happens to my son
living within my skin
drinking my cells
his soft psyche turning cruel.
does he not remember
is half woman.
a sudden glow. Here is my hand, my heart,
my throat, my wrist. Here are the illuminated
cities at the center of me, and here is the center
of me, which is a lake, which is a well that we
can drink from, but I can’t go through with it.
I just don’t want to die anymore.
A Ku Klux Klan flag has been placed in an area of Belfast at the centre of a recent surge in racist attacks in the city.
East Belfast MP Naomi Long has condemned those who put up the symbol of the KKK movement, accusing them of heightening racist tensions in her constituency.
There has been a spike in racist attacks in Belfast, with the Police Service of Northern Ireland confirming its officers are investigating up to three racist incidents every day. A large proportion of racist attacks and intimidation is taking place in the east.
The Alliance party MP said the appearance of a KKK flag off Island Street in the east of the city gives “an even more sinister edge” to xenophobic attacks in the area.
Yet again we see those who wish to bully anyone different from them use flags and emblems to assert dominance and control over a community. To put up these flags in broad daylight shows just how brazen the culprits are.
To use flags hailing a hate group such as the KKK is sickening and lends a further menacing element to recent events. It is essential that every right-thinking person unites against those who engage in racist, bigoted or otherwise intolerant behaviour and does so with consistency.
The annual benchmark report on human rights and racial equality by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, released last month, said there were 982 racist incidents in 2013-14 compared with 750 such incidents during the previous year.
It noted that over the last five years 75% of all complaints to the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland about harassment in offices, shops or factories are related to racial abuse and intimidation.
Over the last year Northern Ireland has become one of the worst hot spots for racist crimes and race-hate-linked incidents in the UK, and the authors of the report add that the region is home to only 1% of all the non-EU/EEA migrants who have come into the UK.
One of my first experiences in Ireland (on the way to Northern Ireland) was one which I was hesitant to call racist, but which nonetheless made disturbingly little sense: on a highly-packed bus on the road from Dublin to Omagh, where there were almost no spare seats, a man (middle-aged, white) looked at the empty seat next to where a black man sat and turned, departing the bus rather than taking the seat. I had been awake for 36 hours and so was reluctant to believe the implications of what I’d just witnessed, but was glad to take the seat he’d for some senseless reason passed over. I got to know my Nigerian neighbor who was a university student studying business; and so my first experience in Ireland ended up being one of surprising diversity and friendliness, rather than racism.
But especially in light of this article and the nauseating truth of such intolerance being present all around the world, I feel there is something I must implore from all young people like me, reluctant but NEEDING TO acknowledge the institutionalized and individual persistence of racism. Don’t grow bitter, don’t shut your eyes, don’t think all of our civilizations and nations that have done so much wrong are destined to follow only such flawed paths.
Today there is the bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians; today still there is prejudice and hatred between the Republicans and the Loyalists in Northern Ireland; today still there is racism in America, racism in South Africa, sexism and racism and xenophobia everywhere.
But there are also 7 billion people on this planet capable of making the conscious choice to prioritize love over fear. We both love and fear difference the most: but we are not children! We can make the choice to love our differences, rather than fear them! Now that, there, is freedom.
Overwhelmed by an influx of unaccompanied minors who are fleeing violence in their home countries in Central America, federal officials are searching the country for places to house them and have been forced to scrap some proposed shelter sites in California, Connecticut, Iowa, New York and other states because of widespread opposition from residents and local officials.
The politics of handling the wave of immigrants has grown toxic and holds perils for President Obama.
Some of the opposition has also bordered on the extreme. A few of the protesters who marched against a proposed shelter in Vassar, Mich., on Monday were armed with semiautomatic rifles and handguns. In Virginia, an effort to house the children at the shuttered campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville caused such an uproar that federal officials pulled out, even though a five-month lease had been signed. Someone spray-painted anti-immigrant graffiti on a brick wall at a former Army Reserve facility in Westminster, Md., that was being considered as a shelter site.
Some cities have raised health and security concerns. Northeast of Oyster Creek, League City passed a resolution opposing any shelters from opening even though the federal government had no plans to do so. The resolution claimed that “illegal aliens suffering from diseases endemic in their countries of origin are being released into our communities.”
The organizations that are hired by federal officials to run some of the emergency shelters housing Central American children dispute claims that the children pose a health threat. Krista Piferrer, a spokeswoman for B.C.F.S., which runs a shelter for Central American children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, said there had been 133 cases of lice, 25 cases of scabies, 15 cases of chickenpox and one case of H1N1 flu out of thousands of children who have stayed at the base since May.
“The illnesses that we’re seeing at these sites are not unlike what public school nurses see,” said Ms. Piferrer, whose organization, formerly known as Baptist Child and Family Services, operates temporary and permanent shelters for the children in California and Oklahoma, as well as Texas. “We do not believe that these children present any public health concern.”