Rethinking cultural appropriation

In my article ‘The trouble with cultural appropriation’ I took a critical stance against this concept and it’s popularisation through social media. I argued that the use of the concept, and much of the online bluster around it, often employs moralistic and essentialist presuppositions. Since I probably came across as a mansplaining arsehole I’ve written this follow up piece to take a more sympathetic angle. It’s always worth guarding against the cheaper arguments against so-called ‘identity politics’. For starters, it’s good that there is a debate around this issue. Social media has many faults, but it has allowed new spaces … Continue reading

My first encounter with racism

I must have been about five or six at the time. I was a late start at primary school as my mum had dawdled over whether or not to send me at all (she contemplated homeschooling). My first real friend came from a similar family background as I did. We were both children of unemployed family units, I came from a single-parent family, whereas he had seen his parents split early on and his mother later remarried. Neither his father nor his stepfather worked (as far as I knew), just as my mum survived on benefits and credit cards. She … Continue reading

The phony outrage of white men

In recent months, the mass-media has been watching events at Goldsmiths University with a particularly close eye. What could’ve sparked such interest? It wasn’t the fastidious standards of contemporary art. Nor was it the occupation of Deptford Town Hall. Never mind the occupations at LSE, UAL and KCL. You would think that this is worthwhile news. But no, none of that! It’s all down to Bahar Mustafa, the Welfare and Diversity Officer of Goldsmiths Student Union. Mustafa posted a Facebook message asking white men not to attend an event for black and ethnic minority women. The conservative elements of the … Continue reading