Racism

Letter from Australia

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Our government’s Islamophobic onslaught led to the Christchurch attack, writes James Supple

The murder of 50 Muslims at Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March was an act of far right terror. It was also the direct result of the Islamophobia and racism promoted by Australia’s Tory government and the political mainstream. Brenton Tarrant, who carried out the attack, is an Australian who left the country in 2011 before settling in New Zealand.

Can implicit bias explain racism?

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Twenty years on from the Macpherson report focus has shifted from institutional racism to unconsious bias. How helpful is this concept in the fight against racism, asks Esme Choonara.

When the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, chaired by William Macpherson, announced in 1999 that the police were institutionally racist, it was a huge vindication of the struggles and arguments of black people and the wider anti-racist movement. Yet 20 years on, there is widespread denial of institutional racism. The London Met police commissioner Cressida Dick recently said she doesn’t see it “as a helpful or accurate description”.

Dispensable human rights

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The decision to revoke Shamima Begum’s citizenship shows the government’s contempt for human rights. Brian Richardson slams a decision that makes no concession to the impulsive nature of young people.

Home secretary Sajid Javid’s response to the discovery of 19-year-old Shamima Begum in a Syrian refugee camp last month was swift, predictable and utterly reprehensible.

At the first available opportunity he rushed into the House of Commons and declared in characteristically pompous tones that:

Terror tacticians

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The Ku Klux Klan is back in the spotlight. Huw Williams looks at its blood-drenched record.

The film BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee, in the context of the rise of the far-right in the US and globally, has once again put a spotlight on the history of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The KKK claims a near 150-year history since its origins in the US’s Deep South after the American Civil War of 1861-65.

When hypocrisy’s in fashion

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A handful of significant appointments of black designers and cover stars marks something of a change for the fashion industry, but racism is rooted in much deeper structural problems.

This year is being hailed as a breakthrough year for black figures in the fashion industry.

Virgil Abloh was appointed creative director for menswear at Louis Vuitton. Ghanaian-born Edward Enninful, who took over as editor-in-chief of British Vogue in late 2017, made Rihanna the first black woman to star on the all-important September issue. A record number of other major magazines had black September cover stars, from Beyoncé for American Vogue to Slick Woods for Elle UK.

Knife crime on the rise: what’s behind the violence?

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A recent spate of knife killings in London, often involving young black males, has led to much anguish and debate about solutions. Weyman Bennett argues that more stop-and-search or “bobbies on the beat” are definitely not the answer. Instead we must look to underlying causes in the way that austerity and racism have ravaged communities in cities like London.

In the first few months of this year there has been a series of murders, particularly in London and particularly involving knives and young black people. The heartbreak and pain experienced by the families and friends of those who have lost their lives will be enduring. And the consequences will be felt far beyond them into the communities affected, who will feel fear and anger at the loss of life.

How institutional racism survives

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A quarter of a century has passed since the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence led to greater recognition of institutional racism. But how much has really changed since, asks Brian Richardson.

"What, what nigger?” Those were probably the very last words that 18 year old black student Stephen Lawrence heard as he waited for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Well Hall Road, Eltham, on 22 April 1993. Seconds later he was attacked by a knife wielding gang of racists. He tried to escape and managed to run some distance before collapsing in a pool of his own blood.

Who makes the Nazis?

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A new book examines how Hitler’s early regime in the 1930s looked to US laws on immigration, citizenship and mixed marriage to legitimise itself. It is a crucial history in the era of Trump, writes Roddy Slorach.

“In the early 1930s, the Jews of Germany were hounded, beaten and sometimes murdered by mobs and the state alike. In the same years the blacks of the American South were hounded, beaten and sometimes murdered as well.” So reads the introduction to a revealing new book by James Q Whitman.

Today’s debates on the nature of Trump’s presidency and the way it has boosted far-right parties across the globe lends urgency to this story: how Hitler’s new Nazi state drew on US state racism to help consolidate and legitimise its new regime.

No room for racism

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Decades of underinvestment in social housing have had a disproportionate effect on black communities in Britain and the US, writes Glyn Robbins.

George Clooney’s recent film Suburbicon lampoons the hypocrisy of the archetypal American suburb. Alongside a fictional crime caper, it tells the true story of the first African-American family to move to a neighbourhood previously reserved for whites. The Mayer family in the film is based on the Myers family who, in 1957, moved to Levittown, Pennsylvania. As the film depicts, they met with vicious organised racism (including the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan) aimed at driving them out.

Halting the conveyor belt of hate

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Donny Gluckstein analyses the relationship between nationalism, which helps convince workers to defend the “national interest”, the racism which flows from that idea of an us and them defined by nation, and full-blown fascism, which abandons the notion of democratic consent altogether.

We are daily buffeted by a bewildering mass of bad news stories on the racism front. The most bizarre example to date is Trump, the most powerful person in the world, retweeting the grotesque videos of Britain First, a tiny fascist grouping whose only claim to fame is that the murderer of Jo Cox MP shouted its name as he attacked her. To make sense of such events it helps to clearly understand what nationalism, racism and fascism are, how they are connected, and how they interact.

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