It’s our 2nd birthday today and we’ve come over a bit emotional! Last week we found that we’d had over 1 million visitors to the site. This is exciting mainly because people out there are reading challenging materials, getting involved in discussions and engaging with perspectives generally not found elsewhere.
Firstly a BIG shout out to all the wonderful writers, especially columnists, Chimene, Shane, Maya and Huma and the team Henna, Louisa, Samira, Melanie, Yasmin, Sunili, Tara, Kiri, Maurice, Kelly,Mend, Desiree Adefemi and Afroze! Without whom none of this is possible.
Over the next month you’ll see us fundraising. Some of the reasons for that are that we plan to start an investigations team, working with other organisations and journalists both in the UK and abroad. We want to branch out into podcasts and video content from young thinkers in politics and popular culture and provide media training for experts who have no experience in front of a camera or on radio. So if you enjoy reading our articles help us continue to provide more! Media Diversified is 100% reader-funded – you can subscribe for as little as £5 per month here
In the last two years we have taken great pride in being directly responsible for formerly unpublished writers being published in Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, New Statesman, Open Democracy and others. We’ve enjoyed producing the Eight Women Awards – celebrating high achieving women of colour – for 2 years and our first The Trashies awards this year!
We’ve been linked to by The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Vanity Fair, CNN, Daily Beast, The Nation, New Statesman to name a few. We’ve also been featured on BBC Radio, Aljazeera English and in Grazia magazine.
Earlier this year we launched the Media Diversified Experts directory, to diversify the media landscape one broadcaster at a time.
Our Other Politics series curated by Kiri Kankhwende gave alternative much-needed views from advocacy groups and others during the General Election period. The feminisms of colour series, “Complicit No More” – curated by Yasmin Gunaratnam, culminating in a live panel event and heated discussion -was the highlight of many people’s 2014!
In association with the Bush Theatre we put on a workshop for aspiring theatre critics, many of whom we still work with today.
Seems long ago now, but only two months ago we hosted a Literatures of Colour panel at the Stoke Newington Literary festival. Our intention was by discussing the experiences of writers of colour and examining what makes our work distinct we can nurture and develop talent and our own forms of literary expression.
Later this year look out for our very own writers of colour literary festival. We’re still in planning stages but our aims are thus:
– celebrate prose and poetry created by people from ethnic minorities and the global south (with a focus on the former)
– an opportunity for artists to showcase their work and interact with their audience and other artists
– a chance for upcoming artists to try out new things and spark collaborations
It will include:
– Panel discussions on themes relevant to the grou
– Workshops and facilitated improvisation
– Readings and performances
– Opportunities for writers and publishers to share and sell their work
– Social and networking
We’ve got lots of exciting things planned for our readers this week, but thought first we’d share the top 10 most read articles we’ve published over the last two years!
Thanks for all your support, good wishes and for continuing to read the articles we publish.
Samantha Asumadu – Editor-in-chief
Taimour Khan discusses how beards are cool and edgy if you’re white and a cause of suspicion if you’re not.
‘In the last decade bearded men of colour have become so synonymous with the caricature of an ever-present threat that communities such as the Sikh Community have suffered immensely, due to the heightened paranoia. Most elements of society are guilty of exploiting and furthering the fear of the bearded figure, from the right-wing press to film.’
What makes Lovecraft especially challenging now is that his racism is inextricable from what he is lauded for. In The madness of HP Lovecraft. Phendershon Djeli Clark shows him to be a writer whose primary virtue was his vulnerability to all-consuming existential terror, and ability to express it. Modern readers must assess without trying to deny or explain away the hatred and inhumanity that came from said terror.
‘I had come to believe that by now the racism of H.P. Lovecraft, the celebrated author of horror and fantasy, was a settled matter–like declaring Wrath of Khan the best film in the Star Trek franchise. Arguing against such a thing should be absurd. I certainly thought so after the matter was thrust into the spotlight in December 2011, when author Nnedi Okorafor won the esteemed World Fantasy Award–whose statuette is none other than H.P. Lovecraft’s disembodied head. Okorafor had been unaware of the depths of Lovecraft’s “issues,” until a friend sent her his 1912 poem, On the Creation of Niggers, where blacks are fashioned by the gods as “a beast . . . in semi-human figure.”
This was no one-off, some “misspeak” by the author. Lovecraft’s racial biases ran deep and strong, as evidenced by his stories–from exotic locales with tropic natives lacerating themselves before mad gods in acts of “negro fetishism” (Call of Cthulhu), to descriptions of a black man as “gorilla-like” and one of the world’s “many ugly things” (Herbert West-Reanimator).Follow @pdjeliclark
Teacher Darren Chetty describes a little discussed phenomenon:
‘I’ve spent almost two decades teaching in English primary schools, which serve multiracial, multicultural, multifaith communities. I want to explore two things I have noticed.
1) Almost without exception, whenever children are asked to write a story in school, children of colour will write a story featuring white characters with ‘traditional’ English names who speak English as a first language.
2) Teachers do not discuss this phenomenon.
Furthermore, simply pointing these two things out can lead to some angry responses in my experience.
Why are you making an issue of race when children are colourblind?”
is an example of the sort of question that sometimes gets askedFollow @rapclassrom
‘Is there a way for media to applaud opponents of Serena Williams without belittling her or being reductive?’ Ahmed Sule discuses the historical factors, why she is hated, whether it is racism, what can be done to stop it, the role of media in generating the hatred , the online player haters, the implication of the hatred nd why Serena is not affected by the racism she faces.
When people like me, they tell me it is in spite of my color. When they dislike me, they point out that it is not because of my color. Either way, I am locked into the infernal circle. ~ Frantz Fanon
‘Tennis, like most other sports, has had its fair share of “goodies and baddies”; the heroes and the villains. While it’s obvious that Williams falls into the baddie/villain category, unlike the angst directed at other “villains of the game” such as John McEnroe, the angst directed at Williams is not only troubling, but also unprecedented.’Follow @Alatenumo
‘When Malala Yusufzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen simply because she wanted to gain an education it sent shockwaves around the world.
The Western media took up the issue, Western politicians and the public spoke out and soon she found herself in the UK. The way in which the West reacted made me question the reasons and motives behind why Malala’s case was taken up and not so many others.
There is no justifying the brutal actions of the Taliban or the denial of the universal right to education, however there is a deeper more historic narrative that is taking place here.
This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalised. Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armour to save her.
The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations the wars all seem justified now, “see, we told you, this is why we intervene to save the natives.”
The truth is that there are hundreds and thousands of other Malalas. They come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places in the world. Many are victims of the West, but we conveniently forget about those as Western journalists and politicians fall over themselves to appease their white-middle class guilt also known as the white man’s burden.’Follow @AssedBaig
In his not to miss bi-monthly column Shane Thomas is known for leading where others follow. His article on racism in clubs has now had mainstream press attention but only months later. But he doesn’t let their time keeping bother him and is ON POINT time after time.
‘You may be of the mindset that this issue can be rectified by eschewing going to these venues, or maybe you’re an introverted person, and would never dream of spending your weekend in a bar or club. But the problem remains that these clubs are a symptom of the systemic racism in this country, that far too many like to tell themselves doesn’t exist’Follow @tokenbg
That is the question. And in a piece that may need a trigger warning for not only the language but the seeming hopelessness Emma Dabiri passionately and powerfully explains not only who stole all the Black Women from Britain, but why.
‘Here in the UK, the visibility of black women in representations of mainstream Black British culture is such that you might be forgiven for thinking we are an endangered species. The near erasure of Black British women from this terrain, which is in the main dominated by black men and white women, is rarely commented upon, despite its prominence. What is actually going on here? Is this some manifestation of the quite frankly ridiculous Eldridge Cleaver quote above. Or is it something else?’
Igloo Australia needs no introduction, but Shane Thomas’s take on her appropriation is as relevant today as it was last year when we first published it.
‘Popular culture is one of the few things that link a large portion of this country – and further afield. It’s one of many aspects of how we mediate our relationship with ourselves, and those around us. This very website is founded on such a belief. So you’re not going to get much change with me by stating that popular culture doesn’t matter.
A thoughtful read by David Osa Omaduson on class, ethnicity, education and the “mundane violence” of cultural value.
‘Here’s the scenario: two children, one white and one black, walk into an exhibition filled with portraits of white people. Both children enjoy it. After the exhibition they make self-portraits out of food. The black child asks for brown ingredients – cocoa pops, hot chocolate powder – to represent his skin in the portrait. The white child does not bother with colour in the same way. Her whiteness is not a colour that needs to be marked or thought about, it is naturalized as normal, a seamless part of the wall-to-wall whiteness of the surrounding exhibition. On closer inspection the portraits show further nuances of colouring and also commonality. Other features such as nose, lips, eyes and hair were not represented mimetically. As the brown skin colour of the portrait on the left stands out because of its purposeful colouring, it creates a link between the child and their artwork, making visible what is taken for granted in this space – whiteness.’
This article by Blogueiras Negras about Brazil’s new TV show ‘Sexo e as Negas’ caused one hell of a stir. It got picked up by outlets across the U.S and at one point we were in fear of a lawsuit. So it’s a must read
‘In racist discourses, Black women are those who work for sex, while the white woman is the woman who is worthy of romantic love, kindness and respect. These same dualities are repeated in “Sexo e as Negas”, where the main character is a white woman who seeks love, while the black women live only for sex, which reminds us of another Brazilian expression which also has its roots in slavery and has remained practically unchanged – “White women are for marriage, mulatas are for fucking and black women are for work”.’
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