Dear IRR News subscriber,
Happy New Year!
The IRR marks the start of 2019 by remembering Barbara Harlow who died in January 2017 and A. Sivanandan who passed away a year ago.
Concerned about the analysis of racial discrimination offered up by the Guardian in its recent investigation into everyday ‘unconscious bias’, the IRR’s Jenny Bourne revisits Sivanandan’s 1985 critique of Racism Awareness Training, where he distinguishes between attitude, action and state or institutional racism. She argues that the recent focus on bias returns racism to individual attitude (if unconscious) and fails to take on Sivanandan’s observation that racism affects different classes and communities differentially.
Another of the IRR’s close colleagues, activist and teacher, Barbara Harlow was a highly-influential critic in the fields of feminist and post-colonial theories, Middle Eastern and African literatures and gender studies. We use the phrase ‘solidarity here and everywhere’, coined by Edward Said, a contemporary of Barbara’s, to title the January 2019 memorial issue of Race & Class, guest edited by Avery F. Gordon and Neville Hoad, published this week.
Structured racism against refugees and migrants and European-wide institutional indifference to the hardships they suffer, are once again the principal focus of our regular calendar of racism and resistance. This week, in Lesvos, a 24-year-old man from Cameroon died at the Moria refugee camp; the most likely cause of death, hypothermia. Meanwhile, desperate people, rescued by NGO search and rescue ships off the shores of Libya, were left stranded at sea for weeks when refused permission to disembark in Malta. Nothing unconscious about this! It is European policy, hammered out on the anvil of hostile environment principles, that is responsible for these outrages.
IRR News Team