Pubs are important community spaces which are often romanticised as a key part of British culture, but for some – namely people of colour – the local boozer isn’t a place they can enter without feeling like outsiders.
By Faima Bakar
Kevin Divine*, who is Black, has felt that hostility in pubs many times. ‘When you look at all the flags outside a pub and see just white people inside, it makes you think twice,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Pubs are seen as super British but the “Britishness” they represent is kind of at odds with the kind of Britain I occupy and envision.’
‘One time, I went inside and it was like one of those scenes from a Western flick when the out-of-towner steps into a saloon and all the patriots stop what they’re doing and follow his every move.’ ‘Even the bartender forgot he was pouring a pint and let it overflow.’ Kevin, from Hull, – which was named City of Culture in 2017 – is one of many people of colour who have experienced this sense of being unwelcome in pubs across the UK. ‘That was uncomfortable but a part of me found it funny and kind of sad that people have that reaction to me being in the room,’ remembers Kevin. ‘My friends and I wouldn’t go to these places anymore because why put yourself in that environment?’
While it would be unfair to say that all pubs are unwelcoming purely because they’re often adorned with flags, there is tense relationship between Black and brown British people and the Union Jack or the St George’s flag. Some feel it conjures up images of English nationalism or reminds them of far-right movements – such as The National Front, which adopts the Union Jack in its logo. As well as decor, there are other tangible reasons that may deter people from entering or feeling welcome in pubs – including problematic names. Last year, a pub that shared a moniker with slavetrader Edward Colston was renamed after the Black Lives Matter protests. A chain decided to rename three of its establishments – including The Black Boy and The Black’s head – due to their ‘racist connotations’.
After UCL compiled a database of firms connected to slavery, another pub, Greene King, changed its title due the plantation connection of its namesake Benjamin Greene. A study last summer found that one in three people would avoid pubs if they had a racist name or signage.
Kevin isn’t alone in his wariness towards pubs. Anthony, a Filipino person who has lived in Newham his whole life, has a pub at the end of his street – but he never goes in.
Republican members of Congress have not shown the necessary respect for their oaths of office to be treated as the loyal opposition.
By Max Burns, Democratic strategist
After a week trying to bring Senate Republicans into a bipartisan deal, Democrats are moving unilaterally to advance President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan. In other words, they’re doing what they should have been doing all along.
So long as that unpunished extremism remains, Democrats owe it to the American people to shun the party.
Until congressional Republicans show accountability for their role in the inciteful rhetoric and conspiracies that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Democrats shouldn’t be engaging with them. For all of Biden’s laudable talk about unity, and the upsides to passing major legislation in a bipartisan manner, as of now the Republican members of Congress have not shown the necessary respect for their oaths of office to be treated as the loyal opposition.
Seeking bipartisanship with the GOP as it exists today is a threat to good government. Negotiating with the party hitches Democratic — and American — interests to a group whose members include people not only disinterested in but hostile to the workings of democracy.
It’s a far cry from the party of George H.W. Bush, who in 1991 led the GOP in booting Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke over his lifelong white supremacy and unapologetic anti-Semitism. In its place is a party willing to condemn extremism in general while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman Republican from Georgia, weaves another variation on Duke’s anti-Semitism even as she carries on the fight to undermine trust in the 2020 election. Biden is under no obligation to extend a drop of legitimacy to such demagogues.
The GOP can start the process of reform by expelling Greene from the House. Greene has harassed a teenage survivor of the Parkland mass shooting, endorsed violence against Democrats both generally and by name, and cheered on the right-wing extremists who killed a police officer and injured 140 others at the Capitol. Not only has Greene violated her oath of office, she is mocking its exhortation to protect the United States from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Prominent Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been uncharacteristically direct about the threat Greene poses to both the GOP and democratic norms. In a statement Monday, McConnell criticized Greene’s “loony lies and conspiracy theories,” calling them “cancer for the Republican Party and our country.” (Though even in condemnation, McConnell places damage to the Republican brand ahead of the risk Greene and her fellow insurrectionist apologists pose to the country.) Continue reading →
If you’ve been online at any point in the past year—if not, welcome!—your aimless clicks and doomscrolling may have brought you glimpses of the “world” of QAnon: the conspiracy theory that argues that US President Donald Trump is in the midst of a secret war against sex-trafficking, Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Its increasing prominence and power, especially as a worldview dissociated from fact, have compelled many an analyst, journalist, and pundit to festoon their analyses of QAnon in religious language. According to this speculative genre, QAnon is a new American religion, or even a cult. It’s an abusive cabal unlike any other form of belief and practice preceding it.
Enter religious studies scholar Megan Goodwin, co-host of Keeping it 101: A Killjoy’s Introduction to Religion, and author of Abusing Religion: Literary Persecution, Sex Scandals, and American Minority Religions. Fluent in the place of religion in the media, and with a recent book on the religio-political history and power of sex abuse allegations, Goodwin contends that QAnon is far from unprecedented. Goodwin traces the group’s prominence and lineage, as well as its zealous determination to “save the children,” to the rise of the New Christian Right and the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.
Calling QAnon a cult or religion marks the movement for its alterity and supposed irrationality, and hides how its practices are born of American social and political traditions. Its apocalypticism and accusations of pedophilia are but a contemporary symptom of a religiously-inflected political strategy older than Christianity itself. Historical precedents further suggest that the state lacks the tools and incentives to curb the group’s rise. Continue reading →
Clip from the Rachel Maddow show, July 16. In this interview with Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, she alleges she’s heard President Trump use anti-Semitic slurs and the N-word. The White House responded “this is a book of falsehoods, plain and simple.
We spotlight some of the most exciting Black-led creative projects happening in Scotland and further abroad, including the Black Lives Matter mural and Fringe of Colour, and ways you can help out.
Another week, another article – we could get used to this! This week, we’re spotlighting some incredible projects by Black creatives in Scotland and further afield (dare we say…England?), as well as highlighting some causes open for donations. The conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter has definitely dwindled in some circles, but we believe anti-racism requires not only long-term commitment, but also active participation – seeking out names, projects, and stories mainstream white culture might otherwise not expose you to.
To that end, we’ve lined up some of the most exciting work happening in this strange year. Black Lives Matter murals are popping up in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness thanks to a new trail produced by Wezi Mhura. Fringe of Colour, which made huge waves during last year’s Fringe season, is back with its own online arts festival. And we have a whole bunch of books and films we’ve been obsessively reading and watching that we’d love to share with you, too. Read, share, donate – let’s keep the conversation going.
Founded by two University of Edinburgh students, Rianna Walcott and Toby Sharpe, Project Myopia is a call to diversify university curricula through articles, artwork, and video essays that explore texts traditionally left out of the canon. They accept submissions year round, or you can donate here. Image: Susie Purvis. Continue reading →