Desiree Writes

Article For The Racial Justice Network Charter Flights Crime

Charter Flights...

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Article For The Racial Justice Network Let Go Of The Baby

Let Go of The...

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Babylon Awards

Babylon Awards

  “Babylon Awards”.   Been thinking a lot, this time of year does it to you. Years gone, years to come, Queens speeches and golden pianos and then the list… I often wondered what it would be like to refuse an OBE or MBE? I couldn’t accept something with the word ‘Empire’ in it. And I still feel as though it’s a misunderstood, harmful and desperately out of touch word that means one thing to one people and another to the people that suffered empire. Because that is what it means. Deep sufferation, death and brutality, erasure and enforced silences, military and otherwise, torture and land grabs. The past has always been a commodity, repackaged and rebranded, conveniently omitting the continued harm and trauma of empire. Empire means that only certain peoples were allowed the status of human, that the imagined difference made it right to subjugate the ‘other’. Empire continues to mean that lack of recognition. Reading what others think of being offered an MBE or OBE, listening to them feeling like it’s a reflection of our ancestors sacrifice I couldn’t disagree more. We pick and choose which parts of history to reflect on and which parts we want to acknowledge.   Yet more articles that the mainstream media seem so happy to push out by high profile Black personalities defending their acceptance of an award, two in the last week and to my knowledge none countering that stance. Funny that. Is accepting an award one in the eye for Racism? It depends on what definition of Racism you choose to adhere to. Racism, as a huge pervasive structure cannot be tackled just by representation, when we understand that representation is ineffective, hollow and based on unhealthy ideals that are discriminatory. Representation, doled out by oppressive powers can also be easily manipulated, controlled and used as a way to justify the shutting down of any critique about Racism because look, we’re on tv or in a film or writing a piece for The Guardian. But like “Highlander”, there can usually only be one and that one has to represent ALL. We don’t ask this of whiteness. And crucially by taking a component of Racism, like the lack of representation, ends up leaving out huge parts of experience and knowledge that lead to continued and maintained silences, a complete lack of ‘intersectionality’ (shudder), ignorance and ultimately failure. It’s the system that needs to change and the change comes from collective work, not individuals that might like something on the mantelpiece. The Black celebs have felt it necessary and are lucky enough to be given a platform to lay out their carefully considered reasonings for accepting an award.  That accepting them somehow highlights the issues that Black and Brown diasporic peoples have to deal with in this country. (Highlighting to whom? Most of us know) But them not accepting an award, as others have done and laying out their reasons as to why they haven’t could also highlight those issues. There is more than one way to look at a crown. My Grandad proudly proclaimed that he didn’t come on no boat, he came by plane, because England needed him to drive a bus. This generation were the first to encounter British racism on mass, the writings of Sam Selvon illustrate the shock and loneliness of expectations unfulfilled. My Grandad, a man who hated government and bosses, had pictures of the queen on his walls. That cantankerous, loud mouthed, sweary man felt it ok to have the icon of Empire, in his time anyway, in his home, alongside the coloured...

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Salute 21 October Leeds

Salute 21 October Leeds

A part of one of the most iconic moments in sport and race history, silver medallist Peter Norman, from Australia stood beside John Carlos and Tommie Smith as they gave the gloved Black Power Salute during the national anthem. As gestures of silent protests is being reconfigured as signifying attacks on the military and dangerous to state The Racial Justice Network team alongside Leeds Black Film Club, with guests will be hosting the screening of the documentary Salute about Peter Norman followed by discussion and Q and...

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Black Writers Conference, 13 October, Manchester

Black Writers Conference, 13 October, Manchester

    Cultureword’s 9th National Black Writers Conference will take place on Saturday, 13th October 2018. The Conference is for writers and publishers who identify as Black/Asian/BAME/POC. The conference will be covering: digital literature, afro-futurism, mental health, crime, developing audiences, self publishing and the Black Cultural Economy. Over Here Zine Fest, a festival of zines that showcase the work of creatives who identify as Black/Asian/BAME/POC, will also be taking place as part of the Conference. Desiree will be taking part in two events.     Writer Journeys Every writer has a story to tell, rarely do they tell their own. What got them into writing, what kept them going and how, eventually, they achieved success. Panellists: Keisha Thompson, Hirohisa Fukuda, chaired by Desiree Reynolds   And Mad How is our sense of self and our mental health affected by the stories a racialised society projects onto people of colour? Is a significant cause of mental illness among black communities an internalisation of such stories? Is mad a sick alternative to bad? What stories do writers of colour choose to tell that address (or transverse) mental health and why? How do we all maintain our mental well-being as writers and artists? Panellists: Kei Miller, Desiree Reynolds and Col Bashir   https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-writers-conference-2018-tickets-46224769530...

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Desiree talks to Afua Hirsch on Race and belonging, 18th October

Desiree talks to Afua Hirsch on Race and belonging, 18th October

  In collaboration with Our Mel, Festival of Debate, BAME Staff Network – The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students’ Union as part of MelaninFest – Sheffield’s Black History Month Festival. Join Afua Hirsch for a discussion on her Sunday Times Bestseller, Brit(ish). Brit(ish) is about a search for identity. It is about the everyday racism that plagues British society. It is about our awkward, troubled relationship with our history. It is about why liberal attempts to be ‘colour-blind’ have caused more problems than they have solved. It is about why we continue to avoid talking about race. In this personal and provocative investigation, Afua Hirsch explores a very British crisis of identity. We are a nation in denial about our past and our present. We believe we are the nation of abolition, but forget we are the nation of slavery. We are convinced that fairness is one of our values, but that immigration is one of our problems. Brit(ish) is the story of how and why this came to be, and an urgent call for change. This event will be chaired by Desiree Reynolds – journalist, author and a trustee of The Racial Justice Network. This event will take place in Lecture Theatre 4 in The Diamond at The University of Sheffield. Tickets: Free...

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