Guest Blog

Mad World

Authors and book cover

A quick Google search defines mental illness broadly as, ‘a condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behaviour or thinking.’ When we live in a context where a “serious disorder” is often attached to acting and speaking out about racism rather than being racist, we must be critical about our own understandings of mental health and how they have been constructed by those with power.

The Importance of an Intersectional Approach in Social Research

Quote by and pic of Audre Lorde

“There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” – Audre Lorde

In researching BAMER issues in the UK, it is important not to homogenise racial struggle and instead understand the diversity of identities that are present in different racial groups. For this, it is important that we view things from an intersectional perspective.

Spreading Confusion, Potentially Inciting Hatred - Trevor Phillips’ Route to ‘Active Integration’

Trevor Phillips

Anyone reading the recent ‘Civitas’ publicationRace and Faith: The Deafening Silence byTrevor Phillips with commentaries from David Goodhart and Jon Gower Davies, who knew nothing about Phillips could be forgiven for assuming that he was a protégé of or speech writer for Donald Trump, or at least a spokesman for UKIP.

Sanneh and Others – access to welfare for Zambrano carers

Laughing child

If citizenship is the fundamental status for EU citizens, what is its substance for child citizens who are too young to enjoy the rights set out in Articles 21-23 TEU to work, travel, vote or petition the EP? What does the principle in EU law of ‘genuine enjoyment of the substance of citizenship’ mean if you are a child? And what are the implications for your parent or parents? These are central questions for a specific group of children now growing up across the EU – those who themselves hold EU citizenship but their parents do not.

Why the Conservative plan to scrap the European Human Rights Act could be bad news for BME rights in the UK

Judge banging on gavel

The Conservative plan to replace the European Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights could be disastrous for BME communities who enjoy the protection granted by European authorities against unjust deportation, discrimination and the inequalities of the British system.

A second generation south-Asian girl from north-west England

Anushka Asthana

I cringe when I remember an uncomfortable conversation with a female cousin in the 1990s. She ticked me off for what she saw as my arrogant assertion that life in the UK was superior to what she had in India. In my mind - and clearly spewing out of my mouth - was the sentiment that Britain had better roads, better schools, better dress sense, better humour and even (what was I thinking!?) better weather. Perhaps that is why growing up I never really delved into my parents' decision to emigrate in the 1970s. To me - a second generation south-Asian girl from north-west England - it seemed an obvious, life-enhancing choice. It was when those opinions were turned on their head back at home - that it became obvious they were driven less by rationality and more by insecurity about where I belonged.

In Greater Manchester I tried to distance my life from its Indian roots. It's awful now to think back about how I'd be embarrassed of walking with my mum at the shops if she was wearing a traditional salwar kameez, or if she spoke Hindi loudly in public. On the occasions that I would wear a sari to an Indian event I would go to great lengths to avoid being seen by white neighbours, crouching down as I ran from the front door to the car. Perhaps worst of all was the way I felt pleased when a local teenage boy once declared that I was "different to other Pakis". After all I was a girl who daydreamed about what it would be like to have white skin and an English name. Once, when I was very young, I even rubbed talcum powder into my face in a bid to lighten up.

Racism in the delivery of mental health services

Suman Fernando

For many years, black and some other minority ethnic groups have been badly served by our mental health services. Some of the problems can be attributed to the fact that services have not adapted adequately to the fact that the understanding of what is ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ is culturally determined and ‘one size does not fit all’. However, there has been mounting evidence that institutional racism too plays a major role.

A letter home

Rob Berkeley

ROTA recently commissioned Rob Berkeley to write a position paper on the state of racial justice and equality in the UK. Rob has had a long track record in the race equality sector and until recently was the Chief Executive of the Runnymede Trust.  Rob feels that any such paper should be accessible and  informal rather than dry and statistical so he has written it in the form of a “Letter home” to his parents in Grenada summing up  life for Britain’s black communities in 2014.

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