Identity politics are – by definition – racist
To mark last weekend’s one-year anniversary of the violent right-wing demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, a meagre two dozen card-carrying white supremacists showed up in the town, vs thousands of anti-racism protesters — proportions that may reflect the nation as a whole. Nevertheless, ever since the 2017 rally, the American left has thrown around the pejorative ‘white supremacist’ with such abandon that you’d think the country was jagged with peaked white hats from sea to shining sea.
By fits and starts, the past 50 years have seen equality of opportunity for minorities in the States improve dramatically. Yet racial rhetoric, and the overall touch-and-feel of race relations on the ground, is deteriorating.
An astonishing 55 per cent of Americans now consider being white important to their identity. I don’t count myself among them. All of greater Europe and its vast diaspora is too diffuse an association to do anything for me. I may be feebly interested in my German heritage, but should DNA analysis prove that my forebears were actually Bangladeshi, if anything I’d throw a party. (‘Yay! I’m not white! Nothing’s my fault!’) I don’t much care about being female or American, either. These are all attributes foisted upon me at birth that I did not choose.
Having little attachment to your race is a luxury, of course. Historically, African-Americans have had to consider their race important, because it was too important, in the worst way, to others. Yet luxuries aren’t to be wasted, so I plan on continuing to be so-what about my skin colour. Progress, to me, involves us all becoming so-what about race — but that’s not the direction we’re headed.
White Americans may be embracing a race long associated with blandness and bad bread in part because they’re within shouting distance of becoming a minority in what they had been regarding as their country. Donald Trump is an aggravating factor, but American retreat to racial foxholes well predates his watch. For I also blame identity politics — which have whipped up racial antagonism, encouraged nakedly anti-white bombast and ushered in a glaring double standard that’s unsustainable. You cannot have black identity politics, and Latino identity politics, without conjuring the pastel version. Yet only ‘white identitarians’ are demonised as driven by hatred. Whites are the sole race the mainstream western media forbids to forge a sense of unity or to defend their own interest. The only identity whites are allowed is self-disgust. Whites who stray from ceaseless self-crit are moral degenerates.
Last week on the PBS NewsHour, a moderator, the New York Timescolumnist David Brooks and the Washington Post deputy editor Ruth Marcus discussed a 2016 poll by the Institute for Family Studies. It asked some 3,000 non-Hispanic whites, roughly: 1) Do they have a strong sense of white identity? 2) Do they have a strong sense of white solidarity? 3) Do they think whites face discrimination? (After 50 years of affirmative action and the latest consuming obsession with ‘diversity’ in hiring, you wouldn’t have to be demented to suppose that white Americans might face some discrimination. Indeed, one 2012 poll had more than half of white Americans agreeing that whites have replaced blacks as the ‘primary victims of discrimination’, a bridge-too-far assertion I find ludicrous.)
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.”
KFC manager fired over allegations of racism
KFC has fired the manager of one of its Somerset West outlets over allegations of racism after some employees claimed she repeatedly called them “a bunch of monkeys”.
The public affairs director for Africa KFC, Thabisa Mkhwanazi, said the manager was dismissed following an external probe and an in-depth internal disciplinary process by human resources.
“We strongly believe that… acts of non-inclusion and discrimination have no place in our society and our business. Furthermore… we comply with the South African labour law legislation to ensure that our team members are always treated fairly and with respect at every level,” she said.
The restaurant manager was suspended in July while the case was under investigation. A crimen injuria case against her was opened in June.
Employees at the branch hailed the company for its action, saying they were relieved the manager had been dismissed. They claimed the manager threatened to fire them after they approached their union regarding her alleged remarks.
They said the first time she allegedly made racist remarks was when an inspector was due to visit the store. She was allegedly angry and said “I don’t know why I’m placed with a bunch of monkeys”.
“We were unhappy but kept that to ourselves because… we thought she had just said that out of anger, but it happened again,” the employees said.
“One of us was also sent away, as if she was the ‘trouble-maker’, to work in another store. She has been brought back… and we are working under another manager.”
Their union, the Democratic Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, said: “We want the company to root out racism… The company should have acted swiftly the moment it was made aware of the issue, rather than wait for it to get to the public.”
No room for gender-based discrimination against transgender children in school admission
In line with the bill “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018,” passed by the National Assembly earlier in May this year, Pakistan’s province Punjab government has issued instructions to all the district administrative officers and heads of the government and private schools to ensure enrolment of transgender children “on equal basis” across educational institutes in the province.
The interim government of Punjab has issued these instructions via a letter dated August 8 calling upon the school administrations to “recognise/protect the rights of transgender children in Pakistan under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 (Act No. XIII of 2018).”
“The transgender students must be treated on equal basis and in column of gender, their real status of “transgender” may be mentioned at the time of admission,” the letter says adding that during annual enrolment and retention campaign, “equal importance may be given for boys, girls, and transgender in order to achieve 100pc enrolment and retention targets”.
The letter signed by a Section Officer of the School Education Department of the Punjab government has directed the provincial education authorities, heads of the government and private educational institutes in Punjab to take the transgender children’s issue as their “top priority”.
It may be mentioned here that National Assembly on May 8, only days before the end of its term had passed the transgender persons protection bill unanimously. It aims at ensuring rights of transgender persons.
Senior Indian bureaucrat accuses British Airways of racial discrimination
A senior bureaucrat has alleged “racial discrimination” and “rude behaviour” by the British Airways, which deplaned him and his family from a flight to Berlin from London last month minutes before take-off because his three-year-old son was crying on board.The bureaucrat, in a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on August 3, has alleged that another Indian family, sitting behind them, was also offloaded as they offered biscuits to the child to console him.The incident took place on July 23.The bureaucrat alleged that the crew got the plane (BA 8495) to return to the tarmac, where the security personnel took their boarding passes away.
The customer care service manager did not give reasons for offloading them, nor did the management take action against the crew despite lodging a complaint, he claimed.”We had to make our own arrangements for staying and travelling to Berlin the next day by paying a hefty amount,” he said, adding that the other Indian family was given tickets for a flight the next day, without any accommodation though.
The bureaucrat is a joint secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.When contacted, a British Airways spokesperson said, “We take such claims very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.
We have started an investigation and are in contact with the customer.” Narrating his family’s ordeal in the two-page letter to Prabhu, the officer demanded a thorough investigation and strictest possible action against the British Airways staff.He said while his wife managed to calm their son, an “aggrieved” crew member approached them and started scolding the boy, asking him to get back to his seat. The boy had a window seat, but the mother had taken him into her arms to console him.
“With this unusual behavior of the male crew member, my son got terrified and started crying intensively. My wife again put the boy on his designated seat and fastened the seat-belt, even though he kept on crying being in a terrified state of mind due to the scolding by the male crew member,” the officer wrote to Prabhu. He alleged that when the plane started moving towards the runway, the crew member came back, shouting, “You bloody keep quiet, otherwise you would be thrown out of the window.”
#WOMENSDAY: WOMEN OPEN UP ON DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT IN WORKPLACE
Difficult and sometimes dangerous working conditions facing women in the public sector are under the spotlight this Women’s Day.
Difficult and sometimes dangerous working conditions facing women in the public sector are under the spotlight this Women’s Day.
Eyewitness News has spoken to some women who say they have been sexually harassed and told they will never be able to cope in a male dominated job.
This includes women in the emergency services and police.
Kim Williams has been a paramedic for 28 years, saving thousands of people’s lives. Yet her own life has been on the line many times.
Williams tells how she was sexually harassed and almost raped by a man who begged her to save his dying friend’s life while the Cape York Building in Joburg was on fire.
“He pushed me against the wall and he opened my belt. I still remember how his breath smelled.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Faith Walaza has been deployed to Sudan twice. She’s been criticised for “doing a man’s job” on several occasions.
Walaza once worked in KwaZulu-Natal while being pregnant and says she had to hide her baby bump not to be discriminated against.
Last month, the United Nations held a meeting with feminists, gender experts and UN officials to discuss a plan of action to curb sexual harassment.
During the talk, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said women fall by the wayside because the system is too difficult.
“Men become repeat offenders because they can. Now we’re seeing men who were previously untouchable being punished. And that needs to be the norm. You cannot harass hundreds of women over your career and then retire with a bonus and a golden watch and a party,” she is quoted as saying.
While some say it’s a “man’s world,” these women say they will not give up their fight for equal rights in the workplace.
Salk Institute Settles Two Gender Discrimination Suits
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has settled two of three gender discrimination lawsuits leveled at it by female scientists, according to a joint statement released by those involved yesterday (August 7). Both scientists still work at the Salk.
The settlement discussions began a few weeks ago. Salk President Rusty Gage and the two scientists, Vicki Lundblad and Kathy Jones, say in their statement, “Those productive conversations have led to a resolution of all claims between these parties that will enable us to put our disagreements behind us and move forward together at Salk for the collective good of the Institute and science.”
According to Nature, neither the statement nor Deborah Dixon, the lawyer for Lundblad and Jones, gave any details on the settlement made on August 6.
The third lawsuit, filed by Beverly Emerson, now a former employee of Salk, is still pending. According to Science, her lawyer Alreen Haeggquist of the firm Haeggquist & Eck says, “Dr. Emerson intends to proceed until justice is fully achieved.” A San Diego court will be holding a hearing for Emerson’s case on August 17.
All three scientists had alleged that higher-ups at Salk created obstacles in funding and promotion paths and belittled their work. At a July women in science meeting, Emerson spoke about the systemic nature of discrimination, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s not a matter of one person being harassed by the bad guy down the hall,” Emerson said. “That is a severe dysfunction of the culture, and it’s based on the reward system of the organization.”
Age Discrimination by Employers Is Common, AARP Survey Says
Here’s who has seen or experienced it and how it happens
The vast majority of Americans who work into in their 50s, 60s and beyond need to keep making money as they grow older but encounter widespread age discrimination in job hunts and at the workplace, a new AARP survey has found.
AARP surveyed 3,900 people age 45 and older who were working full-time or part-time or looking for work and learned that more than nine in 10 older workers see age discrimination as common. And 61 percent say they’ve personally seen or experienced it. Women are more likely than men to have seen or experienced age discrimination, according to the survey. More than three quarters of African-American respondents, 60 percent of Latinos and 59 percent of whites reported seeing or experiencing it.
What AARP Says About Age Discrimination
“Older workers want to work, they’re ready to work and they need to work,” said Susan Weinstock, AARP’s vice president of financial resilience. “They should have the opportunity to be judged on their merits, rather than their age.”
But the survey results strongly suggest older job applicants routinely are denied that opportunity. Since turning 40, a striking 30 percent of respondents experienced at least one of these six actions and 17 percent experienced two or more: not getting hired for a job they applied for because of their age; heard negative remarks related to their older age from a colleague; passed up for a chance to get ahead because of their age; heard negative remarks related to their older age from a supervisor; were laid off, fired or forced out of job because of their age or were denied access to training or professional development opportunities because of their age.
Among respondents who’ve applied for a new position in the past two years, 44 percent said they were asked for age-related information such as birth dates and graduation years. Such information is often used to discriminate against older applicants and requests for it discourage many older workers from applying, according to AARP.
Fears of Getting Hired After a Job Loss
About one third of the survey respondents said they doubted they’d be able to quickly land another job if theirs was eliminated. Almost half of them said the major reason would be age discrimination.
Government data shows that nearly one third of workers 55 and older who lose their jobs are unemployed a financially-dangerous six months or more. By contrast, just 18 percent of those ages 16 to 54 are out of work similar periods.
The AARP survey also suggests that most older workers don’t think they have much protection against age discrimination. While a majority reported seeing or experiencing age bias, barely three percent said they’d filed a formal complaint with an employer or government agency.
What the Age Discrimination Law Says
Age bias is prohibited under the 51-year-old Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Originally, the law included protections similar to those against other forms of workplace prejudice. But it has been weakened over time by a series of court rulings that have narrowed the law’s scope and sharply increased what’s required to prove a case.
Kick It Out has tackled racism for 25 years, now the biggest danger is complacency
Exclusive interview: Sam Cunningham meets Herman Ouseley, the peer whose formative years in Peckham shaped a lifetime’s work.Kick It Out has spent a quarter of a century fighting racism and discrimination out of a room. The room has changed location a few times, and taken on various guises, but it has always been only one room.
First it was a room in a small unit in the Islington Business Centre in Angel. Then it was a small room above a pizza parlour in Moorgate. Now, it is a much larger room which it shares with the Football Foundation, in one big office space in Whittington House, west London.
In many ways, the organisation started in the bedroom of a Peckham house in which five families shared a kitchen, outdoor toilet and tin bath, where a young boy born in Guyana slept between his mother and stepfather. Herman Ouseley spent 17 days travelling across land and sea with his mother to England in 1957.
He was not a Lord then, just an 11-year-old boy trying to make sense of a scary world. But already, as they settled in south London, Ouseley was developing the instincts to deal with a lifetime of conflict and learning the bravery to fight racism and discrimination in a badly divided society.
Kick It Out, English football‘s antidiscrimination campaign, has been a focus for the last 25 of his 73 years. Violence and intimidation The glass milk bottles regularly hurled through the window of their Peckham residence as he rested between his mother and stepfather were shattered symbols of the bitter racial discontent which began to harden Ouseley’s core. As did hearing stories of excrement being shoved through letter boxes and houses being attacked with firebombs.
“You had to have eyes in the back of your head but keep them down when you walked the streets,” he recalls to i, reflecting on a quarter of a century of Kick It Out, ahead of the organisation’s birthday on Sunday.
“That’s what I came into. The abuse I received in the 90s around Kick It Out – I was already hardened to it.”