It’s tempting to focus on the beautiful scenes of black joy at Afronation, which from the looks of my timeline was dripping in sauce and a huge success. No thanks to the doubting Thomas’ who tried to predict disaster – namely, one girl’s uncle who said he dreamed that there would be a huge “incident”, causing her to sell her ticket.
Putting that to the side there were a lot of other depressing things that occurred during the week including racialised attacks against Meghan Markle for the cover of September Vogue which she guest-edited. Also, the US has again faced a devastating terrorist attack in the name of Trump and white supremacy.
Here’s what went down in the past week.
Two mass shootings took place in the US, but are the victims white enough?
It’s unsurprising that it took immense public pressure for President Donald to mention white supremacy as being one of the key reasons behind at least one of the two mass shootings that kicked off the news cycle this week in tragic fashion.
The first shooting, which took place El Paso, Texas, was carried out by a 21-year-old in response to what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas”. Twenty people were killed and the incident is being treated as a possible hate crime. This came only a few weeks after Trump vociferously told Hispanic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three of her colleagues to “go home”.
Meanwhile, at the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, although the police said that the quick timing of the violence made any discrimination in the shooting seem unlikely, of nine victims, six of them were black.
There are legitimate fears that these incidents will not be treated with the seriousness they deserve because the victims are mainly black and brown, especially if we remember that more terrorists have cited Donald Trump as the motivation for their attacks in the US than ISIS and Osama Bin Laden combined.
Camilla Tominey was paid to write an op-ed claiming that five white women on Meghan Markle’s Vogue cover was NOT ENOUGH
Will any of you ever let Meghan Markle breathe? She literally can’t do anything right under the eagle eye of the media. The September edition of Vogue, entitled “Forces for Change”, features the faces of 15 trailblazers for change that the Duchess admires, 10 of whom are women of colour.
This is something that has perturbed The Telegraph (*cough* Torygraph), and their associate editor Camilla Tominey, who published an infuriating opinion piece that shivering with white fragility. Her take that five women were not enough to represent her was drenched in privilege, considering that during former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman’s 25-year reign, only two black women were given solo covers.
When quizzed on this she said, “on the whole, mainstream ideas sell”, as if people of colour are a fringe group with inaccessible niche interests. Despite this fact, Camilla says it is Meghan who is showing bias. It’s not enough that as a white, brunette woman, she is overrepresented on every platform, she must use this moment to tear down any hint of progress.
Meghan Markle is using her platform to raise awareness of powerful women of colour and is educating her white boyfriend about unconscious bias. The stick she gets is not based on any logic, it is just part of the hateful rhetoric that runs through the veins of much of the British media. I don’t even like the royals, but due to the racialised nature of the insults, I’m getting louder and louder in defending Meghan’s right to RIP (royal in peace).
• In case women of colour weren’t suffocated enough by imposter syndrome, Strictly Come Dancing’s Louie Spence has said that new judge Motsi Mabuse was only chosen to tick the diversity box. He really wanted Anton Du Beke to get the job, because all we need is more white men voicing their opinions.
• New BET comedy-drama Sistas, which centres on a group of single black females, has announced its cast. The series will star KJ Smith, Ebony Obsidian, Mignon Von, and Novi Brown.
• Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio has become Victoria’s Secret’s first trans model. This comes after their lingerie CEO stepped down after refusing to put transgender models in their shows because “the show is a fantasy”.
• Saudi Arabia will allow women to go abroad and travel unaccompanied by a male guardian in new laws passed this week.
•Big Sean has been cast in Lena Waithe’s upcoming series Twenties that follows the adventures of queer black girl Hattie and her two straight best friends.
• Washington is the 17th US State to add a non-binary “x” gender option to driving licenses and other state ID documents.
• Marvel has put out a casting call for a transgender actor of any ethnicity, thought to be for the role of Sera, Marvel’s only existing transwoman superhero in Thor: Love and Thunder.
• A Muslim woman was filmed screaming “shame” and other homophobic abuse at LGBTQI+ people celebrating pride in Waltham Forest. Disappointingly, many online are using the incident to peddle Islamophobia instead of condemning all forms of hate.
• The anti-racism student campaigners at Goldsmiths University won their fight after 137 days in occupation.
• 18-year-old Khadijah Mellah, from Peckham, is the first hijab-wearing Muslim jockey to race in Britain and won her first race after only three months of horse-riding.
• British Asian medicine student Bhasha Mukherjee, 23, has been crowned Miss England 2019.
Moment of the week
Body diversity within Asian models is rarely seen, so activist and body confidence coach Michelle Elman took matters into her own hands, producing a beautiful photoshoot including curvy Asian women of all shades, shapes, ages. “All Asians aren’t the stereotype of being small and petite. Being Asian is not one look. Being Asian is not one culture,” she wrote on Instagram.
*Names have been changed at the request of the source
This article is a part of gal-dem’s Race Review column, a weekly news roundup centring the issues faced by people of colour.