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Welcome to The Edge and Wessex Scene’s Diversity Issue! There has been great progress in accepting and appreciating diversity both across globe and close to home. Here at the University of Southampton, the Stand Up To Racism Society have created an online platform for students to report incidents of abuse and harassment. The Union has championed behind these ideas in an endeavour to create a safer and more welcoming home for all. The fight is far from over and there is still much left to be achieved for all to feel valued and equal in our wonderfully diverse society. With more and more shared values bringing us together in today’s world, we are excited to see where this mission will take us as a united community. Recent years have been a milestone for diversity in the entertainment community. We've seen the remarkable response to Black Panther, a blockbuster that finally reaches out to a community that's been ignored for too long; we've seen the rise of the #MeToo movement give voices to the unheard across the globe. Most recently, Beyoncé broke the internet with a legendary performance at this year's Coachella - or, as it's been affectionately renamed, 'Beychella'. After setting Twitter on fire with her incredible dance moves, she casually donated $100,000 to four HBUCs (historically black university and colleges). Even more impressively, she reunited Destiny's Child for the occasion. Move aside, Elizabeth: there's a new Queen in town.

wessex scene Editor Freya Millard the edge Editor James Barker wessex scene deputy editor Cameron Ridgway the edge deputy editor Rehana Nurmahi wessex scene head of design Mackenzie Brown the edge head of Design Teague Hipkiss wessex scene head of imagery Hermione Cook editor in chief Evie Reilly

With thanks to our committees:

In celebration of the richly diverse community we live in, the teams at Wessex Scene and The Edge have come together for a very special joint issue. Inside these pages, we've got everything from the best of LGBT+ songs (p. 13) to shining the spotlight on diversity in our police forces (p. 11); a critique of J.K. Rowling's attitudes to diversity (p. 27) and little known scientific discoveries by women (p. 31). So why are you still listening to us? Read on…





N os ta lg i c New s



S o c ie ty Spotli g ht: Sta n d Up To Rac ism H olly w ood w hi tewash in g an d t h e e vo l u ti on of f i lm dive rsity ' Not hi ng beats a lon don e r': N ik e an d d iv e r s i ty i n adver tisin g c o l ou r i sm i n asi an commun it ie s s t e reoty pes i n ente rta in me n t: c o m e dy or tr ag edy?

04 05



reduc e th e s tigma a n d l ov e yo ur skin d is h e s fr o m a l l a r o un d th e w o r l d

07 09


re c u rr i ng r aci s m wit h th e police f or c e Is d r aw i ng attenti on to dive rsit y ac t u a lly di vi si ng ?

11 12

13 14

15 16


t h e dar ker s i de of con ve rvation : m is t r eatment of i ndigin e ous pe ople



t h e impo r ta n c e o f div e r s ity in v ide o ga me s h o w a r e L GBT+ c h a r ac te r s repr e s e n te d in s itc o ms ? j.k. r o w l in g: a c h a mp o r c h ump fo r d iv e r s ity ?

26 27 29

e t h n ic ity a n d tr av e l l in g: do n ' t l e t t h e c o l o ur o f yo ur s kin s to p yo u sun , fun a n d s us pic io us r ac is ts

30 31



S US U : Lack of di versity? is la m ophobi a: A m y t h ?




T he b est of : LG BT + l ove son gs c a n song ly r i cs hi nd e r th e progre ss o f e qu ali ty ?

d ir e c to r in fo c us : ava duv e r n ay 19 b l ac k pa n th e r , s c ie n c e fic tio n a n d 20 t h e is s ue o f r e pr e s e n tatio n h i dde n ge m: A lta n tis : th e l o s t e mpir e 2 1

ar e c o n c e r t v e n ue s ac c e s s ibl e e no ugh , a n d do e s a n yo n e e v e n c a r e ? can c o me dy go to o fa r ?

32 33



rhia n br e w s te r a n d th e w o r ry in g e sc a l atio n o f r ac is m in fo o tba l l



l it t l e know n s ci entific discove rie s by wom en







The Kite Runner was Published

Brokeback Mountain was Released



Thea Hartman haled Hosseini’s debut novel, The Kite Runner, will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary on the 29th May this year. An immersive and heart-breaking story about friendship, parenthood, and tradition, it quickly gained the title of modern classic for its complex characters, its unpredictable plot and seamless narrative. However, its most unique feature is its marvellous celebration of Afghani culture. While many of us would have heard about Afghanistan mostly  because of the ongoing conflicts, Hosseini’s novel unveils the wonders of Kabul, bringing the kite running tournaments and the traditional stories at the forefront. Like every place in this world, Kabul had its social segregation and its bullies before the life-changing Russian invasion of 1979. However, they were a community with concepts of loyalty, friendship and honour that seem out of this world. Even after Amir and his father moved to America, they kept their Afghani values close to their hearts, and even took kite running with them to their new home. Beneath the layers of loss and heartbreak that The Kite Runner is masterfully wrapped in, lies a wonderful culture that I am very happy to have discovered by reading this emotional rollercoaster of a novel. Here’s hoping for many more novels celebrating various cultures!

Fletcher Johnson ng Lee’s critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain was released thirteen years ago on 2nd September 2005. Adapted from the short story by Annie Proulx, the film starred the legendary Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as Ennis Del Mari and Jack Twist in the American West, spanning a period of twenty years. Despite a relatively small production budget of just $14 million, Brokeback Mountain won both commercial and critical acclaim, amassing over $178.1 million at the Box Office and being nominated for a string of awards. These included the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Best Picture and Director for the British Academy Film Awards and a stunning eight academy awards, picking up three in total. Lee’s bold presentation of the homo-erotic relationship of Ennis and Jack was revolutionary in challenging the stereotypical imagery of the American cowboy as a white, all American traditional male and to the day, Brokeback Mountain continues to be one of the finest pieces of cinematic drama.



1999 2005


But I'm A Cheerleader was Released

Nathan Jones he American satirical romantic-comedy But I’m A Cheerleader was released nineteen years ago on 12th September 1999. Directed by Jamie Babbit, this is a coming of age story like any other - a mixture of teenage hormones and parental judgement.  Since But I’m a Cheerleader’s release, a generation of children have grown into young adults and although we live in a much more accepting society than Megan (Natasha Lyonne) did, the story Babbit presents is still one that can resonate with all of us. To be true to ourselves. The rehabilitation of those with homosexual feelings is shown as completely ridiculous; with the boys being forced into blue whilst aggressively chopping wood and the girls sparkling in pink, cleaning and ensuring they are “soft and vulnerable” for their male partners. With the intense scenes being between Megan and Graham, (Clea DuVall) it is made very clear that these are the real moments, the true characters without their rigid gender restrictions. As Lyonne is now starring as a mischievous but good-at-heart lesbian in Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, she continues the premise that love is love and we shouldn’t alter ourselves for any societal expectation.






tand Up To Racism is a national movement that opposes Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of migrants, holding national conferences and marches – some aimed specifically at students – with the objective of raising awareness and unifying people against racism and Islamophobia.

movement. We are hoping that the union will be able to use this form to better understand what our students are experiencing day to day, so we can tackle the issue on campus and in the local area to make Southampton a safer place and to allow diversity to thrive and be celebrated.

The Southampton branch of SUTR holds monthly meetings to discuss local events and talks, as well as organising transport to the national events across the country, most notably the annual march at Westminster. As the nationally affiliated University of Southampton’s Stand Up To Racism society, we aim to be a bridge of communication between the national movement, its Southampton branch, and the students of the University. We want to facilitate student involvement, holding monthly meetings on campus that tie into national events, as well as running our own relevant events. We want to bring as many marginalised voices to the forefront as possible, screening documentaries or inviting speakers to give talks, and to raise awareness of national and international crises.

In the future, we will be organising subsidised or discounted transport to Stand Up To Racism’s national events in London, and continue to hold events across campus to help raise awareness of the issues we are currently facing. In addition, we aim to increase student accessibility to the ways in which we can help fight such issues.

For example, last October we held a successful talk for Black History Month in collaboration with SUSU, Black History Month South, and East African Society. We hosted speakers including Naima Omar, a member of the national Stand Up To Racism movement, and Don Jon, a filmmaker and author who has been specialising in issues of race and diversity, to discuss the importance of the #BlackLivesMatter movement here in the UK.

The March Against Racism took place in London on UN’s Anti Racism Day, 17th March. The main goals are to show that Trump’s racism is not welcome here in the UK, and neither is the poor treatment of refugees and migrants, nor the institutional racism exemplified by the Grenfell tragedy. We are currently arranging transport for this event, which you can keep up to date with on our Facebook. On the 23rd April, we held a talk to tie into Holocaust Memorial Week and hosted the History department’s Tony Kushner presenting a talk on the evolution of hate speech, from the Nazi’s rhetoric to the media’s attacks of migrants and refugees. Keep updated with all our upcoming events via our Facebook page.

We have also worked with the University to create the Report Harassment form. This was initially designed as a safe space for people to log any religious or racial abuse but was later adapted to encompass all forms of abuse, not as specifically related to the anti-racism






ue to segregation and the lack of actors of colour, Hollywood’s mainstream starring roles were monopolised by white actors in the early 20th century. White actors who played people of colour would often alter their appearances, wearing blackface or yellowface when portraying black and Asian characters. This was usually accompanied by exaggerated accents and ethnocentric perceptions of minority groups, which contributed to the spread of harmful racial stereotypes. These days the problem is not blackface and yellowface anymore, but rather the inverse problem: whitewashing. Whitewashing in film is the practice in which white actors are cast in historically non-white roles, downplaying the significance and roles of other cultures. Nowadays non-black minorities are the biggest victims to whitewashing - Asians, Native Americans and Polynesians are not allowed to be the heroes of even their own stories, with roles frequently given to white actors in makeup to appear more ‘ethnic’, or the entire cultural identity removed from the story. It is often done to shoehorn in a star with the belief that actors of colour would not be successful in the box office. As put by the Ridley Scott, the director of the biblical Exodus: Gods and Kings: “I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad soand-so from such-and-such.” His film, however, starred many generic white actors with zero box office draw in roles as Egyptians and Arabs. It could be argued that everyone has their artistic license in casting and interpretation of stories, and the colour of one’s skin shouldn’t dictate what roles an actor should be able to play. Besides, acting is about portraying someone you are not, and a great


performance in a movie shouldn’t be downplayed by whitewashing allegations. However, this argument only works to the detriment of diversity in Hollywood. Hollywood is an industry dominated by white actors, with limited stories being written about people of colour. The rarity of Asian Hollywood stars, coupled with actors like Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, or Daniel Kaluuya having their big roles in movies where the character must be played by a black actor, shows that there is a lack of generic roles played by actors of colour. For many actors of colour, the only available roles are those written for minorities and not roles where the characters race bears no significance. Least of all in stories about people of colour, Hollywood still puts white actors in the foreground rescuing people of colour from their plight. The white saviour narrative comes from Eurocentric racism, and the colonialist views of white people as morally superior to other races. Such stories are self-serving, as the white saviour takes over the narrative, while the characters of colour end up becoming props around the white character, only serving to perpetuate ideas of otherness and unimportance of people of colour. However, being associated with whitewashing has rightfully become a big deal recently. Calls to boycott have led to many films bombing in the box office and others being panned for lack of authenticity. With the lure of the Chinese box office causing pressure on filmmakers to include more Asian stars in movies and actors like Ed Skrein stepping down from roles that are about minority characters, film diversity is expected to flourish in the future. FEATURES



he possibilities for diversity in advertising are endless. We are no longer living in a society where we expect to see the traditional nuclear family on a television advert. Nor are we surprised to see the pioneering image of a brand campaign, targeted towards a Western audience, being advertised by someone other than a white Caucasian male. Times are changing, the cultural makeup of the UK is evolving, perceptions and ideologies of consumers are updating brands need to keep up, yet tread cautiously, if they wish to maintain a positive reputational identity and keep themselves in the PR good books. Nike have undoubtedly hit the golden bell of diversity-inadvertising glory this past month. Their knockout campaign, ‘Nothing Beats A Londoner’ pays strong homage to 200 million of London’s youth and features notable faces from sport and music. It has been widely praised for its portrayal of a truthful, young London in all its diverse glory, and for acknowledging that London has more to offer than just the elite forces of British Government. Firing off the back of this campaign glory, Nike will be launching a February half-term project, where Nike-sponsored athletes meet London’s young and ambitious faces. ‘Nothing Beats A Londoner’ firmly states that Nike is an unbeatable brand, and most significantly, an inclusive brand for all. This is modern day communication, done right.


However, with the desire to include such diversity, comes the wider risk of ruffling a few feathers. A desire to include everyone – meaning, every cultural background and every walk of life – naturally means, of course, that we can’t include and represent everyone. It’s impossible. For we are now a society so diverse and inclusive, that the categories of a particular type of person, a place, an identity are endless. Nonetheless, Nike still failed to pay homage to London’s large Asian population – hardly a niche, newly-established category that could easily go unnoticed. From the 2011 census, nearly 7% of the British population are Asian. For an advert and brand that is all about including many corners of the British identity, why have such a large percentage of the population not been represented in Nike’s advert? Nike’s campaign has largely hit the spot. But for one thing, they have proven that the modern day brand must be careful about the ways in which they choose to navigate the diversity of their adverts. For an issue that is as sensitive as this is, it cannot be poorly executed; however, it is through these mistakes that our approach to diversity in advertising will be better refined over time.



COLOURISM IN ASIAN COMMUNITIES WRITTEN BY FARIHAH CHOUDHURY IMAGE BY AVILA CHIDUME Bollywood starlets on screens and Hollywood honeys in magazines have set a precedent for physically unattainable beauty standards since the nascence of the entertainment and celebrity industry. Though the industry is currently undergoing a revamp and shift in values, meaning that big public figures are commended for being refreshingly real and unedited, some cultures have yet to catch up with the PC waves in the Western world’s celebrity sphere. In South Asian communities, an unashamedly overt opinion is still held that lighter skin purveys benefits that a darker complexion simply cannot dream to do. What is the basis for such beliefs and how is it being perpetuated in the 21st century? My parents were born and mostly bred in Bangladesh. Though it was not obvious to me at a young age, the tubes of a ‘skin lightening’ ointment called ‘Fair and Lovely’ applied by my father and my aunts were part of a huge problem with image in South Asian communities. It has come to my attention that a worrying proportion of my community ascribe beauty to only those with a fair complexion, as a twisted result of westernised beauty standards. The idea that looking ‘white’ is the key to success in life. It is not only associated with superficial beauty, but with better success in love, friendships and your career. Bangladeshis with darker complexions will furiously scrub and anoint their skin with various concoctions of lemon juice and turmeric, or specialist creams and bleaches which can often be harmful and time-consuming. The unfortunate stigma associated with darker skin in our community has meant that after meeting someone new, it is not extraordinary to comment on how fair or dark their complexion was, usually on par with their perceived moral values such as how kind or friendly they were. People in our communities seem to wrongly equate a person’s value with their appearance, and though we


are all guilty of doing that to an extent with a myriad of physical attributes, it seems that South Asians fixate on complexions a terrifying amount. As I am speaking on behalf of South Asians living in the United Kingdom, it is crucial that this mentality is thwarted. People of colour represent minorities that are often marginalised in the western world. Institutionalised and everyday racism is still prevalent, so how can we expect to get along with other communities when there are still insidious inter-relationships within the South Asian community itself? My personal experience of this within my community has been in my favour, as I am unusually fair for a Bangladeshi. But rather than make me appreciate being ‘fair’ it has made me question the redundancy of my skin colour. There were still Caucasian children in my primary school who would go out of their way to call me ‘poo-face’, so it really seemed inconsequential that my aunt thought my skin tone was perfect. It makes me quite uncomfortable when I get told by some distant relative that I’m fair and that it will take me far, I would rather they fixated on my personality or my achievements. It is heartbreaking when those same people shun another girl my age for being darker, or pedestalise another for being fairer. Instead of blithely agreeing with those who perpetuate these narrow-minded views, perhaps it is time for us to call people out when they comment on someone’s skin tone. It is so important to be mindful of the fact that just because it isn’t a white person goading a brown person for their skin colour, it does not mean it isn’t discriminatory and offensive. POC should stand together with every community of every race around the world and to do so we need to learn to love ourselves first.





ntertainment is ripe with stereotypes: the geek, the pretty blonde, the fat guy. There is probably at least one of those in every other comedy we watch on TV. They’re familiar, they’re funny, and I think they have to stop. The most common stereotype I’ve seen is the geek. If we look at Ross from Friends, the guys in The Big Bang Theory, and even at some treasured movies there is often a geek. Usually a male, they are considered very smart yet awkward, acting in unusual yet funny ways that make the viewer excuse their behaviour and laugh at their incompetence. But while we’re all laughing at them, none of us want to actually be them. These stereotypes ridicule genuine interests people have and encourage viewers to laugh at their insecurities, not making geeks cool, but making them a joke instead. And the way they treat the opposite sex is just a little creepy, to be honest. Another

massive issue of entertainment is the stereotypical portrayal of women. Some films and shows have raised the bar lately in this respect, with strong female leads in active roles and not at all being picked out for their gender


(Game of Thrones, How To Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy are only a few examples). However, plenty of others feature that pretty, slightly dopey character who seems to often wear that well-known bemused face. That character who looks far off into the distance as they try to work out what’s been said. Think Karen from Mean Girls, Britney from Glee. This character is always funny, often stupefied, often Barbielike, and of course, usually a girl. I’m not saying remove the character, but switching it up a little wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. Even if we have characters like Zach in The Big Bang Theory, the dopey male, they’re just not common enough, and Zach’s stupidity is nowhere near as centre stage as Penny, the notorious dumb yet pretty blonde. But why are stereotypes so important? Surely they’re just tropes, funny characters that appear onscreen but don’t really exist. I’d argue the opposite, though. Stereotypes are sparked and propelled by things viewers find familiar, they represent society the way it currently is, which means they don’t break barriers or don’t change social norms. As a woman in Computer Science I know that social norms are often meant to broken, so how can we encourage this while TV is just confirming the way things are? In The Big Bang Theory the only woman who is an actual physicist is Leslie Winkle, cello player, blunt and downright strange Leslie Winkle who is most definitely not a ‘cool’ character. We’ve seen female detectives and doctors showing how professional and smart woman are, but why then do we have the ‘not going anywhere and okay with it’ waitresses? Why can’t smart and hard working characters be shown to be cool rather than victimised?




he publication of the MacPherson Report in 1999 after the infamous murder of Stephen Lawrence found that institutionalized racism within the police force ultimately prevented ethnic minorities from signing up. This should have been the launchpad for addressing such issues of racism, yet here we are almost twenty years later discussing the same issues and lamenting the same reasons for it. In March 2017, Police Workforce Diversity Data reported the highest level of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) officers in history. Progress, right? Well, not exactly. These headline figures may suggest a step in the right direction, but, nationally, diversity within the police force is still a significant issue that urgently needs addressing. In 2016, a Freedom of Information Request found that 40 out of the 45 territorial police forces appoint fewer BAME officers than is proportionate to the community they serve. Indeed, the highest proportion of BAME officers was found in the Metropolitan Police Force, with 13% of officers identifying as such. Yet, the proportion of Black and Minority Ethnic people in the London area is 40%, indicating a vast disparity between the police admissions and the population. Evidently, there is a huge racial divide amongst those who join the police force. It is no wonder that minority populations feel isolated from the institutions that are supposed to protect them. Whilst analysing the statistics and writing a report identifies that there is a problem, clearly more research needs to be done to solve the issue. Many causes have been cited for the lack of diversity,


such as a stereotypically negative view of the police, low social income and a lack of ethnic minority role models within the force. Fundamentally, what this boils down to is a lack of enthusiasm on all levels to force the changes that are needed. Of course, change doesn’t appear overnight, but it is crucial that more minorities are encouraged to join the police and serve their communities. This will only happen if an effort is made on both sides. Police need to delve into their communities, no matter what ethnicity is dominant, and present the force as a helping hand, not an enemy to be feared. It is only through this exchange that more minorities will choose a police career and the force will gain a cultural understanding to prevent institutionalised racism. From the local bobby on the beat to the highest rank of commissioner, a lack of racial diversity is a substantial problem. Most significantly, there is a need to lead by example, and for this to happen, change needs to come from above. However, the number of BAME promotions from 2016/17 actually decreased by 0.5% from the previous year. This represents a step completely in the wrong direction. In an era where mistrust in authority is at an all-time high amongst minorities, and the chances of a black man being arrested is up to 10 times as likely as his white counterpart in some areas, it will take pioneers who can act as true role models to their communities to create equality in the force and encourage true representation. Until this happens, a cloud of racism will continue to loom and it’s only a matter of time before another Stephen Lawrence case occurs.


IS DRAWING ATTENTION TO DIVERSITY ACTUALLY DIVISING? WRITTEN BY NELLY MAIR Our world and community are becoming more diverse and as a result, we have seen an increase in events, societies, and venues aimed exclusively at specific minorities. These take the forms of events such as Pride, publications addressed to particular races, religious societies, and gay clubs. Though these represent a solace for people who often feel excluded from mainstream society, if we’re aiming for a truly united world, are more divisions truly the way to achieve this? People love to claim that ‘they don’t see race’ or that ‘sexuality doesn’t matter to them’, but in reality, the social groups that we are a part of shape our identities and experiences. Groups of people who have shared heritages or sexualities have a cultural language; queer people don’t have to dissect their sexual preferences to other queer people, and people from the same country do not have to explain their traditions or the ‘strange’ foods they eat to one another. There is an element of explanation and translation that is simply not required. The celebration of these minority experiences enables ostracised individuals to enter into alternative worlds where they are, for once, not the odd ones out. When people look down on this, and want to prevent people bonding over their sexuality or race they are, once again, trying to censor the parts of ourselves that have always been seen as controversial. They are trying to ensure that mainstream identities remain the norm, and that ‘others’ remain on the outskirts of society, OPINION

rather than in the centre of their own communities from which the majority is excluded. Furthermore, this kind of division is not an act of prejudice but rather the result of prejudice. People may associate Pride with rainbow flags, PDA and getting drunk, but the first Pride was a riot resulting from a police raid on a gay bar. The boldness and joy of this kind of public event is an act of defiance against a strong history of violence and discrimination. The existence of societies, places, and events devoted to particular groups is not a symbol of division but rather a representation of how such people are finally able to fully integrate themselves into a society which would previously have shunned, or simply ignored, them. If people aren’t allowed to celebrate the people they love, the traditions they practice and the places they come from, then we are failing to actually make space for their full identities within our society. A world in which we are divided by race, sexuality or religion is, undeniably, a negative one. Yet a world in which we are allowed to embrace our unique traits which have been viewed as controversial for so long is only a good thing. As long as we keep bonding with people over the universal things that make us human, then bonding over more individual experiences can only foster more acceptance in our society. We are all different, and a truly tolerant world is one wherein we allow people to revel in this rather than hiding from it. WESSEX SCENE & THE EDGE


The Best Of:


Frank Ocean - ‘Chanel’


‘Chanel’ is arguably Frank Ocean’s most honest and prominent display of his bisexuality to date, introspectively showing a heartfelt intimacy, whilst representing the LGBT+ community on the mainstream commercial stage. Beginning with the line “My guy pretty like a girl”, Ocean opens the door for listeners to understand the fluidity of love, the perception of beauty, and the pride that Ocean takes in just being true to himself. With the affirming chorus “I see both sides like Chanel”, ‘Chanel’ maintains the artist’s distinctive idiosyncratic style whilst also celebrating his sexual ambiguity. Uniting themes and lyrics regarding his own sexuality with his racial identity as a black man is a sure sign of pioneering genius, showing that there is a place for sexual freedom in one of music’s historically most gated communities. Tackling homophobia in hip-hop is something that Ocean has risen to the challenge of, and he is doing so with gallantry and poise.

Mary Lambert - ‘She Keeps Me Warm’


This beautiful song is best known for being featured in Macklemore’s equally wonderful ‘Same Love’. From the first chords and lyrics exploring Mary Lambert’s relationship, ‘She Keeps Me Warm’ promises a soft and unapologetic ode to the beauty of queer relationships. The song tells the listener of the playful first questions the two used to get to know each other, and this exposition of a relationship is interrupted only by the repeated chorus; ‘And I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to.’ The song isn’t simply about being gay, or about being in love; it’s about the universalities of intimacy and being with someone, and I challenge anyone to be able to walk away after listening to it believing that anyone should be denied that right because of the limitations of gender or sexuality.

Tyler, The Creator feat. Estelle - ‘Garden Shed’


At first glance, the choice of a Tyler, The Creator track as an LGBT+ love song is a controversial one. The California native has a chequered past when it comes to homophobia. His 2011 album Goblin uses the word ‘fag’ or ‘faggot’ nine times and has been described as ‘unambiguously homophobic’. Moreover, his regular use of the above terms on Twitter and in other lyrics has angered the gay community. However, ‘Garden Shed’ is unmistakably Tyler, The Creator coming out. The entire track revolves around how he has previously hidden and concealed his true feelings but now is the time to set them free. A simple study of the lyrics reveals an artist stripped bare – with all his deepest feelings and emotions laid out on the table. The track is beautiful – the mellow, laidback beat perfectly complemented by the soft vocals of Estelle and the metaphorical and literal brilliance of Tyler’s lyrics. As Estelle sings “fly, baby, fly, out of the cocoon”, you get the distinct impression that this track has enabled Tyler, The Creator to do just that.



Can song lyrics hinder the progress of equality? WRITTEN BY HARRY FORTUNA


ike all forms of language, song lyrics have the capacity to evoke emotion, incite debate, and of course, offend. Offensiveness is mostly a topic born from subjectivity. What someone might find offensive may be different to what I find offensive, and vice versa. Whilst I do not for a second believe that anyone’s offence to a certain lyric or song should be taken lightly, I believe that any offence caused by music can be valuable, when thoroughly considered. Music certainly can be offensive, but sometimes we need it to be.

unnecessary offensive lyrics in the modern era, we have a responsibility to acknowledge a history of misogyny, racism, homophobia in music, and to learn from these evils rather than gloss over them and pretend they never existed. Also, it is important to note that offensive lyrics are still rife today. There are clear examples of offensive modern lyrics, such as Pitbull’s (please excuse me for reminding you of this song’s existence) ‘Timber’ lyrics “I have ’em like Miley Cyrus, clothes off/Twerking in their bras and thongs, timber/Face down, booty up”.

Music is a form of art and its intention, depending on who you ask, is not just to please but to draw attention to social, political, and cultural matters. For example, Jay Z’s 2017 song ‘The Story of O.J’ is undoubtedly offensive to some. Littered with racial stereotypes and accompanied by minstrel cartoons that poke fun at the African-American community, the track is intentionally racist and offensive. But, that’s entirely the point. What better way to draw attention to the offensiveness of racism than to whole-heartedly emphasise full-frontal racial prejudice. Jay Z makes people uncomfortable, he makes people offended, and by doing so makes huge socio-political statements.

However, there are other instances where this boundary of offensiveness is blurred. You may say that Nicki Minaj panders to the misogynistic ideals of the outdated male gaze in ‘Anaconda’, whilst another may say that she is exercising her freedom in expressing her female sexuality. This is where ‘offensiveness’ becomes subjective, with different age groups, genders, races and cultures often colliding on what is and isn’t offensive, it becomes impossible to police the vast range of moral compasses.

That being said, there are certain lyrics that are universally considered offensive. There are offensive lyrics that exist because they were born out of inexcusable prejudice rather than artistic endeavour. N.W.A’s blatant misogyny, Eminem’s homophobia are examples of contextual wrongdoings and should be criticised for that. Whilst it is important to call out


Ultimately, to censor music in any sense, in my opinion, could only have negative effects. That is not to say that we should not be offended by certain material, but that offensive lyrics need to be publically criticised to show what is morally suitable. To censor music is to stunt creativity, to hinder important discussion and to spark division. If we have problems they need to be talked about in conversation to be rectified or more thoroughly understood, not swept under the carpet.



LACK OF DIVERSITY? WRITTEN BY AKSHADA RAWAT Running for the union elections is one of the best experiences that you can have at Southampton. It’s not only about the campaign you can run but the ability to make your voice heard to a large audience. The support from friends and voters who genuinely believe in you is overwhelming. Students admire many things about the election process, least of all the sheer courage it takes to run, and mount a credible campaign. But in this year’s Spring Union Elections, most of the people who were running for sabbatical officer roles within the union were white. It is interesting to note that this year in Southampton, POCs tended not to be interested in sabbatical roles that involved larger-scale leadership. Ethnic minorities were more interested in being leaders of smaller union groups. All the elected sabbatical officers at the time of writing are all white, and there must be an issue that we have a white student union that supposedly unites the interest of the multicultural University of Southampton. This point concerning identity is key. How well can, for example, international students identify with these sabbatical officers? Can they really tackle the issues that affect us all? This white union may be a problem for student representation as Southampton does have a large number of international students. The exclusion of those from different countries or even just a non-white individual can affect a lot of issues within the union and among the students as well. In terms of student representation, the effect on international students of their lack of representation


cannot be overstated. This is because the experience of international students is so vastly different from noninternational students. There is a massive cultural upbringing that international students essentially have to learn when they go to another country. As the newly-elected union is all white and as such, does not feature any international students, there are massive issues as there won’t be a full representation of all students. This all-white union don’t have any international experience and so their representation of International students cannot be satisfactory. Happily, the situation looks much better the further down the pecking order you go. The Union had plenty more people of colour and international students applying for and succeeding of the roles of Student Leaders than Vice Presidents. This does show that it isn’t an institutional issue with the Students’ Union. Rather, it seems that students who are of an ethnic minority have not managed to climb the Union ladder and become full-time elected Vice Presidents. Admittedly, this is partly down to the demographic nature of the University of Southampton. The University tends to be more white than the actual city. This is due to its status as the best University on the South Coast. As such, prospective students from the Home Counties, traditionally very white areas, look to Southampton for their educational pursuits. Yet there is still a considerable international and nonwhite community at the University, and having nonwhite students at the very top of the Students’ Union would be a great win for student representation.


ISLAMOPHOBIA: A MYTH? WRITTEN BY ZACHARIAH SHARIF It’s a well-established idea amongst the British public that large sections of the media portray Muslims negatively, to say the least. But does it really matter that much?

Islamophobic hate crimes rose by over 500%. After the London Bridge attack, they rose by over 200% – followed by the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park.

The word “Islamophobia” can provoke a knee-jerk reaction. In our world of Brexit and Donald Trump, the word can set ‘political correctness’ alarms into overdrive. But it’s important to note its significance. The media control much of the political discourse in this country, and more importantly, they influence what people think.

Our media is by no means the worst. The BBC is perceived as reliable for many issues, and is at least accountable to the public. Even in the mainstream, Sky News, a cornerstone of the Murdoch Empire, does allow a space for other agendas to be put forward. Its transatlantic cousin Fox News is an example of how bad things could be. When British television does have a subtle bias and agenda, American television can be trusted to just scream its own point of view. It’s the difference between having a sweet, old grandmother who has racist tendencies, or Nigel Farage at your dinner table.

At its least, this can just lead to workplace discrimination. In September 2017, a government report found that British Muslims were less likely to succeed in the labour market due to Islamophobia, discrimination and racism. The report stated that British Muslims “face an enormous social mobility challenge and are being held back from reaching their full potential at every stage of their lives“. At its worst, this can lead to terrorism. The far-right rants of Katie Hopkins and The Sun’s countless attention-seeking headlines may seem irrelevant to many. But this daily, incessant propaganda is what leads to terrorism, from Darren Osborne, who drove a van into worshippers by the Finsbury Park Mosque, to Thomas Mair, who murdered Labour MP Joanna Cox, shouting “Britain first!”. At the time of writing, ‘Punish A Muslim Day’ leaflets have been handed out in London, the Midlands and West Yorkshire, offering ’50 points’ to ‘throw acid in the face of a Muslim’, ‘500 points’ to ‘butcher a Muslim’, and ‘2500 points’ to ‘nuke Mecca’. I’d been wondering what to do with all those leftover nuclear missiles in the shed. Isis-inspired terrorist attacks lead to Islamophobia, and it is clear to see why. After a tragedy, oppressor and oppressed can be confused. In times like this, we rely on the media to keep things clear. But they don’t. After the Manchester suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert,


Yet the situation is still not very good. We are let down immeasurably by our print media. Britain has one of the least free presses in Europe. The Media Reform Coalition in 2014 found that 70% of the national newspaper market is owned by just three companies. Our media is not just one controlled by special interests, but a tiny group of special interests. It is a wonder that anything that goes against this narrative of these interests happens at all, let alone succeeds. Misleading stories about Muslims are everywhere. So much so that several Twitter pages have arisen, dedicated to correcting false stories. Miqdaad Versi alone has forced newspapers into 20 corrections and retractions. As of 2016, less than 0.5% of journalists in the UK are Muslim, yet Islam dominates the newspapers. It is no wonder so much of this discourse is false. Islamophobia is a real and harmful threat to Muslims. It is the precursor to hate crime, and as such should be called out and stopped.



THE DARKER SIDE OF CONSERVATION: MISTREATMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WRITTEN BY RACHEL MATHER The protection of land is a crucial issue in a world that is rapidly losing its ecosystem, but amid this campaign, there’s a deeper moralistic problem that urgently needs addressing. The plight of indigenous people across the globe and the inhumane treatment they are subjected to is being ignored in favour of praising wildlife conservation programmes. Accusations of poaching and hunting has meant that the Baka Tribe of Cameroon face arrest, torture and even death at the hands of park guards, supposedly in the defence of conservation. These rangers, funded by the internationally acclaimed WWF (World Wildlife Fund), are attempting to degrade and dehumanise the tribal people who are simply trying to feed their family. Similarly, on the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, President Khama’s crackdown on poaching has seen the eviction of bushmen who have tended the land for generations. And what has he done with this land? Cultivated the landscape? Cared for the wildlife? Not even close. Khama, who was recently invited to join the United for Wildlife coalition, has built a $4.9 billion diamond mine. The only thing this man is conserving is his bank account. These examples are just a tiny fraction of the sustained brutality that is experienced worldwide. Uncontacted tribes are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, not because they are somehow less evolved, but because their lands are being invaded and their livelihoods threatened. The longer we perpetuate the myth that indigenous people are inferior to the typical modern-day human, the more likely it is that racist attitudes will prevail and the future of the environment will become increasingly fragile.


To the victims of forced migration, this attitude is reminiscent of an imperial era, creating further tensions and a severe clash of cultures. If environmentalists were to work alongside the indigenous people, they would find the solutions to conservation challenges much easier to come by. The Baka are experts on their land and their strict codes relating to hunting mean there’s no risk of animal extinction. Furthermore, tribal communities in some of the world’s most famous areas, like the Amazon and Yellowstone, have sophisticated tactics for maintaining the environment. It is no coincidence that 80% of the most biodiverse lands on the planet are home to indigenous and tribal people – it’s their way of life and conservationists should learn from their example. The arrogance of modern-day environmentalists is causing more harm than good when it comes to protecting endangered species and lands. In these circumstances, there are good intentions on both sides of the debate, meaning there don’t have to be winners and losers. The majority of conservationists and tribal communities desire the same thing – to protect and preserve nature. Pitfalls occur when violence is adopted, and elitist conservationists value their cause over the heritage of indigenous communities. Ultimately, this isn’t about pitching conservation against human rights or elevating the value of a human above that of wildlife – the two must go hand in hand if we are to protect our planet. Without tribes, there’s no nature and without this biodiversity, there’s little hope for all our futures. Instead of persecuting the very people who can protect the environment, we must recognise that tribal communities are the best conservationists for the job.



Women in science have always been pushed aside and not given the credit they deserved for their discoveries. They are extremely underrepresented, with their male colleagues taking the credit for their hypotheses and discoveries, all because women have not been taken seriously. However, there are so many incredible discoveries that we may not have today if it weren’t for women – here are just a few. Vera Rubin, when telling her high school physics teacher about her acceptance into Vassar, was told that was great as long as she stayed away from science. After being turned down from an astronomy course at Princeton because women weren’t allowed to do it, she got her PhD at Georgetown and ended up making an observation about the orbiting speed of stars at the edge of galaxies matching the orbiting speed of stars in a galaxy’s centre. This opposed the belief held at the time that the strongest gravitational force would be where the highest levels of mass were, which was in the centre, so orbits would be slower the further out they were. Her observations garnered no support due to male colleagues discrediting her, saying it was impossible due to Newton’s Laws and, even though she had the evidence, both of her doctoral and master’s theses were ignored. In later years, her work has been recognised, but only due to it being accepted by male colleagues eventually.

degrees to women. She became the first woman to get a PhD in astronomy at Radcliffe, and after getting her doctorate at 25, discovered which elements make up stars. Her male colleagues (specifically Henry Norris Russell) who reviewed her work told her not to publish it because it contradicted existing thoughts and would not be accepted. Four years later, he published papers on what makes up the sun, with the same conclusions as Payne, and was given full credit for the discovery. She was later given the Henry Norris Russell Prize for her work in astronomy, just to make things worse. Jocelyn Bell Burnell got her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Glasgow, and her PhD from Cambridge. While studying quasars and working with radio telescopes, she saw signals being given off by something unknown in space, which turned out to be pulsars, given by neutron stars. This was the first time they had been noticed, and the observations were accepted, but published with a colleague, Antony Hewish’s name first, even though she made the discovery herself. Hewish later won the 1974 Nobel Prize for discovering pulsars – but now, it is accepted that she made the observation before anyone else.

Cecilia Payne studied at Cambridge in 1919, having earned a scholarship for botany, physics, and chemistry – even though Cambridge didn’t give

Women in STEM subjects are so important, but it’s no wonder more women don’t want to study them when there are so many accounts of our discoveries not being given due credit. We need to make science more accessible for all women, and not allow our findings to go to men any longer.







va DuVernay didn’t pick up a camera until she was 33. She observed the figure of the director, candidly thinking “If that guy can do it, I can do it. He’s not that much smarter than me”. 12 years later and DuVernay’s next film, A Wrinkle in Time, is the first live action film with a $100 million plus budget, to be directed by a black woman. She is certainly a director worth knowing. After working as a publicist for 11 years, DuVernay’s career began with low-budget independent films. Her first feature I Will Follow came in 2010, soon followed by Middle of Nowhere. The latter won her the US Directing award at Sundance, becoming the first black woman to win the prize, and featured British actor, and regular collaborator, David Oyelowo. Already attached to Selma but without a director, Oyelowo lobbied for DuVernay to take a role. Once onboard, she rewrote the script, the changes she made already indicating a full-formed directorial stamp. “I wasn’t interested in making a white-savior movie; I was interested in making a movie on the people of Selma…the four little girls have to be there, and then you have to bring in the women. So I started adding women.” In Selma, and all her films, DuVernay seeks to bring nuance to stereotypes and visibility to the concealed. The film proved to be deeply affecting to many. Telling the story of the Civil Rights movement, Selma was a critical hit, earning Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Song, but none for directing or acting. DuVernay and Oyelowo’s absence did not go unnoticed, prompting the now famed #OscarsSoWhite campaign. Following the success of Selma, DuVernay continued to


explore issues of systematic racism in the documentary 13th. Released on Netflix, the film focuses on the American criminal justice system, mass incarceration and race, and is illuminating and devastating in equal measure. Ava’s films have ensured that she is not limited to a singular medium; over the last three years she’s directed commercials for Apple, created the series Queen Sugar and recently helmed Jay-Z’s music video ‘Family Feud’. When A Wrinkle in Time came DuVernay’s way, she was fully aware of its rarity, “Women directors, we’re not getting people just saying, hey let’s talk about this $100 million sci-fi epic”. Speaking of her diverse cast, she stated, “I just wanted a cast that reflects the real world and we’re not doing anything that shouldn’t have already been done. The question is, why hasn’t this been done before?” DuVernay asks an important question. For years the heroes that occupy our screens have reflected a minute section of society. DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time ensures that those who aren’t granted constant representation can see someone like themselves as the hero. An adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel, the film tells the story of outcast Meg and her quest to find her scientist father after his disappearance. Staring, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Storm Reid, it is naturally the subject of much anticipation, with many expecting the film to have the same cultural impact as Wonder Woman and Black Panther. In hands of Ava DuVernay, a ground-breaking filmmaker, it’s certain to make a splash. FILM

B lack Panther, S c i e n c e Fi c t i o n and the is s ue of re pr e s e n tat i o n WRITTEN BY PASCAL EZEABASILI

The Marvel Cinematic Universe undoubtedly controls a large portion of the Box Office, we are usually forced to keep up with the movie releases of Tony Stark and his associates at least twice a year for several years now. However, the latest instalment in the Marvel saga, Black Panther, stands out amongst the 18 movies released so far for how it has resonated with people across the world. Apart from the regular marvel heads (myself included), Black Panther has been celebrated by audiences around the world for its embrace of diversity and representation. Even with the traditional superhero backstory of the loss of a parent, the movie has a continuous social commentary which makes it stand out as a fresh perspective on a worn-out format. Highly acclaimed for its majority black cast and positive representation of the African continent, a big part of what makes Black Panther important is its incorporation of Black People’s history and culture in a science fiction film. Ideas of the future in TV and film are most often viewed through a white lens, with white actors almost always playing the protagonist. This is evident when going through the list of top grossing films of the genres, only 13% of the top 100 grossing Sci-fi and Fantasy films features a protagonist of colour (Will Smith being said person 7 times, in the Men In Black trilogy, I am Legend, Hancock, Independence Day, Suicide Squad). Meanwhile, black culture has made stamps on the mainstream, pioneering many modern western genres of music and growing its influence in other arts. The lack of representation in sci-fi movies is simply not a reflection of reality and shows that whitewashing isn’t just done to historical stories and events but also futuristic imaginations. FILM

Black Panther also brings into the spotlight Afrofuturism, the philosophy that draws on sci-fi, fantasy and Afrocentrism to explore the intersection of African/African-American culture with technology. Afrofuturism serves to critique the present-day dilemmas of black people and to interrogate and reexamine historical events. This cultural aesthetic has been explored since the 1950s and with a recent resurgence, Black Panther overtly explores the African American experience with the story of Killmonger. Wakanda’s success is also attributed to the fact that it is an unconquered, uncolonised African nation. Something that can only be said for present-day Ethiopia, continuing to question historical events and explore fictional alternatives. Ultimately, Afrofuturism is about envisioning black futures that stem from Afrodiasporic experiences. There has been more positive change in recent years as there are more high budget movies being made with protagonists of colour, however, this is not due to any sort of epiphany from Hollywood execs, it has simply had its false beliefs and paradigms that movies starring black and minority leads cannot attract as many moviegoers as their counterparts. A belief which should have already been extinct thanks to movies such as Blade, The Matrix Reloaded and the Fast and Furious franchise. It seems like Hollywood took some time to get the message but ultimately money talks and the record-breaking success of Black Panther only serves to push this further. Black Panther unapologetically celebrates African culture, black actors and a new point of view for Hollywood. WESSEX SCENE & THE EDGE





eep in the realm of the Disney era that most people forgot, rests a groundbreaking, diverse, wonderful masterpiece of a film called Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The film is significant for a number of reasons: it’s the first ever sci-fi film in the canon of Disney animations, it features the voice talents of household names such as Michael J. Fox and Leonard Nimoy, it is one of the first Disney films to prefer CGI over hand-dawn animation, and it contains most of what Disney fans, and movie fans in general, are rallying for these days. The film follows Milo Thatch (Fox) as he seeks to discover the lost city of Atlantis. Despite many historians and his colleagues at the Smithsonian scoffing at his every attempt, he is eventually given a team to go on an expedition. Once they reach Atlantis however, it is not the city of ruins they expect, in fact, it is full to the brim with culture and in need of help to get it back on its feet. The thing that makes this film so beautifully diverse, is its characters. Even though the story is set in 1914, the cast are in no way old-fashioned; they embody the multicultural, multifaceted community we see around us today. You have a big black man, who is known for being sweet and gentle, you have a 17-year-old Latin American girl who is a mechanic, a demolitions expert who dreams of being a florist. Even the protagonist, despite being a white male, isn’t a typical Disney hero. He’s awkward, nerdy, academic, and is


considerate towards other cultures - when they arrive in Atlantis, he immediately starts trying to communicate in Atlantean, whereas the others are all quick to continue using English. In each of these characters you see many different sides of their personality, each are fully fleshed out and are complex human beings with dreams, desires, and the capability for growth in understanding and morality. As well as this, its themes of anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism are daring for a kid’s film, and so important. Milo is disgusted at the thought of them ripping apart the beautiful culture of Atlantis for profit back home. As he highlights the humanity of the people there and reminds the others of what they would be taking away from people, he manages to convince them to do the right thing. These elements, as well as the adventure fantasy themes foreground the film, which is unusual for a Disney film. Although it does features hint of a romance brewing between Milo and Kida (yay to interracial relationships too!!), this is in no way the focus of the movie. This is itself is something that Disney fans often ask for more of - most characters are single, and that’s never portrayed as a bad thing, this also allows for open theorising about characters’ sexualities, as there isn’t a canonical answer.All in all, this film is a diamond in the rough, a well-thought out adventure sci-fi with lovable characters of various races and walks of life, that highlights the fight between culture and capitalism.




LOVE YOUR SKIN WRITTEN BY CARLY-MAY KAVANAGH IMAGE BY JUSTINE VINUYA You don’t have to look far to see adverts aimed at white people about tanning: tanning beds, spray tans, get five shades darker gradually with a sunless tanner. Seems perfectly innocent, right? Why would you want to be pale when you could be golden? It gets a lot darker when you realise that the opposite applies to adverts aimed at BAME’s, that adverts targeted towards them are about how to lighten your skin. With adverts from Fair and Lovely and even Nivea, dark skinned people are shown living a life without love and good career prospects, until they start using the cream, their skin lightens, and they fall in love with someone gorgeous or get the job of their dreams. Women are shown using creams that will “restore their skin to its natural fairness”. In countries around the world, particularly ones with strong links to European colonialism, being white and fair is linked to power and status. In India, it has strong links with the caste system, as those in higher castes historically were whiter. A friend of Indian heritage said she’s always felt pressure to be lighter because that’s what the culture pushes. There’s a stigma around dark skin that it isn’t beautiful, which, of course, isn’t true. She understands why people lighten their skin, even though she wouldn’t. She’s been told she’s “lucky [she’s] so fair”, and she feels an element of pride around that on the topic of her skin colour in relation to others, she definitely feels like she fits in with everyone until she or her and her family are the only non-white people somewhere, and then she feels nervous of judgement or racism. A Black British friend says she thinks skin lightening is “sad, terrible, awful, offensive but sadly common. Even in other cultures, not just in Black ones, across the world light skin is associated with positive connotations, such as being wealthy, pure, more feminine etc. As a black woman, I’ve never wanted to be white, even when I didn’t think I was beautiful at a very young age. Though, I’m considered a ‘lighty’ by my black peers, I’m often alienated in a way or people think that I’m fond of myself or proud for having a lighter shade and that’s not the case, I love my skin because it’s mine, and others should too. Often people judge the shade of my skin and associate it with my ‘level of blackness’, I’ve been considered mixed race, half black, ‘not really black’ and the source of this is deep rooted. No one


should feel like they have to change such a massive part of their physical appearance to accept themselves, and that goes for anything from plastic surgery onwards, but you’ll find that even opinions on that differ in Asian regions.” Unsurprisingly, products to make your skin lighter through bleaching contain products to slow the production of melanin, which is harmful. Despite these products and adverts being banned across the world, notably in India in 2014 where they banned ‘colourist’ advertising and in Ghana in 2016 inning skin-whitening creams due to unregulated ingredients, the industry is still worth billions. According to Global Industry Analysts it will be worth £17.5 billion by 2020. And of course, a lot of the products are just a waste of money and don’t work. And yet, the products are still sold, some places officially but commonly on the black market – in Nigeria, up to 70% of women say they use bleaching creams regularly. When I asked some white friends about how they felt about tanning, one said: “Firstly, I have never and will never go in a tanning booth after watching Final Destination. I’ve also never bought any tanning products but that is because I am naturally tanned and when I go abroad I get even more tanned so it’s never really been necessary for me to apply any form of fake tan to get a tan. I definitely love my skin tone more when I have a nice tan, I feel healthier and I think genuinely happier because of this.” Another said: “I’m pretty self conscious about my skin – especially my arms. I used to, and still do, have some kind of skin ailment which GPs refuse to diagnose. In terms of tanning, I grew up abroad. I was pretty tanned when I moved here in 2004 (7). I went to a primary school filled was stuck-up teachers kids who called me “P*ki”. This was a great introduction to the British population. Now I’m pretty white. I conform more. And actually I don’t really like it. To me, my paleness feels unhealthy, representing the numbers of hours I have spent inside and working when all I wanted to do was anything outside.” So among the BAME people I asked, the mentality seems to be they feel the pressure to be lighter but love their skin regardless. And responses from the white people I asked seem to associate paleness with a lack of health and happiness, which is interesting when the mentality around being fairer in these skin lightening adverts is about increasing your happiness when you’re paler. The takeaway from this is most definitely that we need to increase education, reduce the stigma, and encourage people to love their skin rather than want to change it.



DISHES FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD WRITTEN BY AKSHADA RAWAT The United Kingdom is the place to be when it comes to education. More than 400,000 international students come to the UK annually. With such a large number of international students comes a huge increase in diversity of different types of dishes from all around the world. England has always welcomed the food of other countries; you will find everything here, from sushi to tacos and pizza to Chinese noodles. In big and small retailers, they have it all! You can buy Indian spices, espressos, kebabs, kormas and dim sum. You can also find freshly baked bread and Alphonso mangoes. This new cuisine is fascinating and tempting. Indian, Chinese, Italian and Mexican cuisines are true British favourites as internal dishes. London is a central place to be to experience all different kinds of international foods. It has the best restaurants from Japanese to American food, Thai food to Spanish and Korean food. Not only do the restaurants give you the best foreign delicacies, but delicious takeaways and packed food are also incredibly easy to find. Recent research tells us that six out of ten dishes prepared in British households are foreign. The British taste and popular go-tos have evolved more towards Italian and French dishes. ”While some people may bemoan the lack of a strong national culinary heritage in Britain, it’s clear that we Brits are actually some of the most adventurous and cosmopolitan foodies in the world”, said Sarah Riddolls of Cauldron Foods. The weekly markets


at different places all around England, or the famous Berwick Street Market in Soho, will give you a wide range of all kinds of international ingredients. So, if you want to prepare any international dishes you can just visit these markets or an international food store in your city and then you are ready to prepare for a big feast. All of this has made British food more interesting and a place of adventurous eaters. Our passion for food has clearly become more open-minded; always ready to experience something new. We could be referred to as culinary magpies who pick up the best. The noodles, dumplings, soup, pie and sandwiches don’t just have one flavour, either. The recipes and methods of making them vary from culture to culture or city to city. Though it may appear the same, the different cultures mean that the tastes are different too. Nowadays, British kitchens are stocked with all kinds of ingredients: lemons, cardamom, Vietnamese chilli sauce, cinnamon, cumin. This shows that we are always prepared to try new recipes. Massaman curry, a dish from Thailand, is one of the most popular and preferred meals; it is the king of all the curries. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savoury, it is best eaten with rice which can mop up the drizzles of curry sauce. You can even buy the packet sauce from the supermarket. Different recipes, ingredients and dishes have successfully found their way into British culture. The foreign dishes not only taste good but they tell a new cultural story. Having a taste of different dishes unites us all in more than one way.


The Importance of Diversity in Video Games WRITTEN BY TALLY WHITE IMAGE BY RUBI BLUE COLLINS Video games do not have a good reputation as a vehicle for diversity. The stereotype of a gamer is that of an angry straight white guy akin to The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy. It can also seem like every game on the shelves depicts the plight of a pleasantly toned straight white guy. There is a problem of diversity at the heart of the industry as discovered by a 2017 report. The survey of 963 game developers discovered a clear majority of straight white men. Being a straight white guy (angry or otherwise) is not inherently bad and indeed the issue of hyper-masculinity in the media is an important and serious one. The diversity of gamers, however, isn’t reflected in the industry. As gaming grows, the audience grows with it. There is a need for games to reflect that audience and all the many different people in it. Encouragingly, an IGDA report also found that 85% of respondents thought diversity in game content was important. The following 3 game characters give an encouraging view of diversity in games.

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

Lara Croft is one of the oldest and most recognisable video game characters in the medium’s history. Appearing in 1996 and flanked by a decidedly male dominated ensemble of characters, Lara held her own selling over 60 million copies since her debut. Today’s Lara has more depth and more character, helping to

make her more of a developed person and less of a gun with boobs. The fact that Lara has been present and influential in the industry for nearly 22 years shows that a female protagonist can be just as successful as any gun-wielding white man.

Bayek - Assassin’s Creed Origins

Bayek, while certainly an angry straight man, is the first dark-skinned protagonist in the Assassin’s Creed series. The last Assassin’s Creed title, Syndicate, featured the first female protagonist and while the title itself didn’t sell brilliantly, the fan reception to Evie

was favourable. Bayek’s reception, however, has been fantastic. The launch sales of Origins doubled those of Syndicate and has brought Assassin’s Creed back to the forefront. Bayek is an awesome example of the kind of success possible with POC characters.

Chloe Price - Life is Strange The first Life is Strange released in 2015 and was praised for tackling the issues of modern adolescence, but the prequel, released in 2017 really pushed LGBT+ themes. One route the player can pursue is to start a romantic relationship between protagonist Chloe Price and her friend Rachel Amber. Chloe herself is, by the time


of the first game, a hardened and sarcastic teenage rebel, but the prequel shows her growing into her rebellious nature, encouraged by Rachel. Life is Strange was received well and Chloe is an interesting character to explore adolescence and fledgling love.We’re making progress perhaps, but it would be nice to live in a time where having a diverse cast is not a selling point or marketing angle, but instead the norm. I live in hope, but this is not going to happen until we see more diversity in the industry itself.



How are LGBT+ Characters Presented in Sitcoms? WRITTEN BY CARLY-MAY KAVANAGH IMAGE BY X


cross TV, especially sitcoms, there is an increasing amount of good LGBT+ representation. The first ever LGBT+ character I was aware of on TV was Friends’  Carol Willick, a character who we meet early on in Season 1 following her separation from Ross Gellar. We see it told through his eyes as we find out she’s pregnant with his child, and watch negotiations between them and her new girlfriend, Susan Bunch, over how exactly raising their child Ben Gellar will work. For a nineties TV sitcom this could have so easily not been representative, and Carol and Susan could have been grossly stereotyped, but instead she becomes a fully fleshed out recurring character for seven seasons, becoming much more than just Ross’ lesbian ex-wife. However, there’s some representation that isn’t so great.  Modern Family’s Cameron and Mitchell are a couple who have an adopted daughter and who are in a committed, long-term relationship, but they’ve never kissed on screen, there are never any comments or suggestions that they may have a physical relationship (unlike the other couples) and they always call each other boyfriends, not partners. ABC said in a 2017 statement that the couple are “demonstrably affectionate” and an episode is coming that shows Mitchell’s “slight discomfort with public displays of affection”, but did it really have to be the only gay couple who happens to not like PDA? Especially considering ABC gave us Ugly Betty, a show that introduced me for the first time to transgender people in the case of Alexis


Meade, had the incredibly sexual Mark St. James, and the best coming out on TV I’ve ever seen in the form of Justin Suarez. There are also shows that heavily hint at a character not being straight but never confirm it. I understand why they would want to create a mystery around things to keep people coming back, but when they could be the only LGBT+ person in a show then I feel the representation is important. Examples include Elena Shelstrop from  The Good Place  who is very heavily hinted as being bisexual and Lily Aldrin from  How I Met Your Mother. References have been made about Lily being bisexual throughout every season of the show, but a lot of time it’s just taken as her being a bit obsessed with Robin rather than actually being bisexual. For a very straight show, it’s something that really should have either been clarified, or not used at all. That said, there is an increasing amount of representation in sitcoms, like the incredibly diverse and LGBT+ friendly Brooklyn 99, with Rosa Diaz and Captain Raymond Holt,  The L Word,  and so many other shows where LGBT+ people are just there, living their lives, and their whole character isn’t based on their sexuality or gender. That kind of representation is so important for LGBT+ people, for them to be able to see people like them but also for people who aren’t LGBT+ so they can see people who aren’t like them, but acting how they do and not as an “other”. CULTURE


J.K Rowling: A Champ or Chump for Diversity? Written by Rehana Nurmahi Image by Abida Rahman


.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series is pretty much infamous. “There won’t be a child in our world who doesn’t know his name,” became a statement that reigns true not just in the Wizarding World, but in our real world. However, as time goes on, although we all still love Potter, many of us can admit that the author behind the work actually got a lot of things wrong. One such thing that many consider a fault on Rowling’s part, is the lack of diversity in these novels.One of the things that is so great about these novels, is that they really do have fully-fleshed out, believable and authentic human characters. They represent people from different class backgrounds, with different struggles, that readers can relate to without really having to try. As well as this, the books’ themes and messages teach a really positive mantra about overcoming prejudice and showing love to the people around you. Despite that, the books, and subsequently the film adaptations, are overwhelmingly white.Dean Thomas. Lee Jordan. Cho Chang. Angelina Johnson. Kingsley Shacklebolt. Padma and Parvati Patil. Those are honestly the only names of people of colour in Harry Potter that come to mind. Of course, you can say that characters such as Cho are important to the plot, but in reality, none of them are ever really given the chance to shine. None of them are ever explored in depth. This is a habit that Rowling has continued over the years; she includes diversity of characters, but only in afterthoughts and comments rather than in the actual canon content. This can be said of the way she has treated Dumbledore’s sexuality over the years too. Though there are definitely homoerotic undertones between

Dumbledore and Grindelwald in Deathly Hallows, it was never explicitly stated in canon. Even now, when she has penned the script for a film containing both of these characters, it has been said by the director that Dumbledore will again, not be explicitly gay in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald.This is Rowling’s biggest problem, in my opinion – she’s all talk. She talks a big game about feminism and equal rights and diversity and representation, but she is often slow to implement these things herself. It is true that her novels are full of a wonderful breadth of different strong female characters, but the fact that all of these women are white, reiterates the problem of white feminism in today’s popular culture. However, what Rowling lacks in her representation in the series, the fandom more than make up for. Many fans over the years had popularly drawn Hermione in fan art as a young black girl, which in fairness, matches the book’s description of her features. It is this that led to a black woman being cast as Hermione in the stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Of course, Rowling has stated her support of this, but truly, it’s down to the fans rather than the author that this became a reality. The fans of Harry Potter are from all races, nations, sexualities and genders, and the way in which they interact with the art expresses this. Lots of fan-fiction and fan art focuses on theorising characters as different sexualities, as well as giving the few characters of colour that are included, a chance to shine. It is only a shame that when Rowling has had multiple chances to do this herself, she hasn’t stepped up to the plate.


ETHNICITY AND TRAVELLING: DON'T LET THE COLOUR OF YOUR SKIN STOP YOU WRITTEN BY IVAN MORRIS POXTON As a Caucasian male, I’ve never really needed to worry about being discriminated against based on my physical appearance. Unfortunately, researching the topic of how being a BAME individual can shape your travel experiences has highlighted how the colour of your skin can still affect the way you are treated when travelling. The experiences shared by BAME travel writers online indicate a theme of ignorance more commonly rather than deliberate discrimination. Some cultures and places simply have not, or rarely ever, encountered BAME people, leading to casual racism, or to a curiosity on the part of host nation citizens as to how someone can look, which borders on harassment. The latter instance I can to a degree directly relate to, as Caucasian male though I may be, having ginger hair is certainly something some Asian cultures may not be used to, based on my own experience on a couple of occasions of undesired attention. As flattering as such attention can be, it can also be somewhat discomforting to become the tourist attraction or exhibit for others. Alongside these milder, although still hurtful, forms of discrimination based on ignorance sits overt racism, ranging from racist language to being barred from entering or leaving places due to your ethnicity, or worse. Adapting to countries known to have higher rates of racist behaviour seems an unfortunate requirement to ensure travels are not irrevocably marred by such encounters. For instance, the numerous videos on the internet of inappropriate force used against AfricanAmericans by white police officers in the USA may make it wise for BAME tourists to be especially wary in cases of interaction with the police there. In some countries, certainly, the risks may be greater – travelling solo across Russia as a BAME woman may be more liable to enduring uncomfortable situations than travelling with others, for example. However, racist attitudes can be encountered anywhere. For example,


a travel blog written in 2014 by Travel Channel host Oneika Raymond relates her experience of racial and sexist discrimination in Dublin, a city hardly known for racial prejudice. Similarly, racial discrimination can typically be endured before exploring a country at border or airport security checks – the FCO’s travel advice for Tanzania for example, warns of complaints made to the British High Commission about ‘additional levels of harassment‘ by immigration officials towards BAME British passport-holding travellers, while an article by The Guardian in 2016 underlined the frequency of racial profiling at British airports. The message that BAME tourists could experience racism anywhere is not reassuring, nor are egregious cases like the Asian traveller refused accommodation in an Airbnb in California, receiving a message saying ‘One word says it all. Asian’. Surveys suggesting racially discriminatory attitudes in societies, like a third of young people in a report in Australia in 2016 asserting experience of race-based mistreatment, further paint a bleak picture. Perhaps ironically then, the fact that racial discrimination can potentially be experienced anywhere makes a strong case to be as uninhibited as possible in travelling, for being reluctant to travel is not a solution necessarily to avoiding racial discrimination. Clipping your travel wings and restricting the destinations where you travel based on more stories of racial discrimination at one location than another could therefore not be a self-imposed restriction worth instigating, unless there’s clear, systemic maltreatment and threat to life. Although researching the prevalence of racial discrimination in areas, being aware and accordingly preparing and planning for possible incidents is a precaution worth taking, the world is still there to be explored, regardless of racial unpleasantness along the way.



SUN, FUN AND SUSPICIOUS RACISTS WRITTEN BY KAMARA KATAMA “I wouldn’t go there; I’ve heard it’s racist…” I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve heard these kinds of statements as friends discuss travel destinations, keeping the issue of race firmly at the forefront of their minds. The world is your oyster, but as a person of colour, navigating in this racially diverse yet disproportionally divided oyster can be a tricky business. Setting foot in a country where the nation’s skin colour is different from your own can, for some, be an unsettling experience. However, as a person of colour living in the UK, the experience of looking around a room and realising that you’re looking significantly more melanated than the other inhabitants is hardly an uncommon one. So why does travelling as a person of colour (POC) present such unique challenges when we already face similar problems at home? From strange looks and jokes about my “tan” in Norway to being chased by children and hearing the familiar shouts of “Muzungu’ (white person) or “Mihindi” (Indian person) in Uganda, in my limited amount of travelling, I have certainly had my fair share of peculiar, race-related experiences. I’m a girl of mixed heritage and I feel that this offers me a unique insight into the complexities of race and skin colour. Despite the fact that I am half Ugandan, my lighter skin led to strange looks and curiosity in predominantly black Uganda, and in a majority white Norway. An understanding of what POC might find offensive has not yet been fully realised.


I’m from London and am lucky enough to have been raised in a multicultural environment where if I ever experienced issues because of the colour of my skin I was surrounded by a community of different skin colours and cultures, meaning that I rarely felt like an outsider. Although my travel experiences showed an unawareness of racial sensitivities, I never felt personally attacked and was able to recognise that a lack of racial exposure in these countries had led to curiosity about people who looked different, and to ignorance about how to appropriately communicate this curiosity. While England is certainly more multicultural than other countries I have visited, being stared at or receiving insensitive comments about my skin colour have been situations that I’ve faced both in London and less multicultural areas of the country. It is perhaps clear that many of the experiences we as people of colour experience are not caused by a purposeful desire to offend, but instead by a lack of exposure and ignorance leading to overt displays of racial insensitivity rather than the microaggressions that are more familiar at home. Now don’t get me wrong, many POC have experienced more overt and harmful experiences of racism than I, but I think it’s important not to allow ourselves to be consumed by fears of racism abroad. We shouldn’t limit our own travel experiences with fears of the unknown. Racism and ignorance are everywhere and it’s only through travelling to every distant country that our dream for a more egalitarian world can be realised. TRAVEL




s an able-bodied person with close friends and family members with visible and invisible disabilities, the question ‘are concert venues accessible enough?’ is a very important issue to me. I’d like you to ask yourself these questions, and reflect for a second: Are concert venues accessible enough? Are we making enough provisions as a society that we can verifiably say that those with disabilities are included in day to day life (be that a concert, or a nightclub, or even a normal shop)? Does anyone even care? I don’t think its far-fetched to say that most people do not care. Most people don’t have a close friend or family member who can’t go out and meet friends because of pain, or cannot make the journey because they are sensitive to light, or sleep all day, who suffer from fibromyalgia or arthritis. Most people have not travelled with a family member in a wheelchair due to an invisible disability and dealt with doubtful stares because they were just walking seemingly fine. However, there is no fault in being unaware. It is not your fault that as a society, those with disabilities get different treatment, which can stem from being over-helpful down to not helping at all. What is in your remit is ensuring that those with disabilities are able to travel with as much ease as everyone else, in an environment that supports them rather than stigmatises them. Speaking of if society cares, I had a conversation once with close friends of mine that really riled me up where we spoke about club accessibility to those with disabilities, specifically visible ones. The line of argument was that it isn’t actually up to clubs, venues or business holders to make modifications or spend money to ‘appease’ disabled people. If they know they are disabled, why are they going out of their way in a society that doesn’t cater to them? You can imagine my anguish. A simple answer would be that it’s discrimination which is against the law - all businesses have a responsibility to be as accessible as possible. A friend from school with cerebral palsy was denied access to a club in Dalston in 2016 due to ‘safety’ issues. The incident was widely reported in all newspapers from ITV, BBC, and Buzzfeed. I asked her for her opinion on whether concert venues are accessible and she said: “Accessibility has a long way to go in terms of the wider society. I think concerts are well attended by a lot of differently-abled people and therefore there is a precedent on how to meet their requirements. Disabled people are consumers and participants in society just like everyone else and should be respected and catered to as such.” If you take away anything from this article I would hope that it would be that we all have it in ourselves to push for a change in establishments, be it writing to your MP or educating friends, and that it is our duty to ensure that all of us have the same rights. Not every disabled person is outgoing or can muster the strength and courage needed to fight for their rights on a day to day basis, so it lays with us to help them. Disabled people shouldn’t be viewed as a hindrance in the UK in 2018.




Can comedy go too far? WRITTEN BY JACOB POWER


ao Tse-Tung rarely laughed. One of the very few recorded occasions when he did was at the circus, when he reportedly burst into laughter after witnessing a female acrobat plummet to her death from a tightrope. This shows pretty clearly that there can be such a thing as taking pleasure in something in which pleasure ought not to be found. This is the problem which many people have with offensive jokes – comedy is supposed to be a fun, pleasurable activity, and in many people’s eyes the telling and appreciation of an ‘offensive’ jokes calls into question the moral integrity of both the joker and the people who laugh at the joke. ‘They shouldn’t enjoy that,’ these disapproving people think. ‘That’s not funny!’ Now, I am not saying they are wrong. Clearly some jokes ought never to have been made. But there is something eerie about the practice of always striving to avoid offending anyone who might happen to be listening. It is a phenomenon particular prevalent among politicians, which contributes somewhat to the public perception of politicians as robotic or even otherworldly. When reviewing Hillary Clinton’s book It Takes a Village in the Wall Street Journal, the novelist Martin Amis coined an excellent term when he referred to the book’s ‘pan-inoffensiveness’. Clearly the future senator and presidential candidate wished to make herself acceptable to as many potential voters as possible by avoiding saying anything which might bother any of them.

are like unto whited sepulchres [tombs], which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.’ This damning sentiment would offend anyone, but, if it is just, should it not be said? Likewise, who could criticise the family of a murder victim shouting abuse at their smiling killer in court? We live in a hard world in which it is sometimes right to give another person a hard time, or, to borrow a phrase from Vladimir Nabokov, to stick a particularly thick and rusty pin into their effigy. The proper problem with a joke is not its offensiveness, but its immorality. An immoral joke might trivialise something important, or be calculated to upset someone, or even to deprave or deceive them. Such jokes ought not to be told. But ‘offensiveness’ cannot replace morality as the standard, because then a joke’s rightness or wrongness would be entirely contingent on who heard it and in what circumstances. Such a fluid and useless system would serve only the loudest and most powerful ‘offended’ voices. Trying always to be ‘pan-inoffensive’ is not the path to truth and light, but to foggy blandness. In some contexts, an excellent joke embodying a perfect truth might offend millions. But that does not make it any less good, or its message any less true.

The problem with this is that it is sometimes right and even necessary to be ‘offensive’. In my opinion, the greatest insult ever came from Jesus Christ, who, when denouncing the Pharisees’ hypocrisy, said to them, ‘Ye



Rhian Brewster and the worrying escalation of racism in football WRITTEN BY ROBERT PRATLEY Rhian Brewster might not be a household name in football yet. He was an integral element of England’s stunning U17 World Cup triumph last summer, the young centre-forward plundered five goals, including a key finish in the final to show the world exactly what he is capable of. The English-Turkish youngster is no stranger to adversity. Having left Chadwell Heath and the Chelsea Academy at the tender age of fourteen due to concerns about progression, not to mention immense competition in his age group, he had to make a major decision about his future in the game. Following the recommendation of Liverpool’s newly acquired coach Michael Beale, he made the move North to Merseyside and has repaid their faith with goal after goal at youth level. Sadly, this article isn’t solely to wax lyrical about his undoubted potential. Brewster is just one of a number of players who recently have been subject to racially aggravated incidents. He alleged that members of the Spartak Moscow U19 side made disparaging remarks about his skin colour. UEFA investigated, but failed to find sufficient evidence to charge the club. This decision came around the same time Brewster’s season ended due to a ligament damage which would require surgery, a devastating blow for the young star. Obviously, UEFA have to go through due process to make any ruling in a case like this. Whilst I don’t believe at all that Rhian Brewster would exaggerate any event like this indeed he came across very eloquently and sensibly when interviewed on this difficult topic - UEFA need sufficient evidence to charge any players and it was effectively Brewster’s word against Leonid Mironov, the Spartak Moscow captain. Even so, one must wonder how Mironov’s senior teammate and Spartak’s talismanic star Quincy Promes must feel about these claims, being Dutch-Suriname himself. Kick It Out’s statement regarding the decision was starkly honest stating that they were disappointment with the findings. The FA also weighed on in the issue, by commending Rhian for his bravery and ending on the vow to ”continue working with UEFA on how to best tackle incidents or discrimination in the future.” Brewster’s interview about the abuse was candid, honest, but clearly one of a very angry young man. He spoke about


how lonely and isolated the racism makes him feel. To be singled out and demeaned for something like that is abhorrent. Mentally, Brewster has showed enormous courage and strength, and he is not the only one. Mario Balotelli, who has been the victim of racism in football cups his ears to fans when he scores if they have been abusing him to rise above it. One needs to only read Rudiger’s comments on racism to realise how much it affects a player’s mental state. The worse part of this story is that this was by no means the first incident involving Spartak Moscow this season. They’d already been in trouble for racially abusing Bobby Adekanye during the away fixture in Moscow and these are by far the only incidents of this kind so far this season. S.S. Lazio’s appalling response to Holocaust Memorial Day in January, Roberto Firmino’s alleged slurs to Mason Holgate, Jay Rodriguez guilty of racially aggravated language against Brighton’s Gaetan Bong, AS Roma’s away fans making monkey chants at ex-player Antonio Rudiger when they visited Stamford Bridge earlier this year, a minority of Chelsea fans making up an anti-Semitic chant about Tottenham to apparently venerate Alvaro Morata. In the last few years, the turmoil of Luis Suarez abusing Patrice Evra and John Terry’s remarks to Anton Ferdinand still remain fresh in the memory. Even amongst the glitz and glamour of international and top European football, these ugly incidents remain. Even with the overwhelming stress of playing in the youth equivalent of the Champions League, this should never under any circumstance result in any player making disparaging, utterly offensive remarks about any player’s creed, colour, race, religion or orientation. Although there are many things which the FA can be criticised for, their commitment to the Kick It Out campaign is commendable. They have made it clear there is no place for it in football. Thankfully, these events are still in the minority. Most football fans and players are still showing their passion in a positive manner, supporting and helping their team without feeling the need to excessively abuse other players in the most awful way possible. But until these ugly incidents are fully stamped out of the game, football can never consider itself truly open for everyone.



The Edge & Wessex Scene – Diversity Special Issue (Apr 2018)