Racism must be confronted, says Sunak


The royal household has also begun publishing data on the ethnic breakdown of its staff, admitting it has more to do to ensure due representation…reports Asian Lite News

Breaking his silence on the latest race row to engulf the royal household, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said racism, whenever encountered, must be confronted.

Sunak said he had faced racism in his early life but believes the country has progressed since then. However, without directly commenting on the incident or the monarchy, he acknowledged that there is still work to be done.

“I have experienced racism in the past. But what I am pleased to say is that some of the things that I experienced while I was a kid I don’t think would happen today because our country has made incredible progress in tackling racism,” Sunak told reporters on Thursday.

“But the job is never done and that’s why whenever we see racism we must confront it. It’s right that we continually learn the lessons and move to a better future,” the British PM said.

Sunak’s remarks came in the wake of allegations of racism against Lady Susan Hussey, who is godmother to heir apparent Prince William and served as lay-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The controversy erupted when Ngozi Fulani, a British national of African heritage and Caribbean descent, wrote on Twitter that the royal aide had repeatedly asked her: “What part of Africa are you from?” when she attended an event hosted by King Charles’s wife Camilla, the queen consort, on Tuesday.

Without naming Lady Hussey, Fulani said she was left traumatised by her persistent inquiries. In the end, she told her: “I am born here and am British.”

As the scandal blew up, Lady Hussey resigned from her role in the royal household and apologised over the incident. The Buckingham Palace also issued a statement terming her comments as “unacceptable and deeply regrettable.”

Meanwhile, Labour MP Diane Abbott, the first black woman to sit in the House of Commons when she was elected in the 1980s, said it was “really shocking” that a black Briton’s identity could be interrogated in this way.

But she told Times Radio that Buckingham Palace had made “progress” on race issues in the past 10 years.

Back then, “they would have said she (Fulani) was oversensitive and just dismissed it”, said Abbott.

The palace appears to have taken lessons on board particularly since last year, when Harry and his mixed-race wife Meghan accused an unidentified royal of racism with regard to their unborn baby.

Then, William retorted: “We are very much not a racist family.” But the family said the matter would be dealt with “privately”.

The royal household has also begun publishing data on the ethnic breakdown of its staff, admitting it has more to do to ensure due representation.

Yet from their new lives in California, the duke and duchess of Sussex have been portraying themselves as modernising outsiders who tried to take on a reactionary establishment.

Ironies abound as the feuding brothers both find themselves on the US East Coast — with no plans to meet.

William is set to award an environmental prize in Boston inspired by former president John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” ambition in the 1960s.

Next week, Harry and Meghan are due to attend an awards gala in New York held by the human rights foundation of Kennedy’s brother Robert.

His daughter Kerry Kennedy says the couple will be recognised for taking a “heroic stand” against “structural racism” within the British monarchy.

There is further irony in the row erupting in the week that saw new data from the 2021 census confirm that Britain is more racially diverse — and less Christian — than ever before.

Charles himself has a lifelong commitment to multi-culturalism and religious diversity while the government is led by the country’s first prime minister of colour, Rishi Sunak.

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