Month: February 2014
I didn’t manage to say very much on Channel 5’s The Big Benefits Row, beyond an opening remark about people not being able to just rock up to a food bank with a carrier bag and help themselves. I started to talk about the Trussell Trust when Edwina Currie, also on my panel, cut over me to talk about my grandfather’s circumstances.
I wanted to say that poverty is almost indescribable to Edwina and co with their blinkered, self-righteous attitudes. That turning off the fridge because it’s empty anyway, that sitting across the table from your young son enviously staring down his breakfast, having freezing cold showers and putting your child to bed in god knows how many layers of clothes in the evening – it’s distressing. Depressing. Destabilising.
Imagine living for 11 weeks with no housing benefit, because of “delays”. Imagine those 77 days of being chased for rent…
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You can quit smoking.
You can quit pharmaceuticals.
You can quit drinking alcohol.
You can quit being a couch potato.
You can quit not running.
You can quit not exercising.
Wanna know what you can’t quit?
You can’t quit food.
All of the unhealthful habits above, you can quit. In fact, you can quit them cold turkey. Sure, there will be withdrawals and aches and pains, but stay the course and you come out on the other side.
What happens if you quit eating?
This is one of the reasons so many people have a hard time with their weight. Their addiction is not something that they can just quit, cold turkey or otherwise. Unfortunately, through a chain of events that may or may not be of their own making, poor eating habits have developed and the physiology, chemistry and physical make up of their bodies…
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Young Writers of Colour
I’ve spent almost two decades teaching in English primary schools, which serve multiracial, multicultural, multifaith communities. I want to explore two things I have noticed.
1) Almost without exception, whenever children are asked to write a story in school, children of colour will write a story featuring white characters with ‘traditional’ English names who speak English as a first language.
2) Teachers do not discuss this phenomenon.
Furthermore, simply pointing these two things out can lead to some angry responses in my experience.
Why are you making an issue of race when children are colourblind?”
is an example of the sort of question that sometimes gets asked.
Well let’s look at that. If children were writing stories where the race of characters was varied and random, there might be some merit in claiming that children are colourblind. However, even proponents of racial…
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