Germans are so committed to convincing each other – and themselves – to have a second beer that there is a saying to deploy in such situations: Auf einem Bein kann man nicht stehen – literally, you cannot stand on one leg. This implies, somehow, that you can’t have just one beer and you need a second. Nevermind the fact that with each successive beer standing becomes generally harder and harder, no matter how many legs you started out with.Read More »
It’s fucked up how much and how often I talk and think about everyday racism, but when I actually encounter it have no nicely thought-out action ready. Whether it’s directed at me or at others, I act like a deer in the headlights: freeze. Silently will the other person(s) to become distracted by something else. Wonder if I should physically remove myself from the situation. Try and fail to think of words. Definitely fail (not even try) to say something.
So yeah, concrete situation: today I wanted to sit on a bench by the river but all the benches were occupied. One only had one person sitting there, so I politely asked if the space was still free. He said yes, and moved over to make space. He told me not to ask next time and just sit down. I said oh, I didn’t know, maybe he was saving the seat for someone else, I didn’t want to be impolite. He kind of shrugged off the idea of having to be polite, but then kind of conceded that asking was okay, too. And then the punch to the gut – he added, yeah, maybe asking was good, some people don’t ask, mainly Arabs.Read More »
I was surprised by The Economist’s recent headline piece (‘Clean energy’s dirty secret’, February 25th). Not because it didn’t jibe with my worldview – that I could’ve guessed from the title – but rather by the omission of significant facts and perspectives in the story and the lack of a clear argument to reach its conclusion. I have come to expect and respect level-headed analysis from this newspaper, even on matters over which we disagree. Pro-stability and neoliberal though it leans, it is usually at least thorough and logical. Not so this time.Read More »
“White people can’t play badminton.” This thought echoes through my mind every Tuesday during my weekly badminton session. I look around the university gym for a court I can join, taking mental note of which (white) people seem all too pleased just to be able to hit the shuttlecock over the net or who are laughing and joking too much and whom, therefore, I shall not play with. My eyes linger forlornly on the handful of Asians in the gym, smashing the birdie without mercy, creating that delicious popping sound. Alas, these brown folks are usually already embedded in a group of four. Read More »
Not heavy. Intense. That’s how I want to describe Forushande (The Salesman). Only when the end credits started rolling did I allowemyself to breathe again. The film is naked and honest without being either raw or banal.Read More »
South of the border is a crass, brash, crude, cruel, snarling, heartless, stupid, mean, linguistically challenged bigot, racist and misogynist. His counterpart north of the border is all smiles and warmth, projects compassion and love, is eloquent and the face of fun and good cheer, can pass the strictest of political correctness tests, calls himself a feminist and reminds us at every chance how much he welcomes refugees, Muslims, immigrants and diversity. And why wouldn’t he be smiling? Trump is the antichrist that lets him play knight in shining armour in Canada and the world.Read More »