News

9-Year-Old Responds to Germany's Row Over Racist Slurs in Children's Books

Nine Year old Afro-German Ishema Kane wants racist words like 'Neger' to be removed from children's books and tells highbrow newspaper Die Zeit: "I find it totally shit that this word should remain in children’s books if it were up to you"


Ishema Kane is one fierce nine (and a half) year old. Last week she penned a furious letter (interspersed with hand-drawn lightning bolts) schooling the editors of respected weekly German newspaper Die ZEIT on their defence of the derogatory word 'Neger' in children's books. Ishema, whose dad is from Senegal, was responding to an article which argued that the slur, which translates roughly as Negro or the N-Word, should not be removed from children's books like German classic Die Kleine Hexe. Apparently this is an opinion shared by 48% of Germans.

The row over removing racist language from books aimed at children is not new, and Europeans are particularly antsy about the idea. In 2007 Congolese campaigner Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid to have the Tintin in the Congo books banned, and the debate spread from Belgium across Europe (see #tintingate). Change, where it happens, is often hard-won: people are still smarting after publishers turned Pippi Longstocking character 'Negro King' into the 'South Sea King', and Roald Dahl was irate about the NAACP ruckus that forced him to change Willy Wonka's Oompa-Loompa's from enslaved African 'pygmies' to green-haired imps.

Ishema suggests that instead of pontificating on artistic integrity or comparing redaction of racist words to book burning, white Germans should think about the effect such language has in today's context "You cannot imagine how I feel when I have to read or hear that word. It is simply very, very terrible. My father is not a ‘Neger’ [lightning bolt sign] nor am I. This is also true for all other Africans." Thanks to Afropean blog Stop! Talking for the translation and scan of the German original. Ishema deserves a Woman of the Year nomination for this one:

"Dear Editors,

You’re in luck that I’m at least writing this letter to you in my best handwriting because I am very angry at you. Why should it not be prohibited to write ‘Neger’ in children’s books? One has to be able to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes. Because my father is Senegalese, and he is a very dark shade of brown; I am café-au-lait brown. Just imagine if you were Afro-German and lived in Germany. You’re a newspaper reader and unsuspectingly buy the ZEIT of January 17th 2013. Suddenly, you note the article ‘The Little Witch Hunt.’ This is when you read that the word ‘Neger’ is supposed to be deleted from children’s books, and that this would allegedly spoil the children’s books. I find it totally shit that this word would remain in children’s books if it were up to you. You cannot imagine how I feel when I have to read or hear that word. It is simply very, very terrible. My father is not a ‘Neger’ [lightning bolt sign] nor am I. This is also true for all other Africans. Right. That was my opinion. This word should be deleted from children’s books.

Yours,

Ishema Kane, 9 1/2 years old

P.S.: You’re welcome to send me a response.

[more lightning bolt signs]"

9 and a 1/2 yr old Ishema Kane tells the editors of Die Zeit what's what. (c) Ishema Kane

Yes, Shaquille O'Neal Dropped A Diss Remix of 'Mans Not Hot'

"The real" Shaq responds to British comedian Big Shaq's viral grime hit. The ting goes skrrraaa.

Today, in things you didn't know you would ever hear (or needed to), NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has dropped a diss remix to British comedian Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq aka Roadman Shaq aka MC Quakez's "Mans Not Hot."

The track's a response to Big Shaq's ultra viral freestyle on BBC Radio 1's "Fire in the Booth" segment, where the comedian first dropped his now timeless "the ting goes skrrraaa" lines. Since its release back in August, the clip's gone beyond viral—Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq's even released an official version of the track.

Fast forward to last week, the NBA's Shaq went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, in which The Roots played "Mans Not Hot" as his walk-on music.

Well, with all the attention on the track, it seems the OG Shaq's taken notice and, in his own tongue-in-cheek way, has fired off some bars at the comedian taking his name.

To make things even more confusing, he's also joined by Toronto rapper ShaqisDope on the comedic diss track.

"There's only one Big Shaq," the NBA star rhymes.

Check out Shaq's diss and the original video below. skrrraaa pap bap bap.

A Nasty Boy Magazine's 'Creative Class of 2018' Highlights 40 African Creatives Who Are Disrupting the Status Quo

For its inaugural list, the trailblazing Nigerian publication highlights 40 creatives who are disrupting the norm through art, photography, writing and more.

With it's emphasis on unapologetically interrupting the status quo and championing all things striking, artistic and unconventional, A Nasty Boy is the rare and severely necessary publication shaking up Nigeria's conservative media landscape.

Keep reading... Show less

Erykah Badu Curated A New Fela Kuti Box Set

Badu: "Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius. Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."

To celebrate Fela Kuti's birthday and the many Felabrations going down across the globe, Knitting Factory Records has announced the upcoming arrival of their new Fela Kuti box set.

The new box set, which will be the fourth installment the label has released from the king of Afrobeat, will be curated by none-other-than Erykah Badu.

"Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius," Badu writes in a press statement. "Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."


Erykah Badu's selections include her "favorite Fela Piece of all times," 1980's Coffin For Head of State, alongside Yellow Fever (1976), No Agreement (1977), J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop) (1977), V.I.P. (1979), Army Arrangement (1984), and Underground System (1992).

The box set will be limited to only 3,000 copies, which come with a 16" x 24" poster designed by Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind 26 of Fela Kuti's iconic album covers, and a 20-page full-color booklet. The booklet features seven personal essays written by Erykah Badu.

Previous Fela Kuti box sets have been curated by Questlove, Ginger Baker, and Brian Eno for Knitting Factory Records.

Pre-order Erykah Badu's Fela Kuti box set now.

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.