‘Dont pretend to be something youre not’: a letter to my teenage self

In an exclusive extract from gal-dems new book, three twentysomethings revisit their diaries and reflect on identity, sexuality and cultural heritage Samanthi Theminimulle, 24Diary entry, age 14 Today at school everyone laughed at me because I said pomangranate. Apparently its pomegranate. Ammi and Appachchi say pomangranate???? So embarrassing. Ive always said it wrong. Hi, 14-year-old meDo you remember when you pronounced pomegranate wrong in front of the entire class and everyone laughed? All eyes were on you as you stuttered your way through. You came home, fuming and self-conscious, and looked up the spelling. Of course it was pomegranate! How could your parents have got it so wrong? You said pom-e-granate one hundred times, until you were certain it would …

Shades of Black: how readers responded to our series on the colorism taboo

We asked readers if they had experienced colorism. We received a huge range of responses from people of color, both men and women, belonging to many different ethnicities Our weeklong series to encourage conversation about ‘People don’t even look at me’: eight black women discuss politics of light and dark skin video Habeeb Akande, United Kingdom As a medium-tone black man living in the UK, I have experienced and perpetuated colourism several times. As a teenager, many black girls I pursued told me that they were only attracted to light-skin black boys. For many black men, an attractive golden complexioned woman is a sign of success and status, as is evident from the skin tone of highly successful black sportsmen …

Smooth, angry, cool, powerful: how we talk about blackness

Teacher and writer Jeffrey Boakye has encountered endless labels all of which have informed his experience of being black and British today. Here, he unpicks their meanings BLACK Ive been black since about 1988, when I was colouring in pictures of priests at Corpus Christi Roman Catholic primary school in Brixton Hill, south London. I remember it well. We were sharing tables and colouring pencils and I looked up to find that there were no more skin colour pencils available in the pencil pot. By skin colour, I mean a shade of pinkish beige that was a pretty spot-on facsimile of what we can call white, European skin. Caucasian colour. With a hint of tan. Tea with an overgenerous splash …