Racism

A disproportionate number of deaths

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Are BAME people more likely to die from Covid-19 because of genetics, diabetes, or even vitamin deficiencies? No, argues Dr Kambiz Boomla, racism lies at the heart of the differing death rates.

The Office of National Statistics last month published figures on who dies of coronavirus. It revealed a shocking truth that the risk of death for south Asians is twice as high as that for whites of the same age, and that blacks have a fourfold increased risk. Behind these figures lie human faces.

Sway: the Science of Unconscious Bias by Pragya Argawal

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This book represents what has largely become mainstream thinking on race, gender, sex and sexuality. Argawal argues that a large body of human behaviour, especially oppression, prejudice and discrimination, results from irrational decisions governed by our implicit or unconscious bias towards people who are different to us.

She combines her experiences as a single parent from India with her academic research in behavioural science.

Dispensable human rights

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The British government’s treatment of Shamima Begum will not only scare every black and Asian citizen, but will also fail to deal with the root causes of young people’s political disaffection, writes Ndella Paye.

Shamima Begum is a 20-year-old British woman with parents of Bangladeshi heritage. She left London in 2015 at the age of 15 with two friends to join the Islamic State in Syria.

Once there, she married a man and had three children who died from malnutrition and disease. Her last son died of pneumonia just a few days after his birth in March 2019 in a Syrian refugee camp.

Learning from the Germans: Confronting Race and the Memory of Evil

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This is a book about making amends. In particular, it is about the way that modern Germany has come to view, and deal with, the legacy of the Holocaust. The author is a Jewish American, originally from the south, who has lived for a long time in Berlin. The main focus of the work is on how the German example can be used to help the US, and in particular the southern states, to atone for the historical crime of slavery.

When race riots marred the streets of Britain

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A combination of racism, unemployment, housing shortages and post-war disillusion led to a series of terrible attacks on black communities following the end of the First World War. Laura Miles describes the events, and how the authorities either stood aside or blamed the victims.

A century ago, after four long years of war, Britain was on the brink of revolution. Strikes raged across the industrial heartlands such as Glasgow, Liverpool and Belfast. Martial law was declared to quell a revolt in Luton. But vicious race riots also erupted in several British ports, resulting in four people being killed and hundreds badly injured.

Race, class and identity

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Racial prejudice forces us to define ourselves with categories that it has created writes Yuri Prasad.

Identity is intrinsic to our very being and poses vital questions: who we think we are; what defines us; who we believe we are connected to — and perhaps as importantly, who we are not, and who we do not feel connected to. It’s not hard to see how such notions become intertwined with those of race, community, ethnicity, and nation.

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:

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