Serve me up a Frankenburger but go easy on the branding

Yesterday’s announcement that scientists have created the first fully lab-grown burger left many feeling nauseous.
We have an emotional connection to what we put in our bodies and the idea of a burger made on a Petri dish leaves many people cold.

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I don’t share this revulsion.
Even when the rules are followed and our food isn’t bulked out with horse or fed its own dead, the way our meat is produced is already pretty vile. (more…)

Dark girls and slavery’s lingering fingerprints

When my beautiful daughter was just eight, she corrected me when I described her to a friend as ‘black’.

“Dad, I’m brown”, she explained. “You’re black, mum’s white and I’m brown”.

While I couldn’t fault her logic, her words caused a strong emotional reaction in me.
It was a mini panic, unexpected and violent. I caught my breath and tried to explain that:

“Although races don’t really exist, the world we live in has conjured them up and the shared life experience you will have with your darker skinned cousins and friends defines you all as black, regardless of skin tone.”

Good luck explaining that to an eight year old.

No argument I came up with, would convince her she was anything other than brown and so I gave up.

Jess and I

Now she’s 22 and would define herself as mixed-race. (more…)

Trayvon Martin and the Fear of a Black Man

theblakwatch

“ ‘Not Guilty?’ the filthy devils tried to kill me/  When the news gets to the hood the niggas will be/ Hotter than cayenne pepper/  Cuss, buss, kicking up dust is a must.”
Ice Cube – ‘We Had to Tear This MF Up’

The’ Not Guilty’ verdict for George Zimmerman, the killer of  Black teenager Trayvon Martin,  confirms a fact that all Black men know, but hoped had changed.  The fact that many white people view us as a threat.

It doesn’t matter if the Black man in question is well educated and softly spoken. It doesn’t matter if he has not even finished puberty. We are seen as a threat that must be contained. Trayvon was an unarmed teenager, and George Zimmerman was an heavily set 29 year old with an obvious weight advantage, who also happened to be packing a gun.  But still Zimmerman felt that he was the…

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What the West can learn from Egypt

Egypt’s coup presents the West with a massive dilemma as leaders try to work out how to respond.

Just a year after taking office after the country’s first free election for 30 years, Islamist Mohammed Morsi was unceremoniously removed from power and placed under arrest.

Egyptian Coup

While neither Cameron or Obama will shed a tear at seeing the back of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, they feel they can’t openly support a coup, even one brought about by a popular uprising, for fear of  ‘setting a dangerous precedent’. (more…)

Obama and JFK – how messiahs break our hearts

This week, Barak Obama retraced JFK’s steps and spoke at Berlin’s iconic Brandberg gate.

The White House was going for a ‘JFK moment’ and the world’s media was keen to lap up the easy comparisons between these two handsome, eloquent men.

Obama at the Brandenburg gate

Obama at the Brandenburg gate

Of course it was no accident Obama’s visit came almost exactly 50 years after Kennedy’s famous ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech. (more…)

Why the Boston bomber is not evil

In the immediate aftermath of the terrible events at the end of the Boston Marathon last night, like everyone else, I am filled with sadness.

Marathons are a joyful occasion and I’m looking forward to cheering on friends who are running in London next Sunday.

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That someone would chose to do this to an event which brings 500,000 spectators out to watch over 20,000 runners, many raising money for charities, beggars belief.

Looking for news on Twitter, along with the genuine shock and good wishes to injured and families of the dead, two types of response worried me. (more…)

Cypriot deal hits the right targets

Cyprus pulled back from the brink of Euro collapse last night, as a deal was struck which is likely to see the breaking up of one her biggest banks and a massive levy, of up to 40%, on bank accounts with over €100k.

The pain will be long lasting for Cyprus.

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Laiki, the country’s second largest bank, employs 10,000 people and despite the accounts under €100k being guaranteed, there is still likely to be a run on the banks when they fully reopen.

I think the pain unleashed on common working people in various parts of Europe in order to save a doomed common currency is immoral. I would rather see countries do what they are there for – defending their citizens. (more…)