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Everything you know is untrue
Imagine for a moment that all you knew about Muslims was what you saw on television and you had only been watching it for a year. Not studying television or examining ethnicity, just glancing at it while you do other things. Coming across depictions of Muslims the same way you come across depictions of, say, the French, the elderly or the unions.
Under a veil of deceit
Having endured the racist carping of some of the women, compounded by the sexist buffoonery of many of the men, it was left to her to spell out that their selective and discriminatory notions of femininity excluded her and millions of black women. In a now famous speech, which drew resounding applause, she said: "I have borne 13 children and seen them most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me. And ain't I a woman?"


Notting Hill Carnival dancers in their colourful costumes. Photo: PA
The politics of partying
As 1958 drew to a close, a despondent mood drew over the offices of the West Indian Gazette in Brixton, south London. A decade after the Windrush docked, with the symbolic arrival of the postwar generation of black Britons, a series of racist attacks in Nottingham had sparked several nights of rioting in mid-August. By the end of the month, conflict had spread to west London, to Notting Hill, where white youths regularly went "nigger hunting".
Images that mock reality
So it was a couple of years ago when I broke bread with some rightwing ideologues. They were complaining about the "unnatural" tendencies of homosexuals and the slide in public morals that "tolerated" them. Ranting about being deluged by the gay lobby, the guest of honour was describing her crusade against permissiveness. "What I'm trying to say," she said, "is that it's like I'm sticking my finger in the hole of a large dyke."
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Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
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