Guest Blog

Walter Rodney Lives!

Seminal is a word frequently used to describe 'How Europe Under-developed Africa', Walter Rodney’s opus magnum that swiftly extended itself far beyond its academic crucible when published in 1972. Not since Frantz Fanon’s 'Wretched of the Earth' had a writer so widely transformed how Africa was seen and researched. Rodney’s gift was his ability to synthesize centuries of history around a truism stated clearly early on in the book: “For the greater part of Africa’s history…the changes have been gradual rather than revolutionary;” the result of centuries of outside exploitation.

A psychiatrist’s damning indictment of 500 years of racism – now revived by Trump and 9/11

Suman Fernando is a gentle soft spoken  consultant psychiatrist, lecturer and honorary professor at the London Metropolitan University.    The 85 year old is not the sort of person at first sight to produce such a searing critique of racism in the UK and the US and the baleful role psychiatrists have had in treating ethnic minorities in both countries.

Supreme Court ruling opens way for legal action against Michael Gove and Liz Truss for racial discrimination and victimisation

Read our guest blog by David Hencke

UPDATE: At a Press Gallery lunch in Parliament last week I raised the issue of the Supreme Court ruling and the potential case to be brought by three judges with David Lidington, the current Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary.

Mad World

Authors and book cover

A quick Google search defines mental illness broadly as, ‘a condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behaviour or thinking.’ When we live in a context where a “serious disorder” is often attached to acting and speaking out about racism rather than being racist, we must be critical about our own understandings of mental health and how they have been constructed by those with power.

The Importance of an Intersectional Approach in Social Research

Quote by and pic of Audre Lorde

“There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” – Audre Lorde

In researching BAMER issues in the UK, it is important not to homogenise racial struggle and instead understand the diversity of identities that are present in different racial groups. For this, it is important that we view things from an intersectional perspective.

Spreading Confusion, Potentially Inciting Hatred - Trevor Phillips’ Route to ‘Active Integration’

Trevor Phillips

Anyone reading the recent ‘Civitas’ publicationRace and Faith: The Deafening Silence byTrevor Phillips with commentaries from David Goodhart and Jon Gower Davies, who knew nothing about Phillips could be forgiven for assuming that he was a protégé of or speech writer for Donald Trump, or at least a spokesman for UKIP.

Sanneh and Others – access to welfare for Zambrano carers

Laughing child

If citizenship is the fundamental status for EU citizens, what is its substance for child citizens who are too young to enjoy the rights set out in Articles 21-23 TEU to work, travel, vote or petition the EP? What does the principle in EU law of ‘genuine enjoyment of the substance of citizenship’ mean if you are a child? And what are the implications for your parent or parents? These are central questions for a specific group of children now growing up across the EU – those who themselves hold EU citizenship but their parents do not.

Why the Conservative plan to scrap the European Human Rights Act could be bad news for BME rights in the UK

Judge banging on gavel

The Conservative plan to replace the European Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights could be disastrous for BME communities who enjoy the protection granted by European authorities against unjust deportation, discrimination and the inequalities of the British system.

A second generation south-Asian girl from north-west England

Anushka Asthana

I cringe when I remember an uncomfortable conversation with a female cousin in the 1990s. She ticked me off for what she saw as my arrogant assertion that life in the UK was superior to what she had in India. In my mind - and clearly spewing out of my mouth - was the sentiment that Britain had better roads, better schools, better dress sense, better humour and even (what was I thinking!?) better weather. Perhaps that is why growing up I never really delved into my parents' decision to emigrate in the 1970s. To me - a second generation south-Asian girl from north-west England - it seemed an obvious, life-enhancing choice. It was when those opinions were turned on their head back at home - that it became obvious they were driven less by rationality and more by insecurity about where I belonged.

In Greater Manchester I tried to distance my life from its Indian roots. It's awful now to think back about how I'd be embarrassed of walking with my mum at the shops if she was wearing a traditional salwar kameez, or if she spoke Hindi loudly in public. On the occasions that I would wear a sari to an Indian event I would go to great lengths to avoid being seen by white neighbours, crouching down as I ran from the front door to the car. Perhaps worst of all was the way I felt pleased when a local teenage boy once declared that I was "different to other Pakis". After all I was a girl who daydreamed about what it would be like to have white skin and an English name. Once, when I was very young, I even rubbed talcum powder into my face in a bid to lighten up.

Racism in the delivery of mental health services

Suman Fernando

For many years, black and some other minority ethnic groups have been badly served by our mental health services. Some of the problems can be attributed to the fact that services have not adapted adequately to the fact that the understanding of what is ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ is culturally determined and ‘one size does not fit all’. However, there has been mounting evidence that institutional racism too plays a major role.


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