Sunlight, Vitamin D, Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter…

The data is clear: people in ethnic groups living in the UK are more likely to die if they contract the SARS-Co-2 virus. Public Health England – currently being scraped and scape-goated to protect the government in its handling of the pandemic – concluded (Link 1) that BAME communities are more susceptible due to social deprivation. This certainly fits the current political narrative well but may not explain that poor clinical outcomes could simply be down to a lack of …

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The new campaign against racism in Britain tells only half the story

Photograph: Anselm Ebulue / The Guardian Tré Ventour 24 • Northampton • Writer and race equality activist “I remember when Mark Duggan was killed by police. It was my generation’s Stephen Lawrence moment.” From the Guardian  Race and racism.  Just now we’re  going through a surge fomented in the US and probably aggravated  on this side of the Atlantic by the frustrations of lockdown and the habit of imitation.  Longer term the abiding chronic issues have not been helped by …

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Anti-racism must not become a new form of cultural oppression

Laurence Oliver’s Othello ( 1965) Although from today we in England can create our own family bubble of different households, it’s still not too late to enter the lockdown confessional. I am not for a moment  about to challenge the central aims of Black Lives Matter, or persistent discrimination at work or even what seems to me to be the intractable problem of race as an identifier of knife crime suspects in stop and search. I hope I’m sensitive to  …

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While Trump plays with matches, the USA is a tinderbox…

Before the big pause, I was amazed at how Trump had managed to get through three years of his presidency without any major catastrophes. He has had an entire stream of smaller scandals that would have taken down a less shameless leader but he managed to bumble through. In a strange way, I admire Trump. To be able to look people in the eye and tell such barefaced lies is a real skill. To be caught telling over 5000 lies …

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Eugenics and Scientific Racism…

In early January 2020, Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief Special Adviser, wrote a blog piece in which he advertised for advisers to work in No 10. One of the groupings was for “weirdos” and “misfits”. Andrew Sabisky was appointed. The media trawled through Sabisky’s own blog for his thoughts, finding that he’d said, for example: —There are excellent reasons to think the very real racial differences in intelligence are significantly – even mostly – genetic in origin —One way …

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For Northern Ireland to continue to fight racism we need leadership from right across society…

Issues around race and immigration are making headlines in Northern Ireland and across the UK.  Of course, this is nothing new, it has often been alleged that Northern Ireland stands out as a racist society. The question we face is whether this is fair comment or an exaggeration of the truth? The answer, to me at least, is that, though the great majority of people here are repulsed by racist attacks, we are a society wherein there are fault-lines of …

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Soapbox: As a decent human being it is beholden upon Sammy Wilson to defy these views

Chris Eisenstadt is a US citizen who has been living in Northern Ireland. He is also a member of the Ulster Unionist Party. Here he considers the controversy over Sammy Wilson’s engagement captured by BBC reporter, Conor Spackman. Northern Ireland isn’t a racist place. Sure, it has issues with racism, and a few racists live here, but fundamentally it isn’t a place where racism is part of the fabric of society. It isn’t a place where causal, ignorant and lazy …

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An example of the worst of Belfast and the best of Belfast…

On Monday night a group of males decided it would be a good idea to burn down Asta’s Glam Factory on Castlereagh Street in East Belfast. It is not clear if they felt false nails and tanning was a threat to Ulster or as the police suspect, it was a ‘racist hate crime’. The salon (which only opened last week) was owned by a Lithuanian woman, Asta Samaliute, who as you can imagine was not too happy about finding the business she worked so hard to …

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Anna Lo: “Sectarian politics gets votes in Northern Ireland, and yet sectarian politics continues to fail Northern Ireland over and over again”

Earlier this year, Alliance party MLA Anna Lo, hit the headlines for some of the racist treatment she had recieved. Writing for Slugger, Anna criticises the progress being made on the Racial Equality Strategy and argues for people to embrace different diffierent cultures in Northern Ireland. Sectarian politics gets votes in Northern Ireland, and yet sectarian politics continues to fail Northern Ireland over and over again. It is disappointing to see the draft Racial Equality Strategy, after being in the …

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Facebook: A Breeding Ground For Racism

UPDATED In the past twelve months racist attacks in Northern Ireland have increased by 50%. In the early hours of Sunday morning yet another home was attacked in South Belfast – an attack that the PSNI described as a ‘hate crime’. A bottle was thrown and smashed the living room window of a house owned by a Bangladeshi family on Ulsterville Avenue and a car owned by a Kuwaiti family was set alight. The attacks have been widely condemned by …

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Attack on Orange Hall in Convoy, Co. Donegal

Over the last decade or so there has been a modest revival in the Orange Order and associated bands in parts of the RoI. This has been seen in parts of Donegal as well as the other border counties. Many events in Fermanagh will now see small but growing bands from the RoI. This modest revival is purely religious and cultural: whatever one may think of the political positions of the Orange Order, these are not manifested in the RoI. …

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“Local houses for local people”? Hey, isn’t that the Executive’s preferred housing policy?

Interesting story on BBCNI just now, of what appears to a racialist protest in Garnerville in East Belfast outside the house of Michael Abiona who according to the Beeb “serves in key roles in the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities”. Interesting too that just yesterday the NICEM published a report which noted that “8.3% of reported cases were successfully prosecuted between this January and April”. Abiona told the BBC… “A woman told me the place should be meant for locals, she said there are …

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For race and community relations, fundamentalism has no answers

The present race row reminds me of a story from the bad old days.  To give the camera crews a decent sequence of the Saturday matinee in Derry, a very tall black squaddie used to sprint down Chamberlain St and run the gamut of stones, bricks and bottles from the freedom fighters. Back safe he turned to the cameramen. “There, told you,” he said, breathless but beaming. “The problem of this place  isn’t Catholic and Protestant. It’s race!” Black humour …

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Anna Lo to step down before the next Assembly elections

And she’s citing racism as a primary reason… The BBC has a reference to it, which tops a previous story text about Pastor Jack McConnell, and the ‘supporting’ remarks of Peter Robinson… [Helpfully joining up the dots just in case anyone missed it? – Ed] You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular …

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BBC’s differential responses to racism: Jeremy Clarkson vs David Starkey

Jeremy Clarkson has never been a stranger to controversy. In his latest problem the Daily Mirror obtained film (not broadcast on the BBC) of him reciting the Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe rhyme and including the ‘n’ word albeit muttered and only semi audible. Initially the Clarkson denied using the word but as now issued an apology and has claimed that the BBC has given him a final warning. The BBC has made a statement: “Jeremy Clarkson has set out the …

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McCann meets…Anna Lo MLA #AimHighVoteLo

On Thursday evening I met the Alliance party’s European candidate, Anna Lo MLA for an interview about her experiences as a politician in Northern Ireland, the upcoming European elections and her future. I began by asking her about her experience in being elected in 2007 and the support she garnered from the Chinese community in South Belfast; I was very grateful for the support and really felt very emotional as some of them (Chinese community) had never voted ever in …

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A cold house for Roma

A week ago, Greek police searching a Roma camp discovered a child who looked as though she didn’t belong there. DNA testing proved them – at least in biological terms – correct.

An Garda Síochána were not so lucky.

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NI Human Rights Commission and Council for Minorities clash over racism

Mark Devenport has a very interesting entry on his blog on the BBC. The United Nation’s Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination has been taking evidence in Geneva from various UK pressure groups, including a number of Northern Ireland-based lobbyists. The Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are in disagreement over whether or not to regard sectarianism as a form of racism. In May, the NI Human Rights Commission …

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POTD They haven’t gone away you know

a number of these flyers were posted up overnight/early morning today. There are no identifiers on them. The bottom line reads “Ask your MLA why’s he not spoke out about this or the press” Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in …

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