Kemi Badenoch: Britain is the best place in the world to be black
Freddie Sayers spoke to the Equalities Minister about race relations in the UK
Is Britain a racist country? This is a question that sharply divides most Brits, but for one Government minister, the answer is an emphatic ‘no’. In an interview with UnHerd’s LockdownTV, Kemi Badenoch, exchequer secretary for the treasury and an Equalities Minister, tells Freddie Sayers that Britain is the “best place in the world to be black” and that an excessive focus on race alone can end up obscuring the debate.
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Her comments follow on from an education report that came out last week which found that white working-class pupils had been failed by decades of neglect in England’s education system. It is examples like these, argues Badenoch, that highlight how phrases like ‘white privilege’ are not only divisive, but inaccurate too.
Is Britain racist?
On “White Privilege”:
Is it difficult taking these positions as a black politician?
On her experience as a first-generation immigrant:
On why she ‘hates’ the phrase culture wars:
Who is fighting the culture wars?
On the race and ethnic disparities report:
Are we at a turning point in discussions around race in Britain?
I am totally inclined with her . I am an ethnic minority and have lived here since 2011. I have not really found racism here, partly because
1) I choose not to see certain comments as racist. They are simply old words in use & a jargon that is more descriptive than demeaning
2) I choose not to TAKE offence.
3) there are racial differences everywhere, in the whole world. Here it is minute in comparison
4) despite (some)racial overtones the people here are mostly tolerant and the opportunities ( which are not racially biased) far outweigh the problems of racial inequality
5)the freedom of speech allows all voices to be heard which is non existent in many countries
6) It is unrealistic to expect no alarm from the existing citizens when vast number of people enter & live in a country esp if the look and language ( culture) of the place is visibly changing. The first generation of newcomers are more aware of trying to fit in than the children of that generation.
All in all I find UK is a great place to live , I appreciate it & the experience has been positive on the whole.
Your first comment is very relevant. It is important not to choose to take offence where none is intended but quite easy to do so!
What a sensible person you are, glad you are here
I so totally agree with Judy Johnson. You choose not to take offence. We can all find “micro aggressions”. But why look for offence where none is meant? Good post.
This is a really impressive lady — aware of complexity and nuance, the abuse of language, problems with quotas, she even knows what’s going on in France! I’d vote for her!
She’ll end up being the country’s first black prime minister one day.
I hope so. She is so impressive in debate, when she responds to the oppositions shouty virtue-signalling with effortless-seeming precision!
wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to make everything about “race” though. I wonder if i’ll ever live to see the day. The progress we’ve made in the last 40 years appears to have been annihilated in the last 12 months
I do hope so!
Very absorbing interview and a super smart woman indeed. May this sort of engagement indicate the way of the future in respect of equality and diversity discussions. Intelligent, nuanced, polite. So very tired of the baying mob.
An extraordinary woman who speaks rationally, carefully and eloquently. Entirely admirable and thank goodness for having such an individual in government.
The analogy I often use to express it is that I don’t believe that the UK is a criminal country. Despite almost everyone I know having been a victim of crime,….(Kemi Badenoch above)
This statement does not fill me with confidence.
You can look at the Batley and Spen by-election as a very classic example that even when the Right says nothing, a lot of these arguments that are supposedly cultural arguments are happening purely on the Left. (Kemi Badenoch above).
Louise Perry in The New Statesman this weekend, “The Conservatives are pursuing an anti-woke agenda because they know that it resonates with voters.”
I lived in Nigeria, and I moved to the UK aged 16…. I always say that Britain is the best place in the world to be black, specifically. And I still stick to that.”
She has never lived in another country apart from Nigeria so how can she say?
I am not against the ideas or politics of Ms Badenoch but her statements come over to me as very amateurish.
The issue of woke, who is driving it and who is not, is quite simple. The Left are arguing and talking at every opportunity and they are winning. The Right is ignoring it and hoping that it will go away but still passing legislation in line with the demands of the Left. The issue hinges on the point of positive discrimination. The Left wants to attack anyone with privilege (except themselves of course) and the Right is plodding on, giving a little here, giving a little there. Arguably, the Right is wrong because not speaking about woke is bringing it in through the back door.
I rarely agree with you Mr.Wheatley, but on this you are spot on.
I agree re your last paragraph. In reagrd to Mrs Badenoch living long term in only two countries I am sure that even if she has not lived full time in other countries she will have traveled and visited many. I have lived in several countries but have also visted others for extended period or visited & stayed off the tourist trail.
With the latter two trip types, you also learn alot about a country particulary on the latter, and especially when accompanied with your mixed race family!. France remains an unpleasant experience and despite the common assumption that cities are more liberal it is rural France that is a more pleasant experience. Many Arab countries remain racist for visitors and workers, ask the Asian populations who work in the Middle East.
Mrs Badenoch is indeed impressive.
It was fascinating to learn about Nigerian take on equality and diversity and how quotas may deliver that but they don’t deliver good public service. This is the best argument for meritocracy. There will always be individuals and groups of peoples who despite the signs of hostility towards them shine through . My examples are: Marie Curie as a woman scientist in the ( then) man’s world persevered and was awarded two Nobel prizes and Jewish people who have risen in every discipline to the top ( except …. sport) despite discrimination in every country they resided and the horrors of Holocaust.
I am very impressed by Kemi Badenoch as I am impressed by any woman who goes into politics. They are very brave.
Very true. I shudder to think what it must be like for a politician and her family to open their computer and find a slew of rape and death threats if she has dared to say anything unpopular with the keyboard warriors. How do you learn to ignore that?
When you say that Ms Badenoch’s statements are ‘amateurish’ I suggest that you mean she talks like a normal human being not an ideologue or a politician or an academic. She makes her points very clearly without hedging or using distancing jargon.
Regarding her point about crime. I think it is well made. Nearly everyone has broken the law at some point (even if it’s only speeding) and been the victim of some sort of crime, those two facts are not unconnected. None of us is perfect. In the same way, many Britons have their little prejudices and a few of them are out and out racists, but racism is not a defining characteristic of this country, as it might be said to be in South Africa or the US.
I think it’s a bit harsh to say you need to have lived in every country in the world to know which ones are better or worse on various counts. You can learn a lot if you watch the news. For instance, almost every country in Europe has a flourishing anti-foreigner, right-wing party, except for the UK. The US, Canada, Australia and NZ all have to cope with having ousted an indigenous population that remains discriminated against. (You will mention that it was British immigrants that originally invaded these countries, and I agree, but I am speaking of the present not the past).
As regards your last paragraph, I totally agree and hope that Ms Badenoch represents the fight back against these divisive and oppressive theories.
As she is Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, UnHerd might do another interview with her relating to that.
I feel some sadness that the black person is so often discussing racism (though, yes, it relates to her other job).
Kemi also has an interesting perspective on class. Perhaps she would like to talk about that.
The USA is the most racially diverse integrated society in the world. At roughly 60 percent white, 18 percent Hispanic, 13 percent black. 4 percent Asian. No other country on Earth comes even close. Arguably Sinapore but the mix is not as diverse and it is a much smaller country. Yet still it is claimed it is an evil racist country.
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