowa.
Singh is a brave soul and a beautiful representative of the Sikh faith. He went into the belly of the beast—a Trump rally —wearing his traditional Sikh turban and sporting a beard, both considered articles of faith to Sikhs.
Singh isn’t Muslim. In fact, many Sikhs have been assaulted in recent years by bigots who thought they were Muslims, with over 700 attacks recorded since 9/11 in the United States, including murders.
But as Singh explained to me, “Social justice and defending people in need is part of the Sikh faith. You don’t have to be a Muslim to stand against anti-Muslim bigotry. Everyone should stand up against bigotry and hate regardless of the target.” Singh was not only upset with Trump’s demonizing of Muslims but the fact that recently a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was ejected from a Trump rally for simply standing up in silent protest. Singh felt compelled to do something.
And so Singh set out Sunday night to do just that. Singh, who was born and raised in Iowa but who now splits his time between the Hawkeye State and Chicago, set out with his friend Taylor Williams to attend Sunday’s Trump rally. They had written two simple words on a big white sheet: “Stop Hate.” Singh planned to unfurl this sign if Trump engaged in demonizing any minority groups. But with Trump, it’s not really a question of if but when.
The Brave Sikh Man – The Brave Sikh Man – The Brave Sikh Man – The Brave Sikh Man – The Brave Sikh Man
The birth of an anti-racism challenge
PARK CITY, UTAH—A slave drama that hearkens back to Hollywood’s first movie epic is helping to lead the assault on the systemic racism called out by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, audaciously sharing the same title as D.W. Griffith’s racially insensitive silent film of 1915 that launched modern cinema, sold Tuesday for $17.5 million (U.S.) to Fox Searchlight, Variety reports. It’s the richest distribution deal in the history of the Sundance Film Festival, struck after all-night negotiations with multiple studio suitors who reportedly offered as much as $20 million for the worldwide rights.
The deal followed Monday’s emotional world premiere, where actor and filmmaker Parker basked in the glow of a lengthy standing ovation that began even before the house lights went up and while the credits were still rolling.
“I made this film for one reason and with hope of creating change agents: that people can watch this film and be affected,” said Parker, 36, as several dozen members of his cast and crew gathered around him on the stage.
“They can watch this film and see that there were systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people, and the legacy of that still lives with us.”
His words fell on receptive ears, with audience members telling him his film “carries a lot of responsibility” and asking what they can do to promote it.
Set in the Virginia of the 1800s, The Birth of a Nation tells the story of the most successful slave rebellion in U.S. history, led by charismatic Nat Turner, an American-born slave and preacher played by writer/director Parker. His co-stars include Aja Naomi King, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley and Gabrielle Union.
He put his acting career largely on hold for seven years while he assembled the financing (including a lot of his own money) and then made the film, his feature debut behind the lens.
Sam Smith defends those tweets about racism
Sam Smith has defended himself against a Twitter backlash after he tweeted about his friend being racially abused in the street.
Sam addressed comments from followers who’d taken exception to some of his tweets about it.
The singer didn’t go into detail about what happened but said it had left him “upset”, and he felt he “had to shine some sort of light on it”.
Sam says he wanted to acknowledge the “issue we have in society”.
“For the record I was merely sharing an experience I had in the hope it would draw attention to how ridiculous it is to be racist in 2016.”
#OscarsSoWhite decries Hollywood racism
On Jan. 14, much of the world watched in shock and anger the announcements of the nominations for the upcoming 88th annual Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, which recognized virtually all white acting performances.
This year and 2015 was the first time since 1997-1998 that not one Black actor was nominated for either a best actress, best actor, best supporting actress or best supporting actor award in consecutive years.
Most notable snubs included Will Smith for “Concussion,” Michael B. Jordan in the title role of “Creed,” Samuel L. Jackson for “The Hateful Eight” and Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation.” On top of these gross omissions, not one Black director was nominated, including, for instance, Ryan Coogler for “Creed.” The only actor nominated for “Creed” was white actor Sylvester Stallone.
Coogler was also snubbed for directing the 2013 movie “Fruitvale Station,” about the real transit police murder of a young Black man, Oscar Grant, on a Bay Area Rapid Transit subway platform in Oakland, Calif. Jordan brilliantly played Grant.
The popular and critically acclaimed “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the hip-hop artists group N.W.A., garnered only one award for best original screenplay — for its white writers. The film’s African-American director, F. Gary Gray, was also overlooked by the Academy. The only real bright spot was the best documentary nomination for the astonishing “What Happened, Miss Simone?” on the life of the late, great, artist and political activist Nina Simone, co-produced by her daughter, Lisa Simone.
At-risk students improve when they take a race and ethnicity class – study
Stanford researchers concluded that ‘culturally relevant’ teaching is an important part of the education of students who could flunk or might drop out
High school students saw large improvements in their grades and attendance records when they enrolled in a class dedicated to exploring race and ethnicity, researchers in California found.
The Stanford University study analyzed a pilot program of ethnic studies classes at three San Francisco high schools and found that, on average, at-risk ninth-graders encouraged to enroll in the course performed significantly better than their peers who didn’t.
Student attendance increased by 21%, while grade-point averages surged nearly a grade and a half for those enrolled in the class – striking results, according to the researchers.
“I was surprised that this particular course could have such dramatic effects on the academic outcomes of at-risk kids,” said Thomas S Dee, a professor at Stanford who co-authored the study with postdoctoral researcher Emily Penner. “If I was reading a newspaper with results like this, I would read it with incredulity, [but] the results were very robust.”
The study looked at 1,400 ninth-graders taking part in a pilot program. Students with GPAs of 2.0 or lower in eighth grade were automatically enrolled in ethnic studies during their first year of high school. Their results were compared against students who had similar GPAs who were not automatically enrolled in the ethnic studies class because their GPAs were slightly over 2.0.
The study lends some support to advocates who have worked to make ethnic studies classes a larger part of school curriculums.
Researchers concluded that the results of the study show that “culturally relevant” teaching is an important part of the education of students at risk of flunking or dropping out.
Racism and Christianity — Interview With Drew G.I. Hart
If there was any topic in 2015 that captured my imagination and challenged me to my core, it was the state of race relations in the US, Canada and abroad. Sadly, as a Christian, I kept finding that many white Christian leaders were dismissing, minimizing and even out-right denying the realities of the problems we faced and the responsibility we have to address these issues. Thankfully, through many others, I have been able to find hope.
One such person is someone I am lucky enough call friend- at least in our many overlapping connections online, is Drew Hart. Drew is a writer, speaker, and PhD candidate in theology and ethics with ten years of pastoral ministry experience. His undergraduate work was in biblical studies at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, upon which he immediately joined the pastoral team of Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Church, a racially diverse and urban Anabaptist community committed to racial reconciliation. After almost 4 years of pastoral ministry Drew returned to Philadelphia in pursuit of a Masters of Divinity degree with an urban concentration at Biblical Seminary. He served as an elder on the pastoral team at Montco Bible Fellowship, a predominantly African American multi-ethnic congregation, for seven years until transitioning towards more academic teaching and writing as a PhD candidate at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
Drew has a new book called “Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism” (Herald Pres). I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of the book (via Netgalley with no expectation of a review, positive or otherwise). I found the book to be helpful, challenging and much needed. However, rather than a review by me, I wanted to get the goods from Drew directly, so we connected for any interview. I hope you find it helpful and immediately order the book.
Maimane blames ANC for racial tensions
Durban – DA leader Mmusi Maimane unleashed a scathing attack on the ruling party, saying South Africa was entangled in racial tensions because the “ANC of President Jacob Zuma” has abandoned Nelson Mandela’s vision of a non-racial country.
The DA faced a barrage of attacks after Penny Sparrow, a member, likened black people to “monkeys” on her Facebook post.
But Maimane believes the ANC is to blame for racial tensions. “The project of non-racism has been leaderless because the ANC has failed to lead it. Our country has lost track of reconciliation because Zuma doesn’t know what to do,” he said.
Maimane said Mandela had dealt with the thorny issue of social intolerance successfully. However, he said racial tension had been rekindled when Mandela left the presidency and ceased playing a role in the ANC.
Zuma was a confused leader who had failed to forge relations between different races, he said. “I’m the only one who is standing up publicly as a leader and saying we condemn these actions and we will take action against people who are racist in the DA.”
Sparrow’s comment comes three months after DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, who also stirred racial tension on social media, was let off the hook.
Regardless of the controversies that beset the party, Maimane was adamant the DA would do well in the local government elections. “South Africans know that our party stands for non-racism.”
The DA is the only party that can achieve Mandela’s dream, Maimane claimed.
He rejected the claims levelled against his party by the ANC – that it was a party of racists.
Maimane said the DA was the only party prepared to deal with racism while other parties wanted to leave it.
He said South Africans should collectively fight the cancer that was racism, unless they also believed that Mandela was a sell-out.