As a black girl, living in Brighton, England

Image result for brighton town

Picture gotten from-Proud Brighton

A lot of black people I’ve been privileged to converse with are skeptical about having to move to or study in Brighton. The popular buzz of Brighton being known as a major gay city also tends to affirm their dislike for this beautiful town.

I moved to Brighton September 2014 with the sole purpose of studying and not paying much attention to the city as I wasn’t an outing type of person before arriving. I was enticed by the beach and the pebbles by the sea front during an open day visit in my foundation year which was supported by EF, Oxford (the foundation institution I had attended). The differences I had picked up with the culture, style and people compared to Oxford’s made me choose the University of Brighton instead of Oxford Brookes which had offered me an admission prior.

Firstly, I haven’t come across as many gay people as I had predicted on coming down here. Even during the gay pride festival that is usually hosted here on a yearly basis, I rarely see gay couples or find a group of gay people sitting, walking or chilling. It’s probably just me who isn’t looking hard enough. To clarify, having gay people in this city actually in my own opinion makes it more accepting and tolerable compared to other small and vibrant towns in England.

Secondly, as a black girl and as one who appreciates her cultural background and race, it wasn’t a problem building a community of friends that share the same interests as me. As there are two universities in Brighton, University of Brighton and University of Sussex, this city is filled with both home and abroad students and therefore finding where you may belong isn’t a problem. There are clubs and communities open for all kinds of people and interests within and outside the schools’ premises. This is to say that every year, the population of blacks admitted into both universities are always significantly higher than the previous year so, don’t panic if you’re worried about this factor.

Thirdly, I’m quite a foodie and quite traditional as well as I enjoy cooking my own meals. Most times going out spontaneously with my friends to small restaurants and food places at the city’s center allows me appreciate different cultures and what they eat without having to visit their countries. Brighton is diverse with a plethora of local and international restaurants representing countries from across the globe, I however have exploited this privilege as a black girl who has come from Africa. I have tasted and tried cooking most of these dishes myself, as well as recommending them to friends.

  Related image

Picture gotten from-Brighton lanes

Racism. Socio-culturally, Brighton is very diverse and as a black girl I haven’t had a reason to question my skin colour and where I’ve come from since living here. It’s so diverse and free-spirited that I have only met two guys who actually admitted to being originally born and bred in Brighton, my co-worker at a night shift and the maintenance guy for my rented place. Compared to Budapest, Hungary, I never get conscious of my surroundings and certain places I tread because of the colour of my skin or the fear of what people may be thinking. Brighton is one of the least racist towns you can ever think of in England.

Image result for black girl in brighton

Picture gotten from-Yablink

If you love greens and parks, books and rides, if you love events and dances, good night outs and games, Brighton is the place for you. This city is not anti-black or anti-any other race, It accepts, tolerates and builds with you as long as you are open.

The disadvantage however, for me is the fact that it is quite expensive to live in. Apart from that I can see myself settling and building a good life here as a black girl if I wanted to. It’s become my mini home.

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2017.

Advertisements

Blogging Series 1: Politics in chaos, but hope must prevail (Great Britain)

by Laurence Howell.

Anyone even briefly analyzing the global political landscape over the last year or so could be easily forgiven for not being filled with too much optimism for our future, with many paying close attention to the recent discovery of a second Earth, eagerly waiting to see how much a single ticket will be.

Image result for british political protest

Picture gotten from-Britishprotest

Firstly, though I thought it would be interesting to analyse France’s recent banning of the Burkini and look at some of the flawed reasoning for it. The French government claim that the burqa and burkini are a security risk as they allow citizens to be concealed, but the same isn’t being said for motorcycle helmets or habits of other religions. To me this is a religious profiling of every Muslim, as a dangerous extremist that the public should be paranoid of being blown up by, perhaps the event that this paranoia stems from is the mass shootings in Paris on November 13th of 2015. Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, but the West’s response to this has been extremely reactionary and evidenced double standards. Whilst pretty much the entirety of the leaders of EU member states came together to mourn this terrible attack, which it was, no such unity was shown with the victims of the July 3rd 2016 Karrada bombing in Baghdad. This attack was also carried out by Isis. Since the Paris attacks the West have instigated a bombing strategy in Syria in response, this to me shows the callousness and hypocrisy of many Western political leaders, who empathize and mourn the dead but pursue policies in response that result in even more innocent death.

Someone who stands opposed to the actions of these Western leaders is one who gives hope to me and many others, Jeremy Corbyn. A conviction politician, who guides his policies on whats best for the people of the world rather than what will make him look like a strong a powerful leader and gain support in a largely corrupt media. Arrested for his anti-apartheid views in 1984, frequently criticized for his support of political negotiations in Ireland rather than continuing the violence and a staunch opponent of the Iraq war. Corbyn’s humanitarian principles are something which are seen as the antithesis to a lot of modern day leaders. The smear campaign that has been run by a number of Labour MP’s, predominantly run out of Alistair Campbell’s PR office, creates the image in my mind of “don’t promise that you’ll make us look bad”. But despite all that’s been thrown at him Corbyn by the media and those like Eagle and Benn, he still hasn’t resigned and is fighting strong against Owen Smith in the leadership election. In fact, one of the biggest victories is moving the party to the left as the opposition candidate has had to adopt many of the same policies as him in order to appeal to the growing membership who support socialist principles. One thing is clear, the membership are tired of spin and career politicians and so if they elect Owen Smith he must prove those such as myself who tar him with this brush and stick to the positions he has claimed during the leadership election, otherwise he will face mass scrutiny from them.

Disclaimer: This piece was originally written by Laurence Howell and this is one of the media he chose to air his personal opinion regarding British politics. No parts were added by me or anyone. 

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2016.