Stories about racism

Washington may be broken, but it’s not broken enough to let thugs like Trump enter the Oval Office

It seems just like yesterday when a far-right Republican, who I had the misfortune of knowing, told me that he’d rather vote for a donkey than vote for President Barack Obama. That was back in 2012 when the president was running for his second term against Mitt Romney. Now, Romney may not have been as eloquent or academically gifted as Obama, but he certainly was not dope. He was a former governor, an established businessman and the backbone of the Mormon faith. Donkey he certainly was not. Fast forward to today’s campaign season, it appears that the Republican prayers have been answered. Thanks ...

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Dreams of my Muslim son

Long before I came to the United States, I was fascinated by the American electoral process. I grew up in Pakistan in the 80s, during the brutally repressive military dictatorship of President Mohammad Ziaul Haq, when fear crushed hope. Finding old copies of Time magazine in my school library, I learned about primaries and presidential debates — something almost unimaginable in Pakistan at the time. I had a favourite board game where the players’ mission was to become the American president. I watched snippets of news, of the Bush-Dukakis race in 1988 and the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates four years later that ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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No China, this ad IS racist and we are not being ‘sensitive’ about it!

The pursuit and appreciation of fair skin has always been considered to be a desi obsession but this week, an advert shown on Chinese TV showed that this unhealthy preoccupation with fair skin transcends boundaries.  In this seemingly innocuous advert, a Chinese woman beckons a black man, who is wolf whistling at her, dishevelled and wearing dirty clothes. She then proceeds to stuff his body into a washing machine and adds the particular detergent that is being advertised. After the spin cycle is complete, the man emerges as ‘fair’, clean and Chinese. It has, understandably, sparked outrage across social media and ...

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Azealia Banks and our obsession with her attention-seeking “hairy curry scented Punjab” tweets

My niece is a huge ‘One Directioner’ (is that what they are called?) and was heartbroken when the boy band lost one of its key members, Zayn Malik. We insist on a special connection with this young musical icon on account of sharing a nationality and probably having a Zain for a classmate or a Malik for a neighbour. This gives us the inalienable right to judge him of course; from his tattoos to the racy lyrics of his new singles. “Haw Haey! Larka haath sey nikal gaya!” (The boy is getting out of hand!) He should thank his lucky stars he isn’t a ...

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Tip of my tongue: Navigating the silences of being Chinese and female

Memories murmur. In my flesh, in the flesh of the world. My migration story, beginning two decades ago in 1995, is made up of many of these murmurs and some have taken years to unearth and delve into. When a new friend in the seventh grade asked me if I ate dog, I thought it a strange question, said “no” and told no one. It’s not like my family talked about what it meant to assimilate into a new country. We didn’t talk about the immigration experience — however life changing — we simply, quietly and peacefully attempted to blend in. Even after an ...

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Zootopia: When sly foxes and funny bunnies go after dark matters

Zootopia is the latest Disney 3D animation production that tells the story of a rabbit named Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) who wants to change the stereotypes between predators and their prey. Along the way, she meets a con artist fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and together they solve the case of missing animals in Zootopia. Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, Zootopia is the 55th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and subtly touches upon dark subject matters like racism, ethnicity issues and sexism. Could this film continue the winning streak of Disney’s animation films? [caption id="" ...

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Why are Emojis so… sexist?

“Mummy, I can’t find an emoji of a female architect or ski-instructor online,” said my confused daughter. It was so true. If I was a frustrated looking at images of a dainty ballerina, a salsa dancer or a bride emoji, representing the entire female populace of the world, you can just imagine the confusion it must have caused my poor daughter. In most of the applications, all the professional emojis depict men in different forms of employment; a detective, a cop and a paramedic! For those who don’t already know, an emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an ...

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Do we really want to find out if Trump is another Hitler?

On a page that is dedicated to sharing glimpses into people’s lives, the unexpected took place on March 14, 2016, when ‘Humans of New York’ founder Brandon Stanton exposed his own sentiments in an open letter to Donald Trump. This letter took the internet by storm, receiving over two million likes and one million shares on Facebook. “An Open Letter to Donald Trump: Mr. Trump, I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ ...

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Why did my daughter always pick a petite doll with lustrous blonde hair?

It is pertinent for children to grow up with a realistic idea of beauty. I know and support this because being a mother of a five-year-old daughter; I have closely witnessed how the toys we choose and introduce to our children play a huge part in constructing their ideals of beauty. My daughter always picks a petite doll with blonde lustrous hair, and she roots for Maria Sharapova rather than Serena Williams during a tennis match. Perhaps, inadvertently, the toys I choose for her has begun to limit her idea of beauty and acceptance. Here, I would like to add another important observation ...

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