1) Priyamvada Gopal has a brilliant article in today’s Guardian about the CBB / Shilpa Shetty controversy. She has solidly hit the nail on the head (she is a NGN signatory after all).
For British Asians, the public display of familiar battles poked at raw wounds, inspiring large numbers to protest. I would feel a lot more excited about this apparent resurgence of anti-racist awareness if recent years had shown more evidence of a genuine activist spirit among us. Where were these tens of thousands of protesting voices when young Zahid Mubarak died at the hands of a white racist cellmate with whom he should not have been made to share a cell? When a few hundred Sikh women protested alone at discriminatory treatment by British Airways meal supplier Gate Gourmet?
A large part of the problem is that, apart from the sterling work done by a few dedicated individuals and organisations, anti-racist politics has become a facile “representation” game that involves appeasing the fragile sensitivities of a vocal few claiming to represent the whole community. It is about harassing artists and writers, demanding that they conform to “right” ways of representing the community.
Just as nauseating is the play-off between ugly white slags and beautiful Indian princesses – a familiar Orientalist male fantasy.
2) The Fawcett Society has published a report from a round-table discussion it held in December on the subject of feminism and Muslim women, taking into account the veil controversy last year. Worth reading for sure and I’ll be publishing an article about it this week.
3) I’m not sure if the big G wants to attract more British Muslim readers or get more non-Muslims to engage in a controlled (but relaxed) media space. Either way the first of the paper’s Islamophonic podcasts by journalist Riazat Butt went online yesterday. But I have a few issues:
Firstly they seem unsure of their audience otherwise they wouldn’t be reycling old arguments most British Muslims would have already heard on the war and terrorism.
Secondly: what about British Hindus and Sikhs? I say this because it’s meant to be a humorous and relaxed insight into British Muslim life but the obvious subtext is – ‘we’re only doing this because people are interested in Muslims since they’re blowing people up’. If that is not the subtext or they want to avoid it, they should include other minority groups at least so it develops a broader feel that hasn’t got the T-word hanging over it.
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Current affairs,Race politics,Religion