Un-braiding

by Chloe Batten

Enclosed for the winter. hibernation.

each strand runs through softly calloused hands,

firm, reassuring fingers whisper sweet nothings

to my newborn roots, like

warm honey. Chloe, Un-braiding image

enfolding strand

over strand, one leads, one hides,

one follows, one leads

one hides, one follows

all clinging to each other for dear life,

sworn to protect the hair they hold,

to incubate the soul that lies within

my newborn roots.

hibernation.

 

Don’t mistake synthetics

for dormancy. like a cocoon they hide

growth and beauty,

and they too will die.

but as spring melts winter’s spite

and warmer air beckons hair

outside the neat twists and folds,

I follow nature’s cue.

in cathartic ritual,

un-braiding plait

after plait,

old dead hair is laid aside.

my fingers run through soft curls,

and linger.

 

This is home.

the feeling after a deep sigh

when lungs resettle.

feels like warmth and peace

and honey. this is my soul.

like Aunty Solange reminds me,

my hair

it is the rhythm,

the feelings,

I wear.

 

 

Chana Dhaal; a recipe 

By Sadia Ahmed

“For as long as I can remember, my parents have taught me that cooking is an expression of love.”

My parents taught me cooking for someone is an expression of a love. They taught me that peeling vegetables, frying garlic, soaking lentils, carefully spicing everything – making something hot and warm and filling with your hands is one of the best expressions of love. When my sister or I come home from university, you can bet that my mum has prepared a biryani for us. When I came home last year for the Easter break and I had announced, to their dismay, that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore, my dad went out and bought me paneer to make the next day. During those couple of weeks at home, he made me countless vegetarian dishes from vegetable lasagnes to haleem sans mutton. For as long as I can remember, my parents have taught me that cooking is an expression of love. I am never hungry around them. 

I have made a mess of my home kitchen many a time, attempting to poorly imitate my parents’ creations. The story isn’t much different at university. When my friends come over or when I’m experiencing pangs of homesickness, I tend to reach for familiar spices or dishes that leave you full and satisfied. One of my favourites is chana dhaal; I have prepared it many, many times this year. Here is a recipe that reminds me of home. 

ingredients:image1

  • 1 small white/red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 or 3 bird eye chillies, depending on taste 
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (I tend to use sunflower oil) 
  • 2 cups of split yellow lentils (washed and soaked in water overnight)
  • a handful of cherry/plum tomatoes 
  • small bunch of fresh coriander 
  • heaped teaspoon of cumin powder
  • heaped teaspoon of turmeric 
  • teaspoon of chilli powder
  • heaped teaspoon of coriander powder
  • teaspoon of salt 

recipe:

  1. chop onion and garlic cloves finely 
  2. heat up a pan with oil and add your chopped onion and garlic
  3. add teaspoon of salt and stir, leaving to sweat until garlic and onion starts to colour
  4. score chillies and add to pan 
  5. stir in spices and allow them to cook out for a couple of minutes (tip: add a little water to the mixture if it appears to be sticking) 
  6. add your soaked lentils to the pan, stir
  7. add one cup of boiling water to the pan, stir and cover, leave to simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes 
  8. chop your cherry tomatoes and add (note: if you enjoy a tomato flavour, feel free to add a tablespoon of tomato paste in addition) 
  9. stir regularly, gradually add another cup of water, until the consistency becomes thick
  10. finely chop coriander and stir in 2/3 of coriander along with a little water 
  11. taste! season with salt to preference
  12. sprinkle dish with the remaining coriander and take off heat 
  13. serve dhaal with rice, or chapatis, or both, or neither 

This recipe will comfortably serve five of your loved ones or you, five times over x 

Warwick Labour on Recent Claims in the Boar

We are concerned by some of the unsubstantiated claims made in the Boar about the inclusivity of our society, they are not representative of the experience of our members or of anything that has been said at Lefty Lattes.

We encourage all progressives to come along to Lefty Lattes, we have a range of interesting topics coming up and all details are available on our Facebook page.

Lefty Lattes is Warwick Labour’s weekly discussion event, there is a different subject for discussion every week picked by members, from how to combat anti-Semitism in the party to combating sexual violence on campus. We have specific policy for how our lefty lattes discussions are conducted, it is a non-alcoholic event, held in a wheelchair accessible location, where people are asked to treat each other with respect and to respect what everyone has to say. Prejudiced language is not tolerated, everyone is given an opportunity to share their thoughts on a subject with those who speak least prioritised and encouraged to contribute.

We also have a safer space policy, now enshrined in our constitution, which protects members at all events from prejudice and abuse, additionally, we have just introduced a welfare officer and will soon be launching a welfare inbox for members. We encourage people to contact us via the Facebook page if they have any concerns.

Uncritically reproducing claims from an anonymous survey of only 100 people, which is clearly unrepresentative and open to abuse, without even asking for comment on these claims is journalistic bad-practice par excellence and disappointing to see from the Boar.

our statement

Content notice: rape, racism and sexual violence.

 

We stand in full solidarity with the victims of the comments made in the group chat whose screenshots detailing misogynistic, rape apologist, racist, anti-semitic and ableist language were made public yesterday, as well as anyone who was affected by them. We are appalled by the behaviour exhibited in these chats, and understand it to be part of a broader epidemic of sexual violence in universities, where these comments and behaviour are normalised and even excused under the guise of ‘free speech’ or ‘banter’. This is no laughing matter, 62% of students have reported being subject to sexual violence at their time in university, with 8% of women graduates being victims of rape, twice as much as the rate for women overall in England and Wales (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/02/universities-rape-epidemic-sexual-assault-students). These comments cannot be defended under the right to privacy or under the banner of free speech. For far too long this language has been used behind closed doors without consequence, feeding these ideologies, allowing them to fester into abuse. This doesn’t just stop at written expression, it has drastic consequences as detailed above, which could severely affect the lives of many.

 

It’s time universities took this matter seriously, we hear in mainstream discourse that we need more education to change bigoted views, yet this abuse is being perpetrated by students attending renowned universities. We need more: we need a feminist education, a decolonised and anti-racist education which doesn’t shy away from challenging oppressive views prevalent in our society. Our marketised education system means our universities are more concerned with their public image and looking glossy and polished for prospective students, than actively putting out resources to prevent sexual violence and support the victims of it. (https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/feb/02/universities-reluctant-tackle-sexual-violence-fear-pr-fallout).

 

The university must take a firm and unequivocal stance against the violent sexist and racist behaviour encouraged within the group chat in question, this means holding every participant of the conversation fully accountable for what they have said. Moreover, some of the acts encouraged and praised in the chat involve violently raping and sexually assaulting women & girls and enacting violence against Jewish people and ethnic minorities. This goes beyond accountability and becomes an issue of safety, wellbeing and principle. This blatant disregard for the humanity and wellbeing of women and ethnic minorities, in addition to the promotion of real physical harm against these groups, means that these predators should not be trusted to return back to this university. They should be expelled to ensure the safety of those who they have callously threatened to rape, beat and brutalise.

 

If given the opportunity to remain in this university, these predators will have the access to obtain the societal privilege, power and wealth associated with having a qualification from Warwick. This power will enable them to act on their words in the future, enacting violence on at-risk people whilst being protected by privilege and money thus escaping accountability again and again. The university must end this cycle before it begins. If this university is claiming to be a diverse and inclusive space, it must send a clear message that it does not stand by these views. This should be done by removing and expelling the dangerous predators in question, according to their degree of involvement. They must be dealt with uncompromisingly and unapologetically – along with all other rapists, racists and rape enthusiasts.

 

Most importantly, we should not sensationalise this one incident: disciplinary action for these perpetrators won’t solve the wider problems that made this group chat possible. Sexism, rape apology, racism and antisemitism do not disappear by making these predators disappear. Racist discourses and rape culture will remain firmly in place on campus, in campus groups/societies, in our university accommodations, during our club nights and in wider society until institutions like our university become proactive rather than reactive. This University has failed to do this so far. Here are our demands of this ‘diverse and inclusive’ university:

  1. GET THE PREDATORS OUT.
  2. Make use of the resources that we already have surrounding consent. The #WeGetConsent campaign, amongst other thorough consent campaigns across campuses all over the UK, has great videos that must be distributed and made more visible to all Warwick students.
  3. Repurpose the Piazza big screen, currently used for endless and repetitive self-promotion videos played at students & staff that are already members of this institution, to play consent videos from the SU and other similar videos from liberation campaigns.
  4. Invest more money and resources into the anti-sexist and anti-racist campaigns that students have devoted so much of their time to despite a lack of adequate funding and institutional support. This involves greater support for victims and survivors of sexist and racist abuse.
  5. Enforce consent training and bystander intervention training for students and staff. Bystander intervention training was recently put on the curriculum for first year PAIS students, this must become part of the curriculum for all university departments.

 

We conclude this statement by urging all students to be dissatisfied with bigotry. When you encounter rape apology, sexual violence, misogyny, anti-semitism, nazi ideology, violence against minorities, racist rhetoric, islamophobia, white supremacy, LGBTQ+-phobias, ableism, classism and other forms of prejudice, we urge you to take a stand and speak up in whichever capacity you feel capable and comfortable. (https://www.warwicksu.com/advice/crime/hatecrime/) Do not let predators, violent misogynists and racists fly under the radar or go unchallenged. Sometimes this means exposing group chats like these to ensure the safety of marginalised groups.

 

Signed –

Warwick Anti-Sexism Society

Warwick Anti-Racism Society

Warwick Jewish Society

Warwick Labour

Warwick for Free Education

Warwick Pride

Warwick Enable

“We’re all just different!” How Intersectionality is Being Colonized by White People

Thinking Race...

Intersectionality-01

Working in student affairs on a university campus, I feel like I hear the words “intersectionality” or “intersectional” said out loud at least 20 times a day (no exaggeration). The word is regularly used as a powerful critique from young women of Color about how White feminist staff members don’t seem to understand the violence we enact. Often, though, I hear the term used by White feminist or “social justice focused” staff such as myself.

We use the term in many vague ways. “We really need to be sure our work is intersectional…We need to be more intersectional in how we talk about student identities…Our teaching strategies must be intersectional and culturally responsive.” I don’t use “we” in the royal sense. This is something I do all the time without thinking critically about my meaning.

But what the hell are we even saying when we use the term?

We have…

View original post 1,888 more words

Getting Over It vs. Getting Through It

By Samyat Kolawole

“I pushed everything I felt so deep inside … sadness became too familiar.”

I am writing this a year on from an experience that showed me the difference between getting over something, and getting through it.

A little over a year ago, I was in a relationship with someone that I really cared about. The way I felt about him made our breakup a very difficult experience for me. Because it was so difficult, I tried to just ‘get over it’ – basically, I tried to stop feeling how I felt as quickly as possible. I tried to suppress how I felt; I told myself I didn’t really care anyways, so why would I need to be upset? When I talked about it with my friends, they’d ask if I was okay and I would downplay how I felt and say I was fine. I did this so much that I pushed everything I felt so deep inside that sadness became a lingering part of me; sadness became too familiar. This, along with other things led to me becoming depressed, which affected so many other aspects of my life.

The worst was probably academically. I was in year 13 at the time, which anyone who has been through A Levels knows is the most stressful time of your teenage life. School required so much of my energy, and I felt like I had no energy left – the way I felt had made me feel this drained. There were many, many times where I couldn’t get out of bed. I’d get up for school late, leave school straight away just to go home and go back to bed. I did this so many times but dismissed it as laziness. At school, I was distracted.At work, I was distracted, and at home, I was distracted. This continued for what felt like forever.

“I should have thought practically about what I was going to do to make myself feel better”

It wasn’t until I met one of my good friends that I actually began to talk about and address how I felt. This made me realise how much I had tried to force myself not to feel anything, and that it hadn’t worked at all. Instead, I felt much worse than I would have done if I had allowed myself to get through it at the time, rather than trying to run away from how I felt because it hurt. I would tell myself not to think about it, when I should have asked myself why I feel the way I do. I told myself to get over it, when I should have thought practically about what I was going to do to make myself feel better.

Through this example, I wanted to illustrate the pain that you can cause yourself by trying to get over something, rather than trying to get through it. But what does getting through it actually mean?

This means understanding and accepting what has happened. I see this as the ‘wowwwwww’. The ‘wowwwww he really did this’ or ‘wowww this really happened?!’, for example. You also have to forgive yourself for anything you feel you did that contributed to the situation, as well as forgiving anyone else involved in the situation, even if they have not apologised to you (because you really don’t know how long you could be waiting for an apology, or if it will ever come at all). As difficult as it may be, you have to think about how you feel, and why you feel that way. Whether you have this conversation with yourself, or with a friend, it is an important part of getting through something. You have to learn to be honest with yourself and dig deep into your thoughts and feelings.

One thing that prolonged how I felt was that I didn’t want to be sad any longer but I didn’t do anything to actively make myself feel better. I would say ‘I’m tired of being so upset about this’ but never did anything to change how I felt. What will help you feel better is dependent on you; it could be avoiding things that remind you of the situation or it could be doing things that generally make you feel better. What doesn’t help is doing nothing.

“I’ve learnt to allow myself to feel whatever I feel, without judging myself for feeling that way.”

It is very important to give yourself time. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to ‘just get over it’. They only say this because they don’t understand what you’re going through. Instead, it helps to talk to someone who understands how you feel, or at least can listen to you talk about how you feel. If you feel like you can’t talk to anyone, you can write about how you feel. If you’re religious, talking to God always helps.

The main thing is that you are actively trying to feel better, and in this way, you definitely will – but this is a process and it’s never easy. Trying to get over it seems a lot faster, and it is, but only because you are suppressing how you feel. Suppressing something means that it’s only going to come out at some point, and it will probably be a lot worse. If you’re like me, one day you’ll be drunk and start screaming. (don’t be like me pls)

I’m an emotional person and I actually like this about myself, but I still managed to convince myself that being upset is a bad thing. Now I’ve learnt to allow myself to feel whatever I feel, without judging myself for feeling that way. This has helped me a lot more than I expected. I also understand myself a lot more and have become even more self-aware. This self-awareness made me realize that there is so much power in engaging with your emotions!

All of this doesn’t just apply to relationships – there are a lot of other situations in life where we force ourselves to get over something. Whatever the situation is, the best thing for you is to get through it, rather than get over it. It takes time but you’ll ultimately feel better.

‘If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you’re fighting.’ …

RED & the Power of Short Films

“I wanted to make something which recognised the dire impact such illnesses like OCD have on one’s mental and emotional frame of mind, by creating a character that seems to live a life of ease but is driven to the edge at the exposé of infidelity.” Divine Layokun, Co-Director, Co-Producer and Star of RED

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Day at The Beach, 2018

Day at the Beach, 2018 is the second in a series of sartorial interpretations centering African-inspired dress, and style, in four different time periods.

“Afrocentrism and my particular African identity more than anything else inform and inspire my fashion photography practice. A lot of the concepts that I choose to explore are me reflecting on society and culture and offering commentary on what I see. Other times it’s primarily aesthetic. In any case I aim to champion being African, being black. I want people to appreciate the aesthetic significance of the visuals while joining in the observation, reflection and celebration.” Uzoma Orji
Production Credits
Photographer: Kene Nwosu (Instagram: @glass_stop)
Creative Director and Stylist: Uzoma Orji (@uzzzoma)
Models: Veronique Belinga (@vbelinga), Data Pepple (@datapepple), Uzoma Orji (@uzzzoma)

‘Black Panther’ is worth the hype.

by Annice Abanda

When I hear about a movie that everyone has claimed is amazing, I’m always a little bit apprehensive. I ask myself: will this movie be all that everyone has made it out to be, or does the hype mean I’m going in with high expectations that the movie can never fulfil? After watching ‘Black Panther’, I can honestly say it deserved every positive review it received.

So, what makes it so noteworthy?

  1. Its representation of Africa.

Although Wakanda is clearly a fictional country, it’s evident that its conception is based on  natural beauty and cultures present in actual African countries . The various panning shots of Wakanda’s landscapes are comparable to the surreal ones in existing African nations.

Building on the interconnection of a fictional African nation and non-fictional Africa is the existence of vibranium, an imaginary metal, which is comparable to the very real resources produced in Africa – from diamonds, cocoa beans, iron and copper to tropical fruits, gold, petroleum and more.

Wakanda is the bedrock of technological advancement as well as rich traditions. The infrastructure and technological discoveries show Africa to be more than the primitive, technology-deprived continent it is often represented as. At the same time, the presentation of different African cultures through clothing, rituals, accents, tribal organisations and so on means their traditions are neither denied nor seen as inherently opposed to technological innovation. The two exist alongside each other which subverts the narrative that whiteness is a necessary prerequisite to progressivism.

It was clever to set ‘Black Panther’ in a fictional country that is historically contextualised by Africa, as it avoids the misrepresentation of a single African country whilst being able to showcase a multitude of African countries in one single place: Wakanda.

  1. Its representation of women.

I loved seeing women alongside men in battle, in leadership positions, and in governance. Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) is undoubtedly the most skilled and most captivating warrior who prioritised her duties and dedication to her craft over her relationships; she was willing to fight her husband for what she believed in. Shuri (portrayed by Letitia Wright) is a technological genius and one of the smartest people in the Marvel universe. Although this does nothing to tackle the structural barriers that see so few black women worldwide involved in STEM, it challenges the idea that they are incapable or undeserving of a seat at the table. It shows that black women, when given the opportunity, can equal the performance of their counterparts, and even outperform them. Meanwhile, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) showed us that fostering gentleness, compassion and empathy is not mutually exclusive to demonstrating strength and assertiveness. She never belittled herself for a man – compassionate yet assertive.

‘Black Panther’ showcased dark skin black women of all varieties (short hair, natural hair and even no hair) which was important considering black female representation has normally been limited to light skin black women.

  1. Its message of equality.

Michael B. Jordan’s character, Erik, is very important. He symbolises the many aggrieved and oppressed people who want to do to their oppressors what has been done to them. A very valid feeling. Though tempting, T’Challa’s rejection of this idea is key. It would simply feed a never-ending cycle of one demographic dominating until another manages to dethrone them, creating chaos and havoc as ‘Black Panther’ shows. Instead, we need to fight for equality and that means embracing our differences whilst living in harmony. We can love our own race/culture/gender/religion and simultaneously respect other people’s.

  1. Agent Everett

He initially held all the stereotypical views about Africa and had them dismantled.

  1. The soundtrack.

It speaks for itself really- but the fact that the soundtrack wasn’t generic mainstream music that a lot of big Hollywood movies, especially superhero ones, have was refreshing. I loved the hip hop beats throughout, the sound of the Weeknd, and Kendrick Lamar. To witness vibrant music of black origin take pride of place was thrilling.

  1. The humour.

It was actually funny!

  1. That it was a superhero movie.

Placing aside its rich and multifaceted depictions of blackness, ‘Black Panther’ revealed itself to be a superhero movie just like any other. Filled with enthralling action scenes, special effects and ‘cool’ gadgets, it brought together people of different backgrounds who enjoy exciting movies. The cinema was full when I watched ‘Black Panther’ and, though it was branded as a ‘black movie’, the audience wasn’t solely filled with black faces. Especially significant as the positive messages are consequently communicated to people of all backgrounds.

The success that ‘Black Panther’ has garnered in the few weeks since its release date is a testament to the skill Ryan Coogler demonstrated to turn a favoured comic book story into a ground-breaking production. Whether you’re a Marvel fanatic, a pro-black enthusiast, or just want something exciting and different to watch, I’d seriously recommend watching this movie!