Dear IRR News subscriber,
Once again, we see politicians using arguments about the freedom to offend to justify the unjustifiable – speech that inflames community tensions and emboldens the far Right who will be marching in Dewsbury on 12 October. In a thought-provoking piece, IRR director Liz Fekete unpicks some of the Conservatives’ reckless vocabulary. She argues that while today, this attempt to deflect criticism of politicians’ use of inflammatory speech takes place in the context of Brexit, tomorrow it could well be extended to dismiss and excuse actual incitement to racial hatred.
We can see the local, violent impact of inflammatory speech in Rotherham, a town in which anti-Muslim racism is a daily occurrence: ‘Being spat at, stared out, called names or having your headscarf ripped off are things that my community expect to happen, all the time,’ says Zlakha Ahmed founder of Apna Haq, a specialist service for minoritised women and children escaping violence in Rotherham. This week, Sophia Siddiqui meets with Zlakha to discuss why specialist services are so essential, particularly when interpersonal violence is so often compounded by state racism.
It is often left to family campaigns to take on the state, as explored by Safia Cissoko in her article on the Justice Pour Adama campaign, following the death of a young black man in custody of the Paris police in 2016. Safia (from Paris) explores the campaign, often regarded as part of France’s Black Lives Matter movement, to ask the broader questions around the structural racism of the French state as a continuation of its colonial history. Our calendar of racism and resistance further documents anti-racist campaigns in UK and Europe.
The nature of anti-racism today is analysed in a landmark article unpacking the concept of ‘white privilege’ by Miriyam Aouragh, which picks up themes first enunciated by A. Sivanandan 35 years ago in ‘RAT and the degradation of black struggle’. Read a press release here and access both articles for free.
IRR News Team