#womenwrites: on domestic violence & need for separate spaces for BME women, as well as independent publishing.

Is the white saviour narrative in film finally dead on arrival? – Diaspora Tales, by Vanessa Walters  via @WritersofColour

When Sarah Hagi conceived her ‘Daily Prayer for the confidence of a mediocre white man’, it might have been referencing Peter Farelly, the filmmaker of Dumb and Dumber who suddenly decided he was ideally qualified to take on racial politics and African American history in the form of Green Book, which opens February 1st in the UK.

Sure, the road to ridicule is paved with good intentions. Just as Tom Cruise’s entirely fictional white man Nathan Algren is inserted into Japanese history to tell the story of the Samurai tradition in The Last Samurai, Viggo Mortensen’s Tony Lip is centred in the true story of Black classical pianist Dr Don Shirley. Shirley is played by Mahershala Ali and the film takes its name from the Negro Motorist Green Book – an essential travel guide for Black people to stay safe while travelling around a deeply racist and segregated America.

BME women fleeing violence need help – not penalties for who they are, by Lola Okolosie

Rotherham is a town now made infamous by grooming gangs and government agencies that assumed children as young as 11 could consent to sex with men old enough to be their fathers. Five minutes from a city centre that has perhaps seen better days, sits the black and minority ethnic (BME) violence against women and girls (VAWG) charity Apna Haq. Nestled behind a large mechanic’s garage, its location provides an apt visual metaphor. Not unlike wild flowers that bloom by busy roadsides, the charity exists and flourishes in spite of it all.  …

The story of Apna Haq’s near demise is depressingly familiar to Imkaan, an organisation that provides strategic oversight and advocacy to BME organisations working to end gender-based violence across the UK. In its latest report, it provides yet more proof of why its members remain “the ‘poor relation’ of the wider ending VAWG movement”. Its findings reveal that the combined income of 15 London-based BME ending VAWG organisations is less than that of the main single provider in the capital. This in a city where 40% of the population is BME and where there is the highest concentration of such services. …

The ‘Father of Modern Gynecology’ Performed Shocking Experiments on Slaves He was a medical trailblazer, but at what cost?, by Brynn Holland 

James Marion Sims developed pioneering tools and surgical techniques related to women’s reproductive health, and is credited as the “father of modern gynecology.” The 19th-century physician has been lionized with statues in New York City, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

But because Sims’ research was conducted on enslaved black women without anesthesia, medical ethicists, historians and others have called for those monuments to be removed—or for them to be reconfigured as tributes to the enslaved women known to have endured his experiments. …

Ideas for how a small black publisher can survive beyond the hype , by Valerie Brandes via @thebookseller

As a privately-held, black, female, owned and operated small independent publishing company, Jacaranda is still something of a unique occurrence. When we founded it in 2012, the publishing landscape looked decidedly whiter and was more disengaged from any kind of understanding of the dynamic world of “blackness”, let alone diversity. And while there have since been a new crop of publishing houses and imprints – think OwnIt, Dialogue Books, Cassava Republic and Hope Road – and multiple book deals involving runaway success titles like Slay in Your Lane, it’s essential that we keep talking (and producing) what’s conceivable and achievable for UK black publishing long after it slides off the trend radar of the mainstream industry. …