UK's Sunak urges confrontation of racism amid new royal race row

Concerns about racism at the palace flared after Tuesday’s reception at Buckingham Palace when Susan Hussey used racially charged language to a black British woman.

Published: 02nd December 2022 03:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2022 03:08 PM   |  A+A-

G20 Summit, Rishi Sunak

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Photo | AP)

By Agencies

LONDON: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday that racism must be confronted "whenever we see it", as he touched on his own experiences dealing with racial discrimination and bigotry.

His comments come the day after a fresh racism row hit the royal household, with a senior staff member resigning for repeatedly asking a black British charity campaigner where she was "really" from.

Sunak, the UK's first prime minister of colour, said "it wouldn't be right for me to comment" on the specifics of the scandal, but noted that he had "experienced racism in my life".

"But what I'm pleased to say is that some of the things that I experienced when I was a kid and a young person, I don't think would happen today," he told Sky News.

The 42-year-old Conservative leader hailed the country's "incredible progress in tackling racism", while adding "the job is never done".

"And that's why whenever we see it, we must confront it. And it's right that we continually learn the lessons and move to a better future," Sunak said.

Concerns about racism at the palace flared after Tuesday’s reception at Buckingham Palace.

Ngozi Fulani, chief executive of Sistah Space, an east London refuge for women of African and Caribbean heritage, said she was stunned by her exchange with Lady Susan Hussey, 83, William's godmother and a long-time lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

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Fulani said the conversation began when Hussey reached out and moved her hair out of the way to read Fulani’s name tag.

“I don’t know who you are, but it is not OK to put your hand in my hair, whoever you are,” she told the BBC.

Hussey then asked her over and over about where she came from, Fulani said. When she said she was from east London, the older woman responded, “No, what part of Africa are you from?”

Fulani said that what she experienced was racism, regardless of Hussey’s age or how uncomfortable it may make other people feel to hear that term.

India Matters


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