Racism is a global phenomenon which is influenced by a range of historical, social, political and economic factors. It takes different forms in different contexts and as a result has been defined in many different ways.
Racism has its roots in the belief that some people are superior because of the particular race, ethnic or national group they belong to. The concept of race is a social construct, not a scientific one.
An India-born teen, Kimberly D’Mello of class 12 earned the title in the national Race Unity Speech Competition for her prescription to combat racism at Tauranga’s Aquinas College in the North Island, New Zealand. The competition was held at the Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chevalier, Auckland on Saturday night.
D’Mello was born in India but was brought up in New Zealand. She made it through regional finals and vanquished the other eight at the speech competition to win NZ$1,000 for her school and NZ$1,000 for herself.
During her seven minute speech she said, “Do not wait for someone else. Do it yourself. Do not get someone else to fix the problem. Do it yourself and don’t rely on the Aussies.”
“We are all responsible for the kind of country and community we live in,” she added.
“D’Mello had captured the fundamental essence of human rights,” said Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner, who was one of the judges.
On her experience of sharing her views on racism, D’Mello said “It was good to perform in front of such a large audience.”
D’Mello admitted that she has not experienced racism yet but have seen people discriminating on the basis on color and name.
The theme of the night, however, was about bringing people together, so that was what she focused on, she said.
Researchers have found a new drug that may eventually help to reduce alcohol addiction in adults who used to binge during their adolescent years.
A new drug found which can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers
“During our teen years, the brain is still in a relatively immature state. Binge drinking worsens this situation, as alcohol undermines the normal developmental processes that affect how our brain matures,” said lead author Jon Jacobsen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
“Therefore, when an adolescent who has been binge drinking becomes an adult, they’re often left with an immature brain, which assists in the development of alcohol dependence,” Jacobsen added.
For the study, published in the Journal Neuropharmacology, researchers observed that adolescent mice involved in binge drinking behavior developed an increased sensitivity to alcohol as adults and engaged in further binge drinking.
The researchers were able to prevent some of these detrimental behaviors observed in adulthood, by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain.
The drug is (+)-Naltrexone, known to block the immune receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).
“This drug effectively switched off the impulse in mice to binge drink. The mice were given this drug still sought out alcohol, but their level of drinking was greatly reduced,” says senior author Professor Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide.
“We’re excited by the finding that we can potentially block binge drinking in an adult after they have experienced such behavior during adolescence, by stopping the activation of the brain’s immune system. It’s the first time this has been shown and gives us hope that our work has implications for the eventual treatment of alcohol addiction in adults,” Hutchinson noted.(IANS)
Former Planning Commission member Arun Maira’s latest book is titled ‘Listening for Well-Being’
Maira observes that physical and verbal violence in the world and on social media is continuously growing
He also highlights the importance of ‘hearing each other’ in order to create truly inclusive and democratic societies
New Delhi, September 5, 2017 : Former Planning Commission member Arun Maira contends that “physical violence” in the real world and “verbal violence” on social media against people whom “we do not approve of” are increasing today. With such trends on the rise, the very idea of democracy finds itself in a crisis.
“We need to listen more deeply to people who are not like us,” said the much-respected management consultant, talking of his latest book, “Listening for Well-Being”, and sharing his perspective on a wide range of issues that he deals with.
“Violence by people against those they dislike, for whatever reason, is increasing. It has become dangerous to post a personal view on any matter on social media. Responses are abusive. There is no respect for another’s dignity. People are also repeatedly threatened with physical violence.”
He said that gangs of trolls go after their victims viciously. “Social media has become a very violent space. Like the streets of a run-down city at night… not a safe space to roam around in.”
At the same time, streets in the physical world are becoming less safe too. “Any car or truck on the road can suddenly become a weapon of mass destruction in a ‘civilised’ country: in London, Berlin, Nice, or Barcelona,” Maira told IANS in an interview.
Maira said that with the rise of right-wing parties that are racist and anti-immigrant, there is great concern in the Western democratic world — in the US, the UK and Europe — that democracy is in a crisis.
In the US, for example, supporters of Donald Trump, Maira said, believe only what Trump says and watch only the news channels that share a similar ideology. On the other side are large numbers of US citizens who don’t believe what Trump says but they too have their own preferred news sources.
“They should listen to each other, and understand each other’s concerns. Only then can the country be inclusive. And also truly democratic — which means that everyone has an equal stake and an equal voice,” he noted.
In “Listening for Well-Being” (Rupa/Rs 500/182 Pages), Arun Maira shows his readers ways to use the power of listening. He analyses the causes for the decline in listening and proposes solutions to increase its depth in private and public discourse.
Drawing from his extensive experience as a leading strategist, he emphasises that by listening deeply, especially to people who are not like us, we can create a more inclusive, just, harmonious and sustainable world for everyone.
But it would be wrong to say that the decline in listening is only restricted to the Western world.
“We have the same issues in India too. We are a country with many diverse people. We are proud of our diversity. However, for our country to be truly democratic, all people must feel they are equal citizens.
“The need for citizens to listen to each other is much greater in India than in any other country because we are the most diverse country, and we want to be democratic. So, we must learn to listen more deeply to ‘people who are not like us’ in our country because of their history, their culture, their religion, or their race,” he maintained.
Maira also said that India is a country with a very long and rich history. And within the present boundaries of India are diverse people, with different cultures, different religions, and of different races.
“So, we cannot put too sharp a definition on who is an ‘Indian’ — the language they must speak, the religion they must follow, or the customs they must adopt. Because, then we will exclude many who do not have the same profiles, and say they are not Indians. Thus we can falsely, and dangerously, divide the country into ‘real Indians’ and those who are supposedly non-Indians. Indeed, such forces are rising in India,” he added.
Maira, 74, hoped that all his readers will appreciate that listening is essential to improve the world for everyone. He also maintained that it is not a complete solution to any of the world’s complex problems but by listening to other points of view, we can prevent conflict and also devise better solutions.
Born in Lahore, Arun Maira received his M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Physics from Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College. He has also authored two bestselling books previously, “Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions” and “Upstart in Government: Journeys of Change and Learning”. (IANS)
Gary Mehigan said that Indian food is gaining deserved attention globally
We have many Indian chefs like Manish Mehrotra, Sanjeev Kapoor
The Chef expressed that food the world over has seen enormous changes driven by social media
August 27, 2017: Globally renowned English-Australian chef, television show host and restaurateur Gary Mehigan says he believes that “regionality is what sets Indian food apart” from the cuisines across the world.
In an email interview with IANS from Melbourne, Mehigan said that Indian food is gaining deserved attention globally. “We’re close to seeing India explore its intellectual property, namely food, properly. We have many Indian chefs like Manish Mehrotra, Sanjeev Kapoor and many other names from all over the world infiltrating the food scene in a big way.”
“People still sometimes see Indian food as a homogeneous chicken tikka, rogan josh, chicken vindaloo cuisine, when we know it is far from the truth. Regionality is what sets Indian food apart. Regionality is what the world is going to appreciate when it starts to learn about Indian food,” Mehigan explained.
“I hope I’m a part of those who bring great Indian food to Australia,” said the chef, who is now the face of Fox Life’s “Food @ 9: India Special with Gary Mehigan”.
“There’s quite a bit of Australian talent we’re trying to showcase through the series. These shows get addictive and help us travel vicariously through our television sets,” he stated.
Mehigan, who will be setting foot in India for the seventh time this November, said he carries back inspiration from the country to his kitchen from each visit.
“I love the country – something about the color, the chaos, the diversity and the originality of the food, it all gets under your skin. I carry home a few recipes and ideas each time I visit. It’s certainly changed the way I cook at home,” he said.
Known popularly for shows like “Far Flung with Gary Mehigan”, and for his presence as a judge on “MasterChef Australia”, the Chef expressed that food the world over has seen enormous changes driven by social media.
“I’m loving where food is at the moment. Ideas are being shared so quickly through social media — whether it’s Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I can browse through my Instagram and look at what some of my most favorite restaurants in the world are serving for lunch.
“The frame of reference for younger cooks is much bigger. They are able to browse through how a matcha ice-cream is made in Tokyo, or how funky desserts are made in Parisian cafes,” Mehigan said.
All in all, it’s a great thing for food with awareness growing, he opined. “This global club of foodies is only expanding. It’s a great thing for food, our health, and our planet too if we care about where our food comes from.”
Social media is also one of his ways to keep reinventing his food, said the chef, who has been in the industry for nearly three decades.
“Social media is there to keep my imagination going. I’m food obsessed. I go on holidays because of food. I think I’ve never been in love with food more than I am now,” Mehigan said, signing off. (IANS)