A French parliament session was thrown into turmoil Thursday after a far-right MP was accused of yelling “back to Africa” to a black colleague posing a question on migrant arrivals to the government.
The incident came as President Emmanuel Macron‘s government is promising a new crackdown on immigration amid accusations of failing to stem new arrivals or deport those whose residency requests are denied.
Carlos Martens Bilongo of the leftist France Unbowed party (LFI) was questioning the government on the request by the SOS Mediterranee NGO for Paris‘s help in finding a port for 234 migrants rescued at sea in recent days.
“They should go back to Africa!” interrupted Gregoire de Fournas, a newly elected member of the far-right, anti-immigration National Rally (RN).
The outburst sparked yells of condemnation, not least because in French the pronouns “he” and “they” are pronounced the same, suggesting that de Fournas might have been targeting Bilongo directly.
The RN is the party of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who challenged Macron in this year’s presidential vote and then led her party to its best-ever performance in subsequent legislative elections, with 89 MPs.
The party was founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen but his daughter claims to have overhauled the former National Front into a mainstream force, despite critics who say the changes are only cosmetic.
National Assembly speaker Yael Braun-Pivet suspended the session after demanding to know who had made the comment.
De Fournas later defended his comment, telling BFM television that the National Rally wants a halt to all illegal immigration after a surge in the number of people trying to reach France from Africa in recent years.
He accused his France Unbowed opponents of a “manipulation” and his party also denied any personal attack against Bilongo, a teacher who was born in Paris.
Le Pen has yet to comment but Jordan Bardella, favourite to succeed her as party leader at a congress this weekend, insisted that the deputy had meant to evoke the return of boats to African ports and accused LFI and the government of “extreme dishonesty”.
But LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted that the comments were “beyond intolerable” and that the deputy should be kicked out of the National Assembly.
A mixed-race Bethesda family has described suffering casual, racist comments towards them, saying a small minority “still live in the ’50s”.
These have been in the form of jokes and being socially excluded.
Medwen Edwards, 43, lives in Bethesda, Gwynedd, with partner Lamin Touray, 39, who is originally from The Gambia.
Microaggressions are “everyday slights, indignities, put downs and insults” people suffer in their day-to-day life, Race Alliance Wales said.
Medwen, a mother of nine, has three children with Lamin – Leo, three, Koby, two, and nine-week-old Aminata.
“I’m very lucky to have him in my life, and the children are too. He is so kind and loving towards us all,” she told the Newyddion S4C programme.
Having grown up in the Ogwen Valley, Medwen explained racism was a rare occurrence on the whole, but her family had experienced microaggressions several times.
“I still get comments now, it’s like some people still live in the ’50s,” Medwen said.
“We only get a few slight remarks. Comments and things like that, but otherwise everyone here is lovely with him.”
She met her partner at the gym in 2017 after the data analyst moved to study computer science at Bangor University.
She believes saying you are anti-racist is not enough, adding: “It’s easy enough to say you are, but it’s usually a different story when it’s time to show it, isn’t it?”
Among the comments include people saying they cannot be a “proper family” because she has white and mixed raced children.
“Your children can’t love each other because they are a different colour to each other,” has been another comment.
Medwen and Lamin decided to share their experiences after their friend Ebehitale Igene was racially abused and assaulted in a nightclub in Bangor.
Medwen says that racism exists in all languages, adding: “I think if a person is going to be racist, then they will be racist, if they speak Welsh, English or any other language.”
Since the racist abuse at the Cube night club, Ebehitale has been suffering from depression and anxiety, and Medwen urged people to consider the feelings of others before making nasty comments.
“It makes them feel like they are worthless. They get so low in themselves, then they are depressed. And it’s not fair at all, just because of the colour of their skin,” Medwen added.
“I want to see tougher sentences so that people have to serve a certain amount of time in prison, and raise the price of the punishment as compensation for victims. We need to show that it’s not acceptable.”
The University of Pacific volleyball team has elected to forfeit its match against BYU after a fan was accused of making racist comments toward a Duke volleyball player in August.
“The volleyball team has decided to not play the November 10 game at BYU,” the school’s senior communications director Mike Klocke said in a statement Monday night. “The team expressed concerns following reports of racist and hostile comments during an August 26 match. Pacific stands with our student-athletes.”
Since the alleged incident, BYU conducted an investigation and found no evidence to “corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.”
BYU released the following statement:
“The University of the Pacific’s decision to forfeit this week’s women’s volleyball match is unwarranted and deeply disappointing. Following the Aug. 26 allegation, BYU conducted an extensive review and found no evidence to corroborate this allegation. As we have stated previously, BYU will not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe in our athletic environments. It is unfortunate that Pacific would make a decision that perpetuates the very challenge we are working to heal in our polarized society.”
The August incident has led to more damning accusations, including Southern California women’s soccer players stating BYU fans directed racial slurs at them after players kneeled during the national anthem in August 2021.
The latest volleyball cancellation comes weeks after Dawn Staley, South Carolina women’s basketball coach also canceled a series with BYU.
“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”
US Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today in two major cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina that could imperil decades-old affirmative action policies that factor race into student admissions to boost Black and Hispanic enrollment on American campuses.
The arguments are set to begin at 10 am (1400 GMT) in appeals by a group founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum of lower court rulings upholding programmes used at the two prestigious schools to foster student diversity. The court confronts this divisive issue four months after its major rulings curtailing abortion rights and widening gun rights.
The court’s 6-3 conservative majority is expected to be sympathetic toward the challenges to Harvard and UNC.
The suits were filed separately against the two schools in 2014. One accused Harvard of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination based on race, colour or national origin under any programme or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The other accused UNC of violating the 14th amendment.
Blum’s group said UNC discriminates against white and Asian American applicants and Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants.
The universities have said they use race as only one factor in a host of individualised evaluations for admission without quotas – permissible under Supreme Court precedents – and that curbing the consideration of race would result in a significant drop in the number of students from underrepresented groups.
Many institutions of higher education place a premium on achieving a diverse student population not simply to remedy racial inequity and exclusion in American life but to bring a range of perspectives onto campuses.
Blum’s group told the justices in court papers that the Constitution requires colourblind admissions, quoting a famous line by conservative chief justice John Roberts from a 2007 ruling: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
The two schools and President Joe Biden’s administration, backing them, said categorically banning any consideration of an individual’s race would be inconsistent with equal protection.
UNC said there is a difference between a racist policy like segregation that separates people based on race and race-conscious policies that bring students together. The challengers’ arguments to equate the two “trivialise the grievous legal and moral wrongs of segregation,” the US justice department said in a brief.
Seventy-one percent of Black officers at the police department in Knoxville, Tennessee in the U.S. said they have experienced racial discrimination by the organization, according to a recent report conducted by 21CP Solutions, an organization of policing experts.
“If you are a Black officer, you have to work five times harder, and officers will always second-guess you,” one anonymous officer was quoted as saying in the report.
“When applying for posted positions and training, if more than one Black officer applied for a job that has multiple open slots, only one Black officer would get selected, and the other one would be told to wait until the next posting,” said another officer.
Knoxville Police Department’s new chief, Paul Noel, told NBC News in an interview that 21CP Solutions’ assessment was commissioned by him, noting that takeaways from the report are “pretty clear.”
“These are all things that people in the community and the police department anecdotally knew,” he was quoted as saying. “But this is the first time we had a jumping-off point to actually create change.”
The findings come after years of allegations, covered by the Knoxville News Sentinel, of longstanding racist behavior in the department, serving a town of over 180,000 people in eastern Tennessee.
Black representation in U.S. police forces has long been hampered by discrimination in hiring and promotion, some law enforcement officers told Reuters as early as 2020.
U.S. police forces remain generally whiter than the community that surrounds them, despite decades of attempts to reform, according to U.S. Federal data released in 2020.
The Washington Post has written on several studies detailing the link between police diversity and community relations. Lydia DePillis noted that a 2004 analysis of data from St. Petersburg, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana concluded “black officers are more likely to conduct coercive actions” than their white colleagues when resolving conflicts. DePillis also references a 2006 analysis of Cincinnati Police Department records; in her words, the study found “white officers were more likely to arrest suspects than black officers overall—but it also found that black officers were significantly more likely to make an arrest when the suspect was black.”
Where available, recent data still points to disproportionately high death rates faced by Black people, at the hands of law enforcement, in different countries.
While more people have been made aware of systemic racism and concrete steps have been taken in some countries, the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights called on States to demonstrate the greater political will to accelerate action.
“There have been some initiatives in different countries to address racism, but for the most part they are piecemeal. They fall short of the comprehensive evidence-based approaches needed to dismantle the entrenched structural, institutional and societal racism that has existed for centuries, and continues to inflict deep harm today,” said Nada Al-Nashif, who will present the report to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday.
The report notes that poor outcomes continue for people of African descent in many countries, notably in accessing health and adequate food, education, social protection, and justice – while poverty, enforced disappearance and violence continues.
It highlights “continuing…allegations of discriminatory treatment, unlawful deportations, excessive use of force, and deaths of African migrants and migrants of African descent by law enforcement officials”
“Families of Black people continued to report the immense challenges, barriers and protracted processes they faced in their pursuit of truth and justice for the deaths of their relatives”, the report says.
It details seven cases of police-related deaths of people of African descent, namely George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (US); Adama Traoré (France); Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos and João Pedro Matos Pinto (Brazil); Kevin Clarke (UK) and Janner [Hanner] García Palomino (Colombia).
While noting some progress towards accountability in a few of these emblematic cases, “unfortunately, not a single case has yet been brought to a full conclusion, with those families still seeking truth, justice and guarantees of non-repetition, and the prosecution and sanction of all those responsible,” the report says.
A city-commissioned study in Austin, Texas, found that urban design from almost a century ago cost Black residents in just five areas more than $290 million. The report comes at a time when American communities are more interested than ever in finding ways to address the legacy of housing discrimination.
The Austin City Council issued an apology for its past “segregation and systematic housing discrimination” last year and requested scholars from the University of Texas at Austin and Huston-Tillotson University, a historically Black university in the city, to examine the effects of such practices. The city’s 1928 master plan, for example, which established a “Negro District” and required Black residents to relocate east to access city facilities, effectively legalized residential racial segregation.
The first findings, which were reported by the Austin Monitor last month, were validated by a municipal official. Although it’s still not obvious how it would be set up or funded, local supporters want to use the data to put pressure on the city to create a center that provides social and economic services for Austin’s Black citizens and businesses.
According to Kellee Coleman, Austin’s interim chief equity officer, the report is “a tool for the community to be able to hold the government responsible for what it produced,” including “pervasive gaps” across health and economic measurements.
The study Austin requested is a part of a larger movement among American cities to address racial disparities in wealth and homeownership, which are a result of long-standing housing discrimination practices like redlining, where the federal government deemed majority-Black neighborhoods “hazardous” and refused to insure mortgages in and around them.
In American cities, residential racial segregation and its effects are still a problem. According to the Brookings Institution, community amenities and quality are unable to account for the difference in property values between majority-Black and non-Black communities in the average U.S. metro region.
At a news conference on Thursday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot welcomed a group of migrants who had recently been transported from Texas to Chicago by bus, but she also used the occasion to denounce Texas Governor’s Greg Abbott immigration policies as “racist and xenophobic.”
A bus carrying around 75 migrants arrived at Chicago’s Union Station on Wednesday night after leaving Texas.
Although Lightfoot used much harsher language to describe what she believes is happening, The Texas Governor’s administration claims that the busing strategy is being implemented because of the burden placed on Texas taxpayers due to the flow of asylum seekers and migrants into the country at the southern border.
“This concerns a thinly veiled political point. Sharing the weight is not the point, she said. Greg Abbott has proved what many of us already knew: he is a guy without any morality, humanity, or shame. To Greg Abbott and his supporters in Texas.
Additionally, in recent months, Abbott and his government have dispatched buses to New York and Washington, D.C. He has said he will continue the practice until President Joe Biden’s administration solves what he refers to as a “crisis” at the southern border.
In a statement, he said that President Biden’s inactivity at the southern border “continues to endanger the lives of Texans and Americans and is overwhelming our towns.”
Lightfoot said the initiative smells of being a political gimmick intended to pander to Republican voters at the expense of the dignity of those harmed, despite Abbott’s administration’s insistence that they obtain formal authorization before busing asylum-seekers to northern cities.
Jonathan Butler, a South African-born singer, and composer, claims he was racially profiled at the American restaurant Goose & Gander after the manager followed him to his car to see if they had left a tip for the waiter who served him and his friends.
Butler claims that the manager followed him and his pals back to their car, thinking they hadn’t tipped their server.
“I must say, we had a fantastic supper. The bill arrived, and I paid it, and we handled the payment as well as the server.
Butler went on to claim that they took care of their server and nicely tipped the waiter.
He claimed that he returned to the restaurant to confront the manager, who then attempted to talk him out of it by claiming that he didn’t mean to insult him. Butler, on the other hand, claimed that returning to the restaurant to confront the manager meant he had already been offended and mistreated for who he was as a person.
Butler stated that the manager did not treat him with humanity when he addressed him and that the treatment at the company reminded him of his childhood in South Africa.
“We have to get rid of this idea that he has the right to follow me out to my car just because of the color of my skin and the way I dress…” Butler stated this in his TikTok video.
Butler was the first non-white performer to be heard on South African radio and to appear on national television in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, hailed Butler’s music for inspiring him during his captivity.
According to a new poll, one in every four US teachers has been advised by school authorities or district leaders to limit classroom discussions about race, racism, or bias.
In more than a dozen states with state-level limits on classroom debates about racism, sexism, and other sensitive themes, nearly one-third of educators reported being directed to limit their classroom discussions.
According to the research, “one in every four social studies and English instructors, as well as one in every four principals, have been harassed about race, racism, or bias policies.”
“The data provides one of the first thorough views at how initiatives to restrict classroom conversations about race in many states and districts have influenced educators and school administrators,” the report continues.
The Rand Corp., a neutral think firm, conducted the nationally representative study, which included responses from almost 2,400 K-12 US teachers and approximately 1,500 principals.
As state lawmakers continue to introduce legislation that would limit how schools can teach about racism and sexism, some teachers are pushing back and speaking out.
The laws aim to discourage teachers from making race or gender salient in conversations about power and oppression. And they target the kinds of diversity, equity, and inclusion training that many schools adopted amid last spring’s protests against police brutality, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.