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What does belonging mean to those exiled from home? | Image: Betye Saar, Fragments, 1976

“For us at that age, we didn’t comprehend the full situation of leaving the country and moving to somewhere else. To some extent it was an adventure, but it was frightening as well because we had the army guarding all the way to the airport, [and there was] very rough treatment at the airport,” my uncle, Jitesh Sanghvi, explains to me on the phone as I ask him about his experience as a refugee.

In 1972, Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, announced his policy to expel all “Indians” — as he referred to them — from Uganda within 90 days. Amin argued that as long as “Indians” owned shops and occupied administrative positions, money from the country’s exploits would never fall into the hands of the black Ugandan. …


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One of the reasons why women earn on average less than men is a lack of confidence in their abilities: the Confidence Gap.

Since 2018, the Office of National Statistics has conducted surveys regarding the gender pay gap in the UK. What has been revealed is that even in industries where women make up the greater workforce, men earn on average more than women. That is not to say that women earn less for the same work — technically that would be illegal — but that women are lacking in positions of leadership, or do not apply for higher paying roles.

Several suggestions have been made as to why this might be the case. Vicky Pryce, the author of “Why Women Need Quotas” argues that one of the reasons for the significant pay gap is a gap in confidence. According to a survey conducted by Hewlett Packard, women only apply for jobs when they meet 100% of the criteria — men, on the other hand, apply when they meet 60%. Women, therefore, need greater proof of their abilities before they feel assured of their success. Equally, women often apply for positions far beneath their qualifications due to a lack of belief in their abilities. …


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Are people in power human and flawed, or should they be held to a higher standard?

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Or so the saying goes. But are people in power simply human and inherently flawed, or should they be held to a higher standard than the rest of us?

I began thinking about this question when I came across the essay ‘Annihilation of Caste,’ written by Bhimrao Ambedkar, the architect of India’s Constitution and a member of India’s Untouchable caste. The polemic addresses India’s problematic relationship with its Untouchable caste citizens and likens it to ideas surrounding race in America, stressing that equality cannot be met in India through the practising of Hinduism. …


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Image courtesy of Barbie Saviour, Instagram

My family (which, as someone of Indian origin, includes my extended family) has a policy of donating 5–10% of our income to charity. This is an honourable practice, in theory. Much, if not all, of this money goes towards charities operating in our native Indian state of Gujarat, supporting medical clinics, eye hospitals, schools for the disabled, micro finance initiatives and food donations. But as a well-off family living largely in the West, are we falling prey to white saviour complex, believing our donations to be vital to the smooth running of organisations in India?

White saviour complex or ‘The White Man’s Burden’

White saviourism or white saviour complex derives from Rudyard Kipling’s 1899 poem, ‘The White Man’s Burden’, in which Kipling encourages the United States to colonise the Philippines in order to civilise it. In the poem, Kipling openly refers to the colonised as ‘half devil and half child’, suggesting that the Philippino — or anyone of colour who has been colonised — desperately requires moral and paternal assistance. He argues that it is the duty of the privileged white man to come to the rescue of the savage Philippino, to educate him, to teach him Christianity, and to ensure that he does not pursue thankless and needless war. The poem suggests that the civilising mission will require much sacrifice on the part of the missionary who seeks to civilise, and therefore presents him as a self-serving sage. Crucially, thus, the poem’s premise is to ensure that that Western Europeans understand their role in empire — their role as saviours. (My use of the term ‘man’ and ‘he’ are deliberate here to outline that the discussion, was of course, limited to men at the time of Kipling’s writing.) …


…and why I’m reconciled to this fact.

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Source: Emma Holmes, “What Is Intersectional Feminism?,” Naked Truths, January 31, 2019.

My boyfriend and I had a conversation. It went something like this:

Me: Sexism is ever-present

Boyfriend: But how do I know if I’m being sexist if no one has ever told me this?

Me: Has this never come up in conversation between you and your girlfriends (of any description)?

Boyfriend: No.

Me: Oh.

Boyfriend: Exactly, so how do I know where to look and how to start, especially given my long working hours and when there are other things I’d like to read about and learn about that I’m actually more interested in? …


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Image courtesy of Getty Images

Before my first date with my new partner, I’d resolved that I wasn’t going to try to impress. That isn’t to say that I meant to saunter into the pub in tracksuit bottoms and lounge wear, but I was determined not to doll myself up (which I enjoy doing on occasion). I wore a patterned dress, a denim jacket and trainers and I didn’t replace my glasses with contact lenses. If he was going to like me, I’d decided it would be for who I am, not for an image I created of myself.

For some reason, my plan worked. We hit it off on our first date and have been more or less inseparable since. The problem, however, is that my conviction to be true to who I am seems to have faltered. I have found myself increasingly ready to tend to his needs and in a selfless and sometimes self-effacing manner. What has happened to my former ranty, women’s lib self? Why isn’t she screaming at me to run a mile and escape before it’s too late? …


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If I’m a rich person of colour, do I have the right to talk about race?

Writing about race hurts. When I find myself involved in a conversation about race, I immediately seize up. I begin to shake. I’m waiting for someone to deny the existence of racial inequality, to pour scorn over an apparent desperation to be ‘PC’, to lay claim that their life has been just as difficult as any person of colour’s. I want, desperately, to enlighten them with baffling words of wisdom, to explain just how central race has been to my understanding of self. But instead, I remain silent and overlooked. And I walk away dejected, angry at myself for lacking the courage to speak up and explain my point of view. …


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Bansky proposes a reinstatement of the Colston statue, but with additional statues of protestors tearing it down

History is not an object. It cannot be dug up from the earth and placed in a museum. It is not a mural that needs preservation, nor is it an inscription on a tombstone that tells of itself. History is a story. It is written. And I am in the process of writing it now.

On 7th June, protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement collectively pulled down a statue of Edward Colston, a former slave trader who is said to have donated huge sums of his earnings to Bristol charities. Since then, debate has been raging about the role of statues in Britain, with renewed interest in the Rhodes Must Fall campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University, and further questions about whether Churchill is an applicable figure to represent Britain at Westminster. …


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Home Secretary, Priti Patel, claims she doesn’t need a lecture on racism

Priti Patel sparked controversy (a term I’m sure she’s familiar with) when she claimed that she didn’t need a lecture on racism having been subjected to racist bullying as a child. But experiencing racism and being a person of colour does not exempt one from holding racist ideals.

Priti Patel and I share an alarmingly similar ethnic background. Like her, I was born in London to a father who had emigrated from Uganda to the UK. And like her, I have been subjected to racism (though through largely implicit forms that tend to infantilise). …

About

Neha Doshi

English teacher. PhD candidate in waiting. Irritating know-it-all.

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