Black British Leaders endure threats, insults and gross unfairness


When Mayor Marvin Rees, a descendent of an enslaved African, who now runs Bristol -whose wealth was based on the slave trade-, many of us thought this is turning point in our history: A talented Bristolian working for social justice and prosperity for every citizen, who just happens to be Black. But no. Far from it.

Both Bristol Mayor and his Deputy Asher Craig are to be afforded special police protection because of death threats -that also mention the murdered MP Jo Cox- that have been sent to the two Black leaders with the simple message that ‘ Marvin must die’.

This is the most serious side to the growing racially hostile environment we are seeing right now particularly to those Black people in leadership roles. One of the most popular MP’s on twitter David Lammy constantly receives appalling racial abuse on twitter, but instead of fighting fire with fire, he often sends them a message of friendship, or a ‘come on you can do better that’, response.

An individual, just last week called him a ‘Stupid Black voter’ over Brexit, to which Lammy replied:

Dear Keith ‘We disagree on how our country should move ahead, that’s ok, but let’s do it with civility. Have a great day’

And then we have Diane Abbott MP, who is perhaps the most abused and racially abused politician in the country, who also has to deal with the disparaging treatment for senior people in the media, for example.

Her treatment at the hands of new Question Time presenter, Fiona Bruce, was utterly appalling; constantly interrupted and undermining Abbott. There is also an  accusation that Bruce goaded Abbott before the show started to get the audience against her. The BBC issued a non-apology, apology to Abbot  in which they conceded Bruce had got her facts wrong when badgering her  about 'Labour being behind in the polls',  during the programme.

The deeply worrying thing about these various levels of abuse, all played out in the public domain, say to you young Black men and women; that ‘even when you get a prominent position, you’ll still be treated with disdain and at times hatred and threats of violence.’

As a nation we must confront and effectively deal with what is going before something tragically occurs.

Simon Woolley