Racism

Pew Catherine Lacey Granta £12.99

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Pew spans a week in a small town in the Southern States of America. A young person is found during the Sunday morning service sleeping on a family pew. Visitors to the town are rare, so the family take this one into their home. The stranger is an enigma, remaining mute, speech and memory almost erased by a past trauma. Hilda, the mother, is determined to fit the stranger into accepted categories, but her insistent questioning gets no response, so the Reverend is invited for dinner.

Slavery: Scotland’s Hidden Shame

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Cat Mackay spoke to filmmakers Don Coutts and David Hayman about their 2018 documentary Slavery: Scotland’s Hidden Shame. Coutts and Hayman travelled to Sierra Leone and Jamaica, bringing to light facts about the Scottish ruling class’s central role in the horrors of the slave trade.

SR: Were you commissioned to make the documentary, or was it your own idea?

Declassified

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In the grounds of Lews castle on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides there is an impressive monument commemorating the achievements of a certain James Matheson. It was erected in 1880, some two years after his death and renovated in 2006. He was the second biggest landowner in Britain, had been a Liberal MP for over twenty years, was a governor of the Bank of England and for many years was chairman of the giant shipping company P&O. He is celebrated on his monument as ‘a child of God…a good and faithful servant’ who had been welcomed into Heaven.

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.

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