British Historian’s Racial Comments Add to Riot Debate

British Historian’s Racial Comments Add to Riot Debate

A historian told the British press that the violent London riots stem from his view that “whites have become Black.”

Published August 14, 2011

As the British government tries to make sense of the riots that devasted London and other cities in the country, others are making their own conclusions about what ignited the public to lash out.


In a controversial interview on BBC2’s Newsnight show, British historian Dr. David Starkey shocked fellow guests when he said the underlying cause was truly black and white: Too many white people had now “become Black,” The Daily Mail  reports.


The Daily Mail  writes:


“He stunned his fellow guests on the BBC2 show, writer Owen Jones and Black author and broadcaster Dreda Say Mitchell, by placing the blame for the riots squarely with a form of Black male culture that he said ‘mitigated against education’.

He said: ‘A substantial section of the chavs have become Black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion'.


The historian’s racially fueled remarks were immediately met with backlash on Twitter, including a condemning message from Piers Morgan, host of CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, who tweeted: “RIP David Starkey’s TV career. And good riddance. Racist idiot.”


Starkey then connected the recent riots to an infamous speech given by former Prime Minister Enoch Powell in 1968, in which Powell proclaimed that immigration would eventually mean “the Black man will have the whip hand over the white man” in Britain.


Starkey denied he said anything racist and stood by his comments.


“David Starkey has had a career-ending moment,” tweeted Owen Jones, who challenged Dr. Starkey during the televised interview, “But in the current climate, his comments are very dangerous.”


Separately, the British government has taken a “knee-jerk” response in order to quell the city streets, which may only make crime worse, some Liberal Democrats have said.


Some options brought before Parliament include everything from evicting rioters who live in subsidized housing paid for by taxpayers to restricting the movements of convicted gang members, to potentially shutting down cell phone services, text messaging and social media in times of civil unrest.

(Photo: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Written by Britt Middleton


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