Oh dear. David Starkey, a British historian, was on BBC2’s Newsnight and gave an assessment of The U.K. riots that has sparked controversy and contempt. Starkey, an expert on the Tudor dynasty who is responsible for a series of successful documentaries on the subject, said, “the problem is that the whites have become black.” Was this narrow-minded, vague and offensive quote taken out of context? Full video after the jump, you be the judge.
If you can’t watch, this is the statement in question:
“The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion and black and white boys and girls operate in this language together. This language which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has been intruded in England and that is why so many of us have this sense of literally of a foreign country.”
Owen Jones, a fellow guest on Newsnight, told the Guardian that Starkey’s comments were “a career-ending moment.”
Starkey continued, and said it’s “not skin color, it’s cultural.” Before his backtracking could even set in, he went off in another racially-charged tangent, the classic and shameful, “‘Educated Black People Sound White’ gambit”:
“Listen to [Tottenham Labour MP] David Lammy, an archetypal successful black man. If you turn the screen off so that you are listening to him on radio you would think he was white.”
This isn’t the first time Starkey has made contentious comments about race; in 2005 he told the Telegraph, “What’s striking about our problem ethnic communities is that they are the ones with the least commitment to self-betterment.”
After watching scenes of neighborhoods in flames and looters running rampant, there’s nothing like a panel discussion on television to further hurt humanity’s public image.
David Starkey claims ‘the whites have become black’ [Guardian]