Only two days after entering the Labour leadership contest Diane Abbott is at the centre of a ‘race’ row after describing Nick Clegg and David Cameron as ‘two posh white boys’, but after the media and some members of the British public has repeatedly complained about political correctness preventing constructive discussion on issues such as immigration and multiculturalism, is this attack on Abbott hypocritical?
When Diane Abbott entered the Labour leadership race seeking to become the first black Labour leader and the first female Labour leader, for the first time since the election almost doubled the number of black and Asian MPs from 14 to 27 there was another reason for black and minority ethnic communities to sit up and take notice of British politics.
However, Abbott’s outspoken views which has got her in trouble in the past (read Determined Diane Abbott enters Labour leadership race) arguably ensured that the British media would have her on their radar; and only two days since she entered the Labour leadership contest and they have pounced.
On the BBC”s political programme This Week, Abbott said “One of the things about this new leadership is how post-meritocratic it is. Two posh white boys from the home counties.” (MailOnline: 21 May)
Her comments attracted criticism on the BBC message boards from viewers who felt that she was being racist. One viewer wrote “I am sure that if a posh white person sat on this programme and mentioned a colour comment like that, there would be uproar.”
Another reader said “Diane Abbot has just used the expression “Two posh white boys”. If anyone had used the expression “Two working class black women” we would now be in a period of soul searching.”
The MailOnline report then goes on to describe Abbott’s previous controversial comments such as when she said that Britain had “invented racism” in the late 1980s.
It is interesting how for some time now the media and many members of the British public have spoken out about political correctness and how it has prevented debate on issues such as immigration, Islam and multiculturalism etc; yet here we have a black woman stating the facts in the context that the Labour Leadership contest was an all white-male affair until Abbott entered and the new government do just happen to have two posh white males as leaders.
Abbott was encouraging discussion about the narrow confines of politics which is still led by posh white males. How is this a racist remark?
The contradiction of attacking Abbott’s remark reveals itself when you consider that if a feminist was attacking the male domination of politics would readers have been that upset?
This is reverse political correctness which serves to prevent debate about racial representation in politics.
The knee-jerk reaction to Abbott’s comment just goes to show how hypocritical the British media and the viewers who complained are. It is one rule for them and another for black and minority ethnic communities when it comes to discussing race.
Either we have open discussion on race for all or no discussion at all.
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