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The rise of anti-semitism in Trump's America

Anti-Semitism is once again on the rise in America. Since January alone, there have been 67 bomb threats against Jewish Community Centres in around 27 states around the country. On Monday, a Jewish cemetery in St Louis, Missouri was desecrated, with over 100 headstones overturned. There has been a large increase in online anti-Semitic threats and hate speechSwastikas have been spray painted on the streets of New York.

[Originally published in the New Statesman] Trump's poorly-executed "Muslim Ban" has closed the United States to people from seven majority-Muslim countries, including refugees from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. But the divisive "them" and "us" rhetoric of the White House has had repercussions for other groups as well.  Jewish people have not explicitly been the focus of any kind of executive order (after complaints about his lack of action, Trump called anti-Semitism "horrible"). Nevertheless, the new administrations appears …
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“Make America White Again”: how US racial politics led to the election of Donald Trump

[Originally published in The New Statesman] Just as Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy came after civil rights protests, the President-Elect’s campaign followed an African-American president. When President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and 2012, there was much talk of the “Obama effect” and what his presidency would mean. In some circles, that talk leaned towards the optimistic, with visions of unity, civil rights advances, and the positive symbolism of his election given America’s history of institutionalised segregation and systematic prejudice. While many liberals have been critical of Obama’s policies and expressed disappointment about what he has done (or failed to do) in office, one underestimated effect was the other side of that coin: the counter-reaction, the anger, sadness and sense of victimisation that eight years of an African-American president would invoke in some Americans. Some of that counter-reaction could be put down to party politics. After all, nobody wants to …

BBC Sunday Morning Live - "Is Islamic extremism caused by religion or politics?" [video]

BBC Sunday Morning Live - "Is America Failing Its Black Community?" [video]

A sad day as Britain decides to leave the EU

On June 23rd, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Although the vote was close at 59.1% in favour of leaving and 48.9% voting to stay (plus quite a lot of regional variation), the reality is that the majority of Brits voted to cut ties with the European Union, a significant economic and political body which Britain has been part of since the early 1960s.

Very few, including those who campaigned to Leave, saw this result coming, a fact that has been made all the more clear by the about-turns and jumping of ships which have been taken place since, including the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Needless to say, I voted to stay in the EU and do not think that leaving is a good idea. Although the EU is imperfect, the solution from my perspective would have been to work on making things better rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water. There is simply too much for the UK to lose by leaving, and too many variables that have the potential…

Buzzfeed: A “Slave Candle” Has Been Pulled From Sale By Selfridges After Complaints by Lola Adesioye

Responding to the backlash, the high-end department store said it agreed the candle, priced at £160, could be viewed as inappropriate. posted on Jun. 21, 2016, at 10:32 a.m. BuzzFeed News Reporter
Luxury department store Selfridges has removed a £160 “liberated slave” candle from sale after customers complained it was inappropriate. Twitter
Lola Adesioye, a writer and commentator from London who now lives in New York, told BuzzFeed News she was browsing the candle section of the Selfridges website last week and was “taken aback” when she noticed the “unusual-looking item”. Selfridges’ website provided little context or background information about the object apart from the caption “Liberated Slave wax bust” and a brief description suggesting it should not be set alight as it is “essentially decorative”. Selfridges Adesioye, who read social and political science at Cambridge University, then visited the website of the candlemaker, Cire Trudon, to find out more about the i…

What England means to me

[Essay originally published on What England Means to Me] England to me means home. It means fond memories of school days; Sundays holed up in a pub drinking wine and eating a succulent roast while discussing the state of the weather with good friends; running to catch a train from Victoria station after a hard day’s work and breathing a sigh of relief once I’m on it and as the train rolls out of central London into the leafier suburbs. England is what I signify to people when I’m abroad. My accent, my sarcastic sense of humour, my values and politeness (such as saying sorry when I really don’t need to) are all products of being brought up in England. “Oh! You’re from England!” people exclaim before asking me whether it really does rain all the time. England is also a part of me that non-English people sometimes don’t understand. “Are there black people in England?” I’m asked that on a regular basis. Yes there are, but we clearly don’t fit into the idea of what Englishness means to ot…

Speaking at Ramapo College [video]

Sky News: Will The #CrimingWhileWhite Hashtag Make A Difference? [video]

After a spate of black people being killed by white police officers, America is taking a closer look at discrimination. But will the "Criming While White" hashtag make any difference?

KNOW WHAT’S SCARIER—AND MORE OF A THREAT—THAN EBOLA? THE RACISM IT’S FUELING.

[Originally published in The Tablet] A hysteria-fueled media paints a continent’s people in grossly stereotypical strokes. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Over the past few years, those with an interest in Africa’s future have sought to overturn what the writer Chimamanda Adichie has termed “the danger of a single story.” Until recently, the single story about Africa, perpetuated mainly through the Western media, had been that of a “dark” continent rife with disease, famine, poverty, and backward attitudes, behaviors, and practices. Yet until the advent of Ebola, a more multifaceted portrayal of modern Africa and its people had been working its way into the mainstream. The world was starting to hear about Africa’s growth and potential, its entrepreneurial and ambitious people, its nations with faster economic growth than any in the West, and the continent’s growing middle class. Unfortunately, the media coverage of Ebola in the past month alone may have taken us back to square…