Theo and the distinctly sexual flavour of French racism

by Guilaine Kinouani  Content warning: contains detailed descriptions of sexual abuse On 2 February, a 22-year-old black French man named Theo was allegedly violently raped with a police truncheon, gang assaulted and racially abused by four French police officers in the Parisian suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois. So severe were the anal injuries sustained by Theo that… Read More

Still Barred: Reflections on a Black woman’s trauma and mental health

by Guilaine Kinouani  ‘Each episode of depression I have experienced, I have experienced because of the struggles I have faced in my life as a Black woman’. Those were the words spoken by a fellow panellist who went on to share her personal testimony of distress, as part of the discussion which followed the reading… Read More

Would you intervene if you saw a woman being assaulted on public transport?

When misogynoir meets the bystander effect by Guilaine Kinouani Would you intervene if you saw a woman being assaulted on public transport? What if she was a Black woman being assaulted by a Black man? The ‘bystander effect’ is often used as an explanation for the absence of intervention or helping behaviours when people are… Read More

Freedom of speech is a liberty that is not afforded uniformly within democracies

Charlie Hebdo on Aylan Kurdi: the ultimate act of white entitlement? by Guilaine Kinouani Few pictures have captured the suffering of Syrian refugees as poignantly as the photograph of Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body lying face down and alone on the beach. This picture provided the inspiration for Charlie Hebdo’s most controversial cartoon of late. Captions… Read More

Liberté, égalité, fraternité and a few ‘Nigger Heads’ please: linguistic bigotry in France

by Guilaine Kinouani My sister once recounted the following story. She was in a boulangerie in Paris (where we lived) queuing up for her pain of the day when it became the turn of the White woman in front of her to be served. There is nothing unusual to report in this scene except perhaps… Read More

The language of distress: Black women’s mental health and invisibility

by Guilaine Kinouani I felt privileged to read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful words on depression. The piece, reportedly published in error, has now been removed. The courage and honesty it took for her to come forward and describe her experience with such intimate detail was truly moving. To a large degree, I was not surprised… Read More

“Hatred breeds hatred”: Charlie Hebdo, marginalisation and terrorism

by Guilaine Kinouani Many remember the place of their upbringing with fondness and nostalgia. This may be particularly so for those who through life’s circumstances, have had to leave their childhood home behind. As a Parisian born and cité bred immigrant to the UK, for me the banlieue of Paris evokes memories of multicultural community… Read More