From Windrush to Stephen Lawrence, modern-day Britain is stained with examples of systemic oppression and violence. As George Floyd’s murder has ignited the fires of protest across the pond, it’s time we took a look at our country’s own sins

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Alisdare Hickson / Wikimedia Commons

Belly Mujinga was a worker at Victoria Station for almost a decade and a doting mother to an 11-year-old girl. On 21 March 2020, a man spat at her and a colleague, laughing and boasting of having coronavirus. Just over a fortnight later, Mujinga passed away in a London hospital at only 47 years of age, having tested positive for Covid-19. A subsequent enquiry determined that her death was not related to the assault and that no further action would be taken — despite one person receiving a 56-day prison sentence for spitting on a police officer that same month.

Rashan Charles was a 20-year-old black man from London, renowned as a “darling” who was devoted to his family and community. Suspected of having taken drugs, a Metropolitan police officer chased and restrained him in a Hackney supermarket on 22 July 2017, where he was told to “spit out” whatever he had swallowed (later discovered to have been caffeine and paracetamol). Charles was then taken to hospital, where he passed away, under a month after a London-based black Portuguese man, Edir Federico ‘Edson’ da Costa, died in similar circumstances. …


Once idolised as the epitome of “cool”, post-Brexit Britain has lost much of the sparkle that made it so appealing to its continental neighbours

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Nick Fewings / Unsplash

At 11pm tonight, the UK will finally be calling it quits on the EU, after a nearly four-year-long mess of an exit. The process is far from over — indeed, the transition period will last until the end of 2020 — but the country’s departure is now set in stone. “We’re out!”, to quote David Dimbleby as he read the incoming results on that fateful June morning of 2016.

“Brexit Day”, as it’s so been called, is inevitably bringing a mixed set of reactions to a population which is just as divided today as it was at the time of the referendum. But for European citizens, not only the over three million residing in the UK, but those on the continent as well, today represents much more than just a political fracture — rather, it’s the nail in the “British dream”’s coffin. …


As bisexual men, we face erasure and harmful stereotypes at the hands of a society which refuses to acknowledge our existence — and it’s keeping us in the closet

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Annotee / Adobe Stock

It’s the 23rd of September, which marks Bisexual Visibility Day, an occasion for all of us identifying with the third letter of the LGBTQ+ alphabet to celebrate our existence. In a world where advancing rights for the queer community are often met with intensifying violence and a reactionary socio-political backlash, Pride days in any shape or form are not just cheerful celebrations but indispensable lifelines for all LGBTQ+ people. Nevertheless, for bisexuals, and especially bisexual men, they represent something slightly different. For us, it’s not just about fighting for our rights, but fighting for a chance to be acknowledged in the first place. …


Conservative politicians ought to look at their party’s own horrific record on immigration and xenophobia before taking the moral high ground over their brasher counterparts across the pond

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“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” President Donald Trump tweeted from his phone this Sunday, part of a tirade against four Democratic Congresswomen of colour, three of whom are American-born. It’s the kind of comment immigrants and their descendants are accustomed to hearing from disgruntled hooligans, “I’m-not-racist-but…” neighbours, and alt-right bloggers, but to read such words from the POTUS himself truly is the plastic jewel in the cardboard crown of a man who has long record of xenophobic language and policies, from calling African countries “shitholes” to separating families at the US-Mexico border. Unsurprisingly, the tweets sparked an international furore, earning the condemnation of major political figures from around the world. …


It’s time to take a seat and reflect on what it means to be queer

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Ylanite Koppens / Pexels

Ever since Pride Month came into existence and began to achieve international recognition, we’ve all heard that same line that gets thrown around year after year whenever rainbow flags start to appear: “if LGBTQ+ people can have pride, why can’t we have straight pride?” While it’s the sort of phrase that has been traditionally relegated to Twitter brawls and “devil’s advocate”-type conversations, this year it appears the once-unthinkable concept will very likely be turned into a reality — thanks to an organisation called Super Happy Fun America, “Straight Pride” will come to Boston this August, aiming to “create spaces for people of all identities to embrace the vibrancy of the straight community.” The group even boast their own “blue and pink” flag, one which they claim has “represented our community for 0.4 years.” …


As the FIFA Women’s World Cup unfolds over the coming weeks, it’s vital to remember how decades of misogyny, envy and social stigma destroyed a once-blossoming sport — and how the path to equality in football is far from over

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Dick, Kerr’s Ladies football club, 1921

World Cup fever is back. This time, it’s the lesser-known sibling of FIFA’s international men’s football competition, the Women’s World Cup, which has just kicked off in France and will last until 7 July. The American team, the current reigning champions, have entered the tournament vying to keep hold of the cup, with star striker Alex Morgan already serving them a whopping five goals in a match which saw Thailand’s team crushed 13–0. While they’re the bookies’ favourite, millions of fans around the world are watching attentively to see if their team will manage to pinch the cup and take it home. It’s all the usual stuff that drives football fans crazy during World Cup season and yet, while its popularity is on the rise, the Women’s World Cup doesn’t hold the same international prominence as its male counterpart. Indeed, until a few years ago, many may not have even known of its existence. …


After years of being made to feel voiceless and unwelcome in their own home, the voter suppression of EU citizens in the European elections comes as little surprise

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European citizens in the UK have been disenfranchised since the very beginning of the Brexit process. From the days of the Referendum, they’ve been hurled around as part of a political game with a total disregard for their rights, livelihoods and basic sense of humanity, all the while having no say on their fate in this country. Over the last three years, EU nationals have been called everything from “bargaining chips” to “queue jumpers”, have been put through a degrading application system to stay in their own homes, and now, have seen their voting rights come under threat.

Hundreds of EU citizens throughout Britain have been reporting issues voting in yesterday’s European elections, being turned down for various reasons. On top of the standard registration, EU nationals (excluding those from Ireland, Malta or Cyprus) in the UK were required to fill in a UC1 form to confirm that they wouldn’t be voting in their country of citizenship. Nevertheless, issues relating either to lack of proper communication at a local level, tardily-sent forms, local authorities not registering UC1s upon arrival and officials telling voters to cast their ballot “in their home country” ultimately hindered numerous European citizens from exercising their democratic right. As expected, the feeling of indignation is palpable, with the trending “#DeniedMyVote” Twitter hashtag serving as a space to vent feelings of frustration. …


The cheerfully-optimistic formula of self-motivation manuals and “pop psychology” may have an obvious charm, but in many cases its inadvertent harm outweighs potential benefits

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Victor Freitas / Unsplash

Social media is oversaturated with “motivation porn” — “The Five Easy Steps To Success”, “Do This And You’ll Find Happiness”, “Take Back Control Of Your Life”, “Ten CEOs Reveal Their Top Tips in Climbing The Career Ladder”, “How To Succeed In Your Dreams”, you know the mantra. An endless flurry of bullet-point articles, inspirational quotes, how-to manuals and testimonial photos, widely shared and posted across the Internet. A lot of these are fundamentally based on different kinds of “pop psychology”, part of the self-help and “human potential” movements which sprung up in the post-war US and ended up gaining mainstream appeal in the Western world. Without the need for a psychology degree, by now anyone with some common sense and a flair for the written word could produce a best-selling book heralding the end to people’s problems through their very own miraculous formula. …


The racist treatment and historical erasure of Titanic’s Chinese survivors should make us reflect on our current treatment of immigrants

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It’s been 107 years since RMS Titanic sunk in the Atlantic Ocean, rendering the early hours of 15 April 1912 one of the most fateful of modern history. The ship’s ill-fated maiden journey has grasped the attention of artists, filmmakers, historians and naval enthusiasts throughout the past century, most iconically in James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster which transformed the tragedy into the biggest romantic epic of recent memory. We all know the standard narrative – the lack of necessary lifeboats, the tremendous loss of over 1,500 lives (predominantly of third-class and male), and the many jet-setters and famous socialites who were on the ship, several of whom also did not survive. Nevertheless, there is one detail from Titanic’s history which has been erased from popular consciousness, and has only recently re-emerged – the story of its six Chinese passengers’ survival and subsequent rejection and deportation from the United States. …


When a television commercial promoting basic human decency ignites a global controversy, it says more about those who are offended than it does about the ad’s content

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A new controversy has been stirring online. This time, it’s over a recent advert by Gillette, which takes a stab at toxic masculine culture with the updated logo “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”. Refusing to follow the standard formula of selling male body or other cosmetic products under the pretence of “alluring women”, the commercial instead focuses on the aim of men improving themselves, touching on various themes such as the #MeToo movement and childhood bullying. Upon its release, the furore has been palpable — from a roughly two-to-one dislike ratio on YouTube, to television commentators such as Piers Morgan heralding it a “war on masculinity”. Boycotts have even been called on social media: “I will never use [Gillette] again, and neither will my father, collectively been your customers for 50+ years,” one particularly disgruntled Twitter user openly declares in a tweet with over 2,000 likes. …

About

Andrea Carlo

23-y/o Britalian, Oxford grad, published poet & singer/songwriter. Feminist, progressive & unafraid to share my views | Bylines: Indy, Metro, The Times, Huffpo

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