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Is David Starkey a racist?

Monday, 15th August 2011


Should David Starkey be made homeless by his local council for his recent “inflammatory” comments about the riots which have so entertained us recently? I do not know who runs Mr Starkey’s local council and I suppose that he is an owner-occupier, rather than living in accommodation subsidised by the rest of us. But clearly, according to many eminent figures, such as the BBC’s camp and self important business correspondent Robert Peston and the sage Piers Morgan, Starkey should suffer some sort of punishment for having said that white chavs were now copying the violent and materialistic culture of the black underclass.  Both Peston and Morgan averred Starkey should no longer be allowed on TV. I am not a huge fan of Starkey’s, but I marginally prefer him on my box to either Peston or Morgan, but I suppose that’s by the by. The fact that Starkey was – on this narrow point – incontestably correct does not seem to bother those whose view of the world is blinkered by a terrible fear of being called racist.

Yet again, it was left to the black academic Tony Sewell to make the important points:

“…..for, despite the attempts of some apologists to dress up the looting as a political act against an oppressive Tory establishment, the fact is that the ethos of materialism — or ‘bling’ to use the street term — that pervades urban black youth played a major part in the widespread criminality perpetrated by rioters of all races.

That is why the looters targeted specific stores that are cherished in this culture, such as those selling mobile phones, trainers, sports clothes or widescreen TVs. Let’s face it, there were no reports of the vandals looting bookshops or public libraries.

What motivated the troublemakers was not genuine poverty but rather a raw acquisitiveness that is fuelled by so much in this black-led youth culture, from the imagery in rap videos to the lyrics of hip-hop music. The twin central themes of this world are sex and material possessions….”

Mr Sewell went on to talk about this recent phenomena of “wiggas”, although he did not use the term. This is young urban white chavs adopting the patois, apparel and mindset of black youths. Perhaps the idiotic Peston will call for Sewell to be stripped of his degree, too.

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Robert Taggart

August 15th, 2011 10:38am

'Star'key !

Davey L.S

August 15th, 2011 10:54am

Yep, a lot of uncomfortable truths in the comments made in this post, that is uncomfortable for those who don't like to face reality.

Sir Graphus

August 15th, 2011 10:55am

Starkey was generalising, and generalising about race issues always sounds like racism; avoiding any hint of racism makes sentences too long to complete.

I see, though, that Sewell, being black, is allowed to make generalisations like " materialism ... that pervades urban black youth", whereas Starkey is not.


August 15th, 2011 11:07am

True dat innit. Depressing to see the knee-jerk politics of the politically correct social elite alive and well in Peston and Morgan

Robert Saintfield

August 15th, 2011 11:20am

The white liberal establishment woke in the morning not only with the fear that those they consider to be to on their right might be right but that they might come to the same conclusion.

Hence what I think psychologists might call this reaction formation directed at Starkey. He has presented an opinion that they actually share. Not willing to face up to reality which they incipiently recognize they have to project all their guilt onto him.

What else can you do when ideology is confronted by brutal facts but burn the heretics who dare to speak of them.

Jon Grunewald

August 15th, 2011 11:32am

I like David Starkey and I am reluctant to believe that he is a racist. But seriously, does the evidence tell us that the rioters and looters were all either black people or whites who wanted to copy and emulate black culture - and that black culture equates to lawlessness and a desire for fashionable goods, to be purchased or stolen? Anyone who actually knows young people will understand that Starkey is mistaken. He compares the genteel undergraduates whom he knows with the inner city chavs whom he doesn't know, and recoils in horror like a maiden aunt. He has made a mistake. Don't pillory him for it, but encourage him to put right the damage he has caused to his own reputation.

wrinkled weasel

August 15th, 2011 11:34am

Mr Starkey has drawn a line in the sand. On one side are those who, dripping with blood,bruised and battered, will maintain to the last that their attacker was a victim of social deprivation. On the other are those who see the riots of ingrained criminality which obviously emanates from black culture. To deny the latter is slightly odd, given the photographic evidence and the profile of the perpetrators.

Is is going beyond the bounds of rhetoric to describe this division of opinion as the Battle of Britain?

Society, in any meaningful sense, only really coalesces during a crisis. The rest of the time people are concerned with there own lives. The riots have impinged on the cocoon of non-engagement in wider debates. People have died and there was a certain amount of fear generated, probably enough to wake the dead, but certainly enough to cause people to think about the issues.

The battle is one of narrative and agenda: on one side you have Peston et al, and the BBC, on the other you have the quite ordinary folk, (remember Gillian Duffy?) who in their own home-spun socialist way cannot quite understand why violence, intimidation and tyranny are leigitimised by the elite.

I have said elsewhere that political will depends upon the will of the people. To capture the hearts and minds of the people requires an aquisition of the media agenda and control of the narrative. Currently the hegemony is in the hands of a left-leaning elite. I just wonder how preposterous and unpleasant they will have to be before the public sees the truth, the truth being that violence is not predicated upon social deprivation, but greed and sociopathy.


August 15th, 2011 11:51am

Watching the riots unfold on TV it struck me that pundits and politicians alike were ignoring the 'elephant in the room'. As normal the usual suspects are out trying to shut down the debate with cries of racism. I'm not a fan of the overly pompous Starkey, but in this regard he has expressed what most people across the country were thinking. Of course now that the anger towards the rioters is subsiding the "yoof" charities will be telling us its all our fault afterall.

Tony Mann

August 15th, 2011 12:01pm

why do folk always assume that Council housing is always "subsidised".. its not.
Most Councils transferred ownership of their housing stock to Housing Associations many years ago. Most housing associations make profit or break even.

The irony here is that many "home owners" were subsidised by the tax payer for many years.

William Haig

August 15th, 2011 12:05pm

David Starkey is light years away from the head buriers - down with PC and up with the Truth bcacause Truth is the new Cool!

Burt Costello

August 15th, 2011 12:06pm

Just been listening to Radio 5 dead phone in, people have taken Starkey out of context and need to listen to exactly what he said not what they think he said or what they want to hear. David Starkey for PM.


August 15th, 2011 12:07pm

I have read so many opinions on the UK riots that I feel I have to make a comment.
I spoke with a lot of poeple involved in the riots before it even began (yes, they all came to the area in preparation for the riot), and the resounding theme I got was 'we are claiming back our taxes, we are taking back governments money, we are tired of big companies making so much money while we suffer...etcetera. It had nothing to do with race. You highlighted in your article that no library or book shop was looted... does that need an explanation why? Or can you not see the common sense reason behind it? Every 'establishment' was in line to be looted but... the ones you mentioned that got targeted happens to be the shops that the young people of all races shop in.
If myself as avid reader was to be involved in the looting along with fellow readers like myself, yes of course, book shops will be looted...! Now can you guess my race?


August 15th, 2011 12:10pm

So in essence blacks and black culture are to blame for these riots.

An incredibly superficial analysis.

Had no idea that Brits were so racist.


Rod Big

August 15th, 2011 12:11pm

What a strange situation to find oneself in. An article by the consistantly weak journalist Rod Little that I agree with, and an opinion from Starky that is uncontentious and merely a statement of a reality that has has existed for decades in some corners of youth culture. (although somewhat irrelevant as we have had riots for centuries in the UK without any help from the hipperty hop).

+ the best and most succinct description I've heard of Richard Peston.

I guess even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day.

Gvak Uh Fungi

August 15th, 2011 12:14pm

In today's "Independent" Yasmin Alibhai-Brown writes a typical Yasmin-y saort of excoriation of Starkey; however, in the same edition, John Bird says more or less the same as Starkey.

Tony Carter

August 15th, 2011 12:16pm

David Starkey and Tony Sewell are both right on the money in all of their recent comments. The culture is being driven by rap videos and hip hop lyrics and the adoption by white chavs of the patois, apparel and mindset of the black youths. As for Peston and Morgan, they are only taking a contrary view and their vox pops to get more exposure and column inches for their own reward. As for trying to belittle these two eminent is Peston and Morgan that should be banished from our screens.

Austin Barry

August 15th, 2011 12:16pm

In the words of George Orwell and Joey Barton:

" Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."

Minnie Ovens

August 15th, 2011 12:19pm

I'm sick of the racism game and the worst are the people like Peston and Morgan.
All cultures and ethnic races have a certain aversion towards others not of their ilk. It's natural.
What is egregious is a whole cadre of politically correct quangocrats making a lot of money telling people whether or not they are racists.
In a normal society persons who scream racial epithets are put in their place by their peers.
Not so in bureaucratic and law laden UK where it is not society that does this but the law.
Back at a time when Britain was run adequately and we had a big society (before Governments abolished it) we could watch the Dambusters and see Guy Gibson's dog called Nigger.
Not so in this 1984 world we now live in.

Greig Thomas

August 15th, 2011 12:23pm

Yet again the left wing liberal agenda raises its head.
Starkey is spot on. His wording could have been better, but his central point is nonetheless spot on.

steve a

August 15th, 2011 12:24pm

My problem with his comments is the use of the term “ black culture” in which he viscerally describes it with negative connotations. He makes a reference to this violent, reprehensible behaviour as the default culture of all black people which is not true. There is a gang culture or subculture with its vocabulary, norms and music in every society and he should have been clear about that. In that same interview he previously made the effort to deconstruct Enoch Powell’s speech in context and his flawed application of that speech. He then started talking about black culture in the most generic negative terms .As a black person I don’t subscribe to a gangster culture or language as part of my experience and the large number of black people I know don’t have the culture of guns , language violence etc as a social reference point or cultural experience. I am aware of the gang culture but I am not a participant, and that’s same as most people irrespective of colour. His thinking that there is a monolithic “black culture “ coming from the mouth of an educated historian is quite disappointing I am not sure if its racist but it does have its roots in lazy unenlightened thinking that is quite damaging if you’re on the receiving end . Especially when applied in the work place or socially. The matrix of poverty, race, behaviour, values should be openly discussed without fear of recrimination but it should be specific with a balanced context.


August 15th, 2011 12:27pm

Lots of silly remarks about black culture. Does playing Scott Joplin on the piano lead to shoplifting.... or for that matter going to a church and listening to gospel music.

Starkey's failure was that he failed to distinguish between "Gangsta" culture and the large array of culture that are predominately of black origin. (He did try to retrieve the situation later in the interview - but he had already back footed himself with two stupid remarks). This is as offensive as a foreigner claiming that "the sex pistols" and football hooliganism represents English culture.

I don't believe him to be a racist. I do think however he was guilty of extreme crassness and a gross of simplification that could have easily been avoided by choosing his words more carefully (which as an academic he should be able to do).


August 15th, 2011 12:33pm

No need to worry about Dr. Starkey. The BBC has marginalized him for years. Being an academic and not being "bien pensant" is a huge crime which means he will not get the airtime afforded to the establishment professors -Wynston, Schama, Laurie Taylor etc. or the borrow and spend more Keynsians who are regularly brought out as part of the BBC's campaign against the cuts.

Derek Pasquill

August 15th, 2011 12:39pm

As opposed to liberal left bigots of the Guardian ilk?


August 15th, 2011 12:39pm

The noble Piers Morgan - the man who literally pissed over the reputation of our armed forces, then picked up a £1m cheque when the Mirror sacked him.
As for Peston, why is he expressing an opinion at all? I thought BBC journalists were meant to take a neutral standpoint. Will he be reprimanded for this; is it a career ending moment for him? I doubt it.
Anyone who saw the debate might also assume that Emily Maitlis also shares Peston's views from the way she allowed the other two guests to shout down Starkey. Whether you agree with the historian or not, it would have been courteous to allow him to have his say.


August 15th, 2011 12:46pm

Welcome back! We've missed you.
If a man is to be judged by his enemies, then Starkey must be delighted to be excoriate by the insufferable Peston and the oafish egomaniac Morgan.


August 15th, 2011 12:47pm

Rod, where've you been?

Peston is unbelievably camp, sometimes it's like listening to Jules and Sandy. I've not heard this remarked on before.

Anyway, welcome back.

Eugene (Spain)

August 15th, 2011 12:50pm

Starkey likes to be controversial but, despite that, what he says is quite true and self-evident to a degree. The howls of silly disapproval is no more than self-serving expressions of "horrified of Tunbridge Wells."


August 15th, 2011 12:57pm

Let us rejoice, brethren. A pivotal moment in terms of cross-cultural harmony has arrived. Our class of feral people, and all societies have feral people, is increasingly colour-blind. Many, perhaps all, of its members speak a similar dialect that to hearers sounds alien and, very sadly, barbaric, cretinous, smug and threatening. Members of this class of feral people might on occasion express some racist points of view. Generally, they are well integrated and are united by the absence of any set of values that a nation with a real belief in civilisation, real schools and more able parents would expect of its young.

Starkey's onto a winner here. The plurality of those who heard his remarks will realise that at worst he was awkward. He was right to associate the argot of the looters and of many others who did not loot with its Caribbean roots. Fundamentally, this does not matter. But the comments he made were pretty fair and hardly racist at all.

Dr McIntosh

August 15th, 2011 12:58pm

Sounds like Sewell has a predictive model. Maybe Mr Sewell would like to quantify these relationship and inform us when the next riot will be.

Revoke his degree if his prediction can be falsified? Maybe not. Revoke his degree if he is using his qualifications to cast assertions that he knows cannot be refuted and will likely cause controversy? Maybe.


August 15th, 2011 1:04pm

Mr Starkey was commenting on a factual observation. To be branded a racist proves that white English people are losing the freedom of speech, within our own society. Unfortunately people do not like the truth! Especially the liberal idealists and politicians of this nation. The youth are not the problem! 95% of the wealth owned by 5% of the population is a problem. Who do you think the government really represents? They give our money away, while child poverty and homelessness are still prevalent in our own state. Mr Starkey is a realist not a racist.

John Littlum

August 15th, 2011 1:12pm

What may surprise many of us is that most of the rioters in Salford and Manchester were white!
I don't necessarily it was about race but more about class, but it is easier to blame another race.
Imagine what would have happened if he had said the same about Jews.......

Will P

August 15th, 2011 1:13pm

The last 20 odd years has seen the world's political bellcurve shift to the right and with it the excesses of capitalism have been allowed to over-extend. Even under the last Labour government the the divide between rich and poor grew. Whilst few felt militant enough to challenge the status quo due to "comfort-zone" lethergy it has been manifestly obvious that a feral class has grown within our midst.

The hard truth is that we have all become lazy: lazy enough that we didn't challenge our politicians on governance of the financial sector; lazy enough that we let politicians wholesale lie to us over taking us to war; lazy enough that we have all let common sense be replaced with "Emporor's clothes" drift to a place that nobody wants to go to.

Much has been siad about these feral youths not working. We must all shed our lazy ideology and be militant in our defence of common- sense.

As for Mr Starkey he is not everyone's cup of tea, but he is intelligent, well educated with an impressive historical perspective and most importantly,he is shouting "sorry chums but the King is bare!"

Michael Meredith

August 15th, 2011 1:21pm

No he is not racist, however the white population have been cowed by the PC brigade, the fact is that a dispropotionate amount of crime is committed by black youth, without doubt they started the so called riots, simply an opportunity for looting and theft, without sufficient punishment they feel free to do as they please, despite David Cameron saying they will feel the the full force of the law they will and do not, without punishment it is a green light to do whatever they want to, as with black gangs there is also a white underclass who feel it acceptable to commit crime, without sufficient punishment when (and if) caught they are happy to do as they please, two issues, when again will it be acceptable to speak the truth without fear of the PC backlash, rashonal argument must come to the fore and we must be allowed to discuss issues without them being hijacked as racist, in my view the riots are proof of the disaster foisted upon us that is called multiculturism, open borders, mass immigration, we will rue the day, we being the long term white population.

Matthew Wilson

August 15th, 2011 1:26pm

What does it say about our contemporary political culture that people are far more interested in running a witchhunt than having an open debate on the actual issues?

Not that I'm surprised, I hasten to add, but it is profoundly depressing.

Maybe we need some kind of "I'm Spartacus" movement whereby serious-minded people could wear T-shirts saying things like "I'm racist", "I don't celebrate diversity", or simply "Fascistic imperialist oppressor".

I expect the irony would not be appreciated, somehow. Maybe something simple like "Politically incorrect" would be less likely to get you punched in the face by an outraged do-gooder? As I say, depressing.

George Cook

August 15th, 2011 1:28pm

David Starky is the boy who saw the emperor's nakedness. Anyone who has watched a child grow up in Britain since the 1980s will know that African-American style and behaviour has influenced youth culture to the extent that many young people now demand "respect" in the form of obeisance, as a birthright, and will brook no argument, taking any form of dissent as an insult and, sometimes, a prelude to a disproportionate response. For them, the famous Kennedy speech would go like this: "I ask not what I can do for my country, but what can my country do for me."

C Cole

August 15th, 2011 1:32pm

@ Minnie Ovens

Absolutely agree. Continuing the T-shirts idea, how about a picture of Guy Gibson's dog with his name as the caption? You would probably get arrested and/or lynched.

Archibald Spratt

August 15th, 2011 1:32pm

Starkey and Sewell are right on the money. Anyone who doesn't think white urban youth is adopting black attitudes and patois walks about with eyes closed. Many of my white middle class friends' children speak like this now.

Jonathan Anthony

August 15th, 2011 1:35pm

You can add the name of thinking man's bimbo Louise Mensch to the list. Heroine to Zero in two weeks.

Jack Spratt

August 15th, 2011 1:51pm

So prior to black people the British had no "violent and materialistic sub-culture" I suppose the Krays, mods and rockers, football hooligans who covert Fred Perry and Lonsdale attire were/are just benevolent lovable rogues...


August 15th, 2011 1:53pm

If you swap the term black culture for street culture then everything Starkey says is true.

Everyone gets excited and refuses to discuss the real issues at hand when race is mentioned.

Kids do act/dress/walk/talk like would be gangsters. Who would want to employ someone doing that? Some hip hop culture worships material things, and denigrates women.


August 15th, 2011 1:53pm

Of course David Starkey was right that is why the left want to shut him up.

Enoch Powell said many areas of our country would become like foreign countries. The people never asked for or wanted this. Every MP in every party knows this is true but if just one stood up and said it the shout of "racist" from the left would break every window in every vibrant, multicultural high street in this once green and pleasant land.

mark g

August 15th, 2011 2:06pm

thats the trouble with this coutry say it as it is and you are the bad guy.

Stephanie Tohill

August 15th, 2011 2:07pm

Being charitable - I would say he was trying to make a sensible point, and made it very badly.

However, based on what he said, I struggle to interpret his comment on Lammy in any other fashion. Lammy 'sounds white'. Presumably because he is articulate and educated (if he was unable to speak in an articulate fashion, he would sound 'black' I'm guessing?) So he is assigning a behavioural trait to a race.

Likewise he referred to the white rioters as having 'become black'. Once again seeming to assign a behavioural characteristic towards a race. So based SOLELY on the words he said (and I watched the Newsnight piece)that's the only conclusion to be drawn.

Unless, I am charitable and assume when he said the white rioters had become black, and that Lammy talks white, he was using a lazy short-hand to refer to a particular street sub-culture. I also notice it is curious this belief that the white chavs only act in such a manner because they are copying behaviour exhibited by the black underclass. Almost as if Starkey (and Liddle) believe that without a black underclass, the white underclass would never behave in a violently, materialistic fashion (nice way to remove blame. Nice white English people could never, naturally act in this fashion!) It's the other side of the (equally offensive) notion that well behaved, well educated, rather middle class black people are 'acting white' (coconut anybody?) What kind of message does that send to young black men. That it's not possible to be 'authentically black' and well educated? Middle class? Well spoken? Not positive at all.

Can you say why it is 'incontestably correct' that whites behaving poorly are 'acting black' and why Lammy apparently 'sounds white'?

I presume. And I am not sure why Sewell's blackness lends any greater weight to his point. Sewell at least made it clear he was referring to a sub-culture and not describing people's behaviour as being 'white' or 'black'. As a former uni friend of mine says. "Of course I act black, I am black, so everything I do is me 'being black'.

rod liddle

August 15th, 2011 2:09pm

"Rod Big" - a stopped, rather than broken, clock tells the right time twice a day.
Still, glad you think I'm right twice a day. It's more than I'd estimate, but there we are.


August 15th, 2011 2:10pm

David Starkey spoke hard facts that a lot of people found uncomfortable. We have a gang culture in the UK, end of. Enoch Powell spoke truth and was classed a racist. Some people need to look at facts and figures before they speak. We are entitled to freedom of speach and while I cant stand David Starkey, in this instance, he was absolutely SPOT ON and most definately not racist.

Stephanie Tohill

August 15th, 2011 2:10pm

Also, I'm not so sure that materialism is particularly unique to "urban black youth".

The Financial Times 'How to Spend it' anyone? (Thanks Oborne). Let's face it, materialism is a fact of life of modern British culture. (and I would argue the US and other countries too.) It may exhibit itself in differing manners but it exists and I daresay a fair few people commenting on this piece are rather materialistic. If they're honest. It's as as the old ditty by Madonna goes...

Stephanie Tohill

August 15th, 2011 2:16pm

"My problem with his comments is the use of the term “ black culture” in which he viscerally describes it with negative connotations. He makes a reference to this violent, reprehensible behaviour as the default culture of all black people which is not true."

True. Another point I had not considered. Nevermind the fact that 'black culture' is a nonsense in itself. There are may, many, many different 'black cultures', so the catch-all phrase makes no sense. Hence why I assume it's just a lazy (and rather dangerous nevermind offensive) short-hand code.


August 15th, 2011 2:31pm

I really don't care if Starkey is a racist. I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I am one myself.

Stephanie Tohill

August 15th, 2011 2:31pm

Interesting piece and echoes what I said.

Obama - no matter what you think of him, made the comment that we need to rid ourselves of this damaging stereotype that a black kid with a book is 'acting white'. Starkey however seems to feel otherwise and is very much in that destructive camp Obama refers to.


August 15th, 2011 2:34pm

Rod Liddle:

"...white chavs were now copying the violent and materialistic culture of the black underclass."

I noted exactly this same phenomenon myself. It really was too obvious - and too ubiquitously recorded - to be denied.

Hayden Eastwood

August 15th, 2011 2:59pm

The academic you refer to is called Thomas Sowell, and not Tony Sewell.

Moreover, my few years in Britain left me with the opposite impression. Many black people from foreign lands arrive in the first generation and work hard. It is their children who are behaving like this. And I suspect this is, in fact, because they have integrated into the mainstream barbarism of the British underclass, and not some how "bullied" the local chavs into behaving as they do.

Hayden Eastwood

August 15th, 2011 3:05pm

The academic you refer to is called Thomas Sowell, and not Tony Sewell.

Moreover, my few years in Britain left me with the opposite impression. Many black people from foreign lands arrive in the first generation and work hard. It is their children who are behaving like this. And I suspect this is, in fact, because they have integrated into the mainstream barbarism of the British underclass, and not some how "bullied" the local chavs into behaving as they do.

r g james

August 15th, 2011 3:05pm

Peston and Morgan are totally blinded by political correctness and an indecently slavish desire to impress their fellow travellers in the metro liberal establishment, whose policies and attitudes have done so much to embolden the delinquents.
Starkey may be a spiteful little jerk and a snob but he has more analytical ability and intellect than this pair put together and doubled.

Alan Marsh

August 15th, 2011 3:36pm

Starkey merely observed that the Emperor has no clothes on... quite enough for Starkey to face summary beheading.


August 15th, 2011 3:45pm

Silly hyperbole even by Starkey’s standards. He’s in danger of sounding like a 1950s Klansmen who used to stand outside Elvis concerts to protest about him dancing and singing negro music. If anything these young people have taken on a vacuous laissez-faire sod-you-jack culture which puts David Starkey on even thinner ice.

Guss Grisom

August 15th, 2011 4:04pm

When someone speaks the truth these days, it's like a national competition takes place to see who can be the most politically correct. Come on! Face the truth. These kids try and imitate black culture imported here from Jamaica and other countries. It sounds and looks ridiculous. These kids think it's clever to be dumb, and use every tool in the box to avoid real work. Some of them genuinely think claiming benefits is an occupation. The people I see and hear calling David Starkey a racist, either have no children, live in predominantly white areas, or have children who are free to behave as badly as they wish.

I genuinely wish there were more people brave enough to grasp the nettle like David Starkey. Maybe then we wouldn't have the problems we face today.

The truth often hurts, but at least it is the truth, and not an attempt to try and not offend in an attempt to be accepted an popular.

Don Martin

August 15th, 2011 4:10pm

Black Britons have been on air defending their race and culture. Jamaicans tell us that their youths don't behave in Jamaica the way they tend to behave in urban Britain. So why here, in multicultural England?
Hey - have I just answered my question?

We often hear (in defence of multicultures) how Muslims and Jews and Christians lived happily together, many moons ago. Yes - but that was before anyone thought of Democracy. Not counting tiny city states in Ancient Greece.

I'd offer the Liberal left a choice: Democracy OR multiculture. I fear our petrified politicians will go for the latter.

London Calling

August 15th, 2011 4:13pm

I apologise profusely for the errors in my previous post…

The q in queen should have read Queen…

He didn’t eloquently made his point (should have read ‘make” his point)…

And I wrote Chose twice….

blame my proof reader…the left side of my brain…

Tom Henry

August 15th, 2011 4:21pm

If you watch the whole segment, Starkey says some undeniably racist things, although, in his defence, they're not nearly as racist as some of the comments here. For a long time his vanity (and the media's celebrity-lust) has persuaded him that he is qualified to pontificate on subjects far beyond his knowledge base. This is just a particularly embarrassing instance.

London Calling

August 15th, 2011 4:30pm

Have you seen Susan Hill ?...

I thought you had enveloped together…


August 15th, 2011 4:37pm

A southern European might equate "English culture" with drunken debauchery. This is not my culture, but I can understand how he might arrive at that label. And I would not get on his case while he was cleaning up the damage to his neighbourhood.

That said, what I saw on the news last weekend did put me in mind of the vandalism and anti-social behaviour that was caught on video in May 2008, when Boris Johnson banned alcohol consumption on the London Underground. The (white) people caught on camera then looked to me as if they had well-paying jobs.

It is open to all people engaged in criminal disorder in London to combat their characteristic vice with the practice of Christian virtue.

London Calling

August 15th, 2011 5:04pm

Have you seen my first post?...

I must have hit the wrong button…delete…:O

Ben James

August 15th, 2011 5:31pm

So the crux of this article is that consumerism and materialism is the result of HipHop, because HipHop is materialistic and consumerist. I agree, let's face it, the only places in the world where widescreen TVs, designer clothes and hi tech phones are highly prized, are those societies where people spend all day watching MTV base. Everywhere else in the world that isn't infected by 'black culture', theives break into libraries instead. Brilliant. Its funny as i visited Italy recently and the youths there were all wearing designer clothes and wanted nice phones and cars, but they didnt listen to Hiphop or like 'black culture'. It makes no sense!

Mayur Pant

August 15th, 2011 5:32pm

While I agree that there was a truth to what he said, he phrased it in a very antagonistic/confusing way - as the Newsnight presenter commented - interchanging the races of black and white with good & bad. Even if that was not his intention it was left for the audience to assume.

I switched from this flustered rambling that understated black influence to enjoy 2 hours of music with channel 4+1 - How Hip Hop changed the World. It made me realise that people adopt their preferred culture regardless of environment (I assure you), just as they leave them behind (manners of speaking, tastes in music). And the only way to eradicate this in the age of TV & internet would be a cultural genocide which no one but the fanatics want. That said, perhaps State schools should be heavily critized for allowing mutated dialects to be acceptable in the class room.

Starkey should be allowed to speak in such a way on whatever he chooses - it was interesting for me to see what an incoherent agitator he is. Though, despite my frustration at Starkey, I was hoping that the press would not flame & polarize this debate, as it will inevitably lead to a hesitation in speakers, just as the hesitations discussed this week from active police officers or parents and teachers trying to discipline.

rod liddle

August 15th, 2011 5:41pm

Hayden whateveryourname is, it's Tony Sewell. Here he is:

and never use the word "moreover" to me again.

Steph: do you live in an hermetically sealed environment, very very distant from what most people recognise as the world? To take just one of your points - I can't go through them all, they are so patently absurd - he meant that Lammy didn't speak with a street patois. Yes, Steph, not all African Caribbean people do speak like that. Nobody is suggesting they do. But there is a form of speech which is nonetheless recognisably African Caribbean. Do you not understand that?

And thanks for the re-welcome, chaps and aspidistras. I've been in a clinic having Stephanie's previous idiocies removed from the inside of my head with a scalpel. It took ages.


August 15th, 2011 5:49pm

That blighter Starkey should be horse-whipped, how dare he speak such filth when women and servants might be listening!

henry christian

August 15th, 2011 5:53pm

more common sense from Rod.

Stephanie Tohill

August 15th, 2011 6:04pm

"These kids try and imitate black culture imported here from Jamaica and other countries. "

Interesting, what aspects of Jamaican culture are these youth immitating? It's not patois as street slang sounds very, very, very different to how an actual Jamaican speaks. 'Hip-hop' in any of it's forms? Well that's American, which is a completely different country. "Trying to be done" Any evidence that is part of Jamaican culture? I thought the whole fear of being 'teacher's pet' also occurred within British culture for the 'cool kids'. I do wonder how much those who profess they are 'immitating Jamaican culture' actually know about actual Jamaican culture. And what is this 'black culture' imported from other countries. Are we suggesting that there is one black culture that remains static, irrespective of the country of origin? That the culture of Barbados is the same as Botswana. Really|?

And for those saying that it's just truth, not racist, I still don't understand how ascribing a behavioural trait to a race, in this case the way one speaks, with Lammy 'sounding white' isn't racist. Confused.

Stephanie Tohill

August 15th, 2011 6:18pm

"Steph: do you live in an hermetically sealed environment, very very distant from what most people recognise as the world? To take just one of your points - I can't go through them all, they are so patently absurd - he meant that Lammy didn't speak with a street patois. Yes, Steph, not all African Caribbean people do speak like that. Nobody is suggesting they do. But there is a form of speech which is nonetheless recognisably African Caribbean. Do you not understand that?"

Hence why I said I was being "charitable". But that's the point, Starkey didn't say 'Lammy does not speak with a street patois' he said he sounds 'white'. The implication being that there is a 'black way of talking' and a 'white way of talking' and that the 'black way' is in a street patois and not very educated. I don't think I stated that Starkey this all 'African -Caribbean' people speak a street patois. He just thinks those who don't, are speaking like white people. It's assigning a behavioural trait towards a race which is rather damaging. Or why do you think it's positive to tell, for example, young black men, that if they speak standard English that they're acting white? I'd say, as the piece I posted stated this is actually a very dangerous belief to imbue into young children. That they can either have their identity, or be high achievers, but they cannot be both. As for your comment about a way of speaking which is recognisably African-Caribbean. Well for starters really? The various African-Caribbean patois sound very different from each other. If you mean "black dominated" street slang, well 'black' refers to many people, many of whom have no Caribbean heritage whatsoever. And what of the older African-Caribbean generation? They are recognisably in the manner in which they speak yet tend not to favour street slang.

And I'm not surprised that you think it's ridiculous I would object to labelling speech patterns by race or that I would have issues with labelling certain behaviour as black or white.

Now you can say Starkey didn't mean what he said, which you appear to be doing, but I don't see how you can honestly argue that stating someone is acting black, or white isn't racist. It meets the very definition of race, i.e believing race informs behaviour. Which is what you and Starkey are doing.

Occasional Ostrich

August 15th, 2011 6:41pm

Dutt @11:07am

Depressing? Na-aw! From Morgan or Pesto, one expects nothing better.


August 15th, 2011 7:03pm

yes, David Starkey is a racist as much as the vast majority of the great unwashed are racists.


August 15th, 2011 7:04pm

and another thing:

as for Tony Sewell, a man Baron actually respects alot, he got it only partially right, a sob to the ones he has to mix with probably, it ain’t materialism that’s at fault, it’s gratuitous materialism, a derivative of the real thing that has been funded by the State, encouraged by the likes of the BBC tossers, tolerated by the society, luxuriated in by the sub-culture Starkey rightly attacks.

and last, welcome back, young Liddle.

rod liddle

August 15th, 2011 7:09pm

But there IS a black way of speaking, just as there is a Cumbrian way of speaking but not all Cumbrians speak like it. Why is that so difficult to understand, or hard to accept? It's ok, Stephanie, if you think that a large number of one or another race or culture speak in a certain way, you won't go to hell. Nobody will call youa racist.


August 15th, 2011 8:28pm

Mr.Starkey is correct. Any truth is always treated as racist by the people who do not want to believe facts.


August 15th, 2011 8:37pm

The term 'racist' has been so devalued by it's overuse that it is becoming a tag that carries a certain respectable credibility now. Rather than stifling a point of view, it rather elevates it. I'm sure David Starkey understands the point, even if the BBC and the rest of the twerps on the Left don't .

Oedipus Rex

August 15th, 2011 9:25pm

@ steve a 12.24 pm

You make some very good points.
But Starkey (who I don't rate too highly anyway) just didn't express himself clearly - he was of course speaking live and that's more likely to happen.
Is there such a big difference in what he said with that which Tony Sewell (who I do rate highly) wrote? I'd be more interested to hear your opinions on that because, as Rod points out, why on earth should Starkey be censured and Sewell not?


August 15th, 2011 9:37pm

Stephanie Tohill is assigning: “So he (Starkey) is assigning a behavioural trait to a race”.

Nope, dear, not to a race, to a culture, true, we may have neglected high culture, dumbing down’s in vogue, nevertheless it still survives, Lammy’s a part of it, nothing to do with the colour of his skin, his race.


August 15th, 2011 9:42pm

Whether you agree with his comments or not, the fact that saying something constructive, which it clearly was, can end your career because of the likes hysterical lefties illustrates a serious problem with society. And Piers Morgan? What did that fool ever do apart from pull silly faces on an X-Factor/Britain's-Got-Nothing panel?

daulat ram

August 15th, 2011 9:55pm

Look how easily a supposedly civilized society dives into the fetid and deadly waters of racial name-calling over some riots that are actully trivial by historic standards......How easily the air becomes bloody with accusations of cultural and racial pollution....

And we think the Germans of the 1920s and 30's, who faced a defeated and dismembered country and a destroyed economic system and ruined middle and working classes, are beyond understanding when they fell into the arms of Hitler.....!!

Beware, Starkies and Liddles of the world. Don't play with matches.


August 15th, 2011 10:35pm

". . . and football hooliganism represents English culture".

Well, yes, that is the way the rest of the world sees English culture.

Not all of the rest of the world and not all of English culture, obviously . . . but a sizeable enough amount to be noticeable.


August 15th, 2011 10:58pm

As usual, the Hampstead set are asking the wrong question. The important question is whether Dr Starkey's comments are true, or at least fair comment, not whether they are "racist".

As for the anti-racists' proposition that there are absolutely no characteristics typical of one people rather than another, why is it that most cognescenti prefer a French meal to a German one but take the opposite view when it comes to fast cars?


August 15th, 2011 11:14pm

People keep on about the UK riots, or British riots. Not true. A question nobody seems to be asking is why the riots happened in some places and not
others. Why not in Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle, for example? Attempts were made to incite riots in all those places, according to local media, but they were feeble and soon fizzled out. A statistical/sociological
analysis might start by noting that these places have vastly less ethnic diversity than the riot zones. Ah! That's why nobody asks the question. Unwelcome answer.

Kam Lagan

August 15th, 2011 11:17pm

How the hell does anyone one see Starkey as a racist?
Talking about facts that pertain to skin colour is not racist - it is fact.
PC has a lot to answer for. People are too busy worrying about how statements are perceived than listening to the content.


August 15th, 2011 11:49pm

And now Ed Miliband has joined the witch hunt. Starkey's remarks are, he splutters, "outrageous." If Cameron doesn't join in tomorrow, I hereby pledge to vote for him again.


August 16th, 2011 12:08am

This whole kerfuffle demonstrates why an enquiry into the riots could never work.
From day one the pc bullies would dictate what language was acceptable and what opinions were allowed.
Result: a complete waste of time resulting in a conclusion so painfully pc as to be as to be completely useless.


August 16th, 2011 1:21am

Peston is just odd..... very odd.


August 16th, 2011 6:39am

All of you blessed Speccer readers have got it all wrong! Private Eye were spot-on years ago when they named him Piers Moron!

August 16th, 2011 7:59am

"Is David Starkey a racist"? No


August 16th, 2011 8:14am

'Depressing? Na-aw! From Morgan or Pesto, one expects nothing better.'

Ostrich: how DARE you denigrate our beloved Piers. Who can forget his culturally sensitive Mirror headline on the eve of the England v Germany match in 1996: 'Achtung! Surrender'.

Geoff M

August 16th, 2011 8:33am

In defence of Starkey

Nuf said...


August 16th, 2011 8:52am

I like and admire Starkey and I don't think the actual argument he was making on Newsnight can, in any sensible meaning of the term, be described as racist.

But it is also true that what he said laid itself open to misinterpretation, which is what has happened. So, for example, I buy the Rod Liddle explanation of the "David Lammy sounds white" comment. However, it was a provocative way of expressing the point because the statement could also mean that Lammy sounded white because he also sounded educated, reasonable, respectable etc.

Nor does Rod's Cumbrian analogy work because no one is associating any aspect of Cumbrian culture with violence and looting, which is the context in which the discussion was taking place. In that context, for Starkey to allow there to be confusion between what he was saying about a particular aspect of black culture and black culture as a whole was always going to be dangerous. The fury that has since erupted then became as inevitable as it was predictable.

Intially, I shared the view of others that Starkey simply hadn't put the argument clearly enough, not helped by the constant barracking of the others in the discussion. Now I am not so sure. His raising of the rivers of blood speech for example - upon which his argument relied not at all - seems at second look like a very calculated move (note the dramatic pause he makes after first mentioning it).

Starkey is both very clever and a controversialist. Maybe the ambiguity of his remarks was a deliberate act of provocation, designed either to draw attention to himself or to assuage an entirely understandable desire to annoy some lefties. If so, we should be saluting his efforts which have so triumphantly met their objective.


August 16th, 2011 9:53am

I have noticed for years that the British white underclass culture is melding with black rap culture. The media almost dictates it it's so obvious. I didn't think people would actually deny that this is happening. You can tell when you get close to the truth when people start shouting very loudly about racism and heads will role. It happens everytime. A very succinct and perceptive observation of the riots on the part of Starkey. I feel for Starky, he should be familiar with the modern heresies.

Hayden Eastwood

August 16th, 2011 11:14am

Rod my apologies for confusing Tony Sewell with Thomas Sowell.

Now, perhaps you could address the substance of what I argued after that mistake?

I currently spend my time between South Africa and Zimbabwe and cannot relate what you call "black culture" to the blacks I see here. In fact, what you call "black culture" is (as you mention yourself) a specific cultural practice of a specific subset of blacks from a particular country. That being the case, it is not helpful to call this particular culture, "black culture", because being black does not itself put you at risk of behaving in the manner you report.

I lived in the UK for 8 years and during that time I grew to dislike the local underclass, who had no respect, no manners, no desire to learn, no restraint and no appreciation for beauty. That culture is homegrown (as far as I can see) and certainly not one I have found in the "blacks" I am surrounded by in black Africa.

I sometimes meet black South Africans who apply your reasoning in reverse over here. They blame the fact that the ANC are a pack of criminals by claiming that they have been brainwashed by "white tendencies". Their assumption is that there are no inherent flaws in their own culture, and that such observed flaws must therefore be the result of outside contamination. Your argument is essentially the same one, applied in reverse.

The more likely explanation is that there is a combination of factors that produce riotous and disrespectful behaviour, some of which are homegrown and some of which are cultural imports. But just calling bad behaviour "black culture" doesn't add anything to the debate.


August 16th, 2011 11:36am


'As usual, the Hampstead set are asking the wrong question. The important question is whether Dr Starkey's comments are true....not whether they are "racist".'


"The term 'racist' has been so devalued by it's overuse that it is becoming a tag that carries a certain respectable credibility now."

Two good points, I thought.

I don't know about "respectable credibility", but I certainly think that through overuse and mis-application, the term "racist" has lost so much of its pejorative clout as to be rendered almost irrelevant.

And welcome back, Rod...^^


August 16th, 2011 12:19pm

"Is David Starkey a racist"? Yes, just like Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, I blame the parents.

Norman Stevens

August 16th, 2011 12:22pm

As a subscriber to the Spectator,I read your"we have failed black youths"for fear of that labell.
Rod,I have been fighting that labell for 40 years,against the Race Relations Board and its racists newsreader chairman,Trevor Phillips. Its too late now I fear to redress the situation,despite the"politicians"who got us into this mess in the first place,now point scoring. Cameron is a dead loss,hasn't got the bottle for that job,why should he,he's comfortable enough,with his life,maybe not if he was living in the middle of Brum,Why should he bother.
The looney left Liberals,politicians and the apathy of the working classes has changed GB for ever,tip of the iceberg,imagine what it will be like in years to come at the present birth rate of immigrants and still uncontrolled immigration.
I group of people,that I never had or will blame,are the immigrants themselves.If you lived in a crap hole without a hope and you found a place which was heaven on earth in comparison,What would you do?

Who said the last one to leave"put that flaming light out" There is no solution,the jobs gone too far, Amen.


August 16th, 2011 1:18pm

Is David Starkey a racist? Probably not, but he is a bit of an attention seeker and that is as much as is probably worth saying on this topic. But maybe all this fuss about his utterances is an attempt to stop people thinking too much about what increasingly strikes me as one of the more curious aspects of the recent disturbances - the decision to flood Eltham with police when there wasn't actually a riot taking place. Was it anything to do with the fact that the people who were gathering there in what seems to have been a defensive gesture were nearly all archetypal members of the 'white working class' and we can't have them acting like Turkish shopkeepers in Dalston can we? I am surprised that as a Millwall fan you haven't given the incident a bit more attention Rod. After all they were people just like you weren't they?


August 16th, 2011 1:51pm

I salute David Starkey - the one man who has had the guts to speak the truth here. Perhaps it was unwise to bring Enoch Powell into the discussion, but what he said on Newsnight was spot-on: that these looting sprees which are now called riots were caused by urban (ie black) culture which has been adopted by underclass whites too. This is the culture celebrated on the BBC's black music stations and on Channel 4's street season, and even by children's TV which is so desperate to celebrate diversity it seems to speak Jamaican these days and to have banned white people from our screens.

He also said that 'it's not an issue of skin colour - it's an issue of culture', but that part was cut out of the witch-hunt in The Guardian and other newspapers - perhaps all editors there should be evicted from their houses and their state benefits (maternity paym child benefit etc) stopped?

Personally, I think the pressue by people like the BBC and the Guardian, plus the usual suspects (self-appointed black white-hating community leaders; do-gooding white elite 'liberal' media) are responsible: it is the knowledge that their reaction would be to accuse the police of brutal racism that meant the police did not do what they should have done and gone in hard in Tottenham and arrested all the black rioters.

The only way we can solve this problem is to be honest; David Starkey was just being honest. I agree with him and Sewell 100%, and though I am a devout liberal, I also tend to agree with the big black Jamaican woman I saw on TV who said all those rioting should be whipped, as well as the Asian store owner who said we should invite over some Indian police to hit the little Bs with big sticks!

False accusations of racism against the police and others are partly to blame for these looting spree riots.


August 16th, 2011 3:24pm

A poll taken at the time of Enoch Powells speach showed that 78% agreed with him, possibly more today. Words were used that were never spoken and he was talking about control,and proved right.

Craig Strachan

August 16th, 2011 4:05pm

Interesting. In the US, "wiggas" aren't young white urban chavs so much as young white middle class boys from the suburbs. Of course in the US everybody is middle class.


August 16th, 2011 4:34pm

I made two posts here and neither of 'em have turned up. This is a frequent problem. Mods: what gives?

So, just because I don't like being arbitrarily excluded, I'll try re-posting:

Sir Graphus at 10:55: Your post is accurate and correct.


August 16th, 2011 7:11pm

He's probably "racist".
So what. Everybody on god's earth is to differing degrees. I't part of human nature to prefer your own race and culture.
The trouble is, this overused word only applies to the white race. Shameful.

Frank Adams

August 16th, 2011 7:32pm


How very thin the veil of respectability turns out to be in some parts of Middle England. And how very quickly it’s whipped off to reveal the true nature of these nasty people.

No, not the rioters.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Random Geezer

August 16th, 2011 8:15pm

'Wiggas' are hardly new. Harry Enfield did a sketch back in ye olde 1990's with Kevin the Kid (before he became Kevin the teenager) where he assumed a 'Jamaican Patois' and described himself as 'Young, black & disillusioned'.


August 16th, 2011 9:33pm

Frank Adams, sir, you’re obviously angry about something, explain it to the poorly educated Slav, please start by telling him why individuals, whether of Middle England or any England, speaking their mind, being honest are breaking ‘the veil of respectability’.

David Ford

August 16th, 2011 10:08pm

I don't think that we'll get to "root cause" of these riots because we are too squeemish to be able to discuss anything which is non-pc as defined in 1997.


August 16th, 2011 10:41pm

When I want to know more about the social problems of the Victorian age, I dive into Dickens; when I want to understand more about the social problems of our own age, I defer to Tom Wolfe.

I urge that anyone who thinks Starkey is merely a mindless racist to read, in particular, the 2nd (and to me the finest) of Wolfe's novels, A MAN IN FULL: read the 2nd chapter, with its subtle excoriation of the "ghetto-isation" of middle class black youth...

Race is too big, too sensitive and too polarised an issue to be able to explore adequately in factual debate; it is both safer and more productive to explore it through fiction, and this is what Wolfe does, just as Dickens did with similarily explosive issues a century and a half before him.

If you have not read any of Wolfe's novels, set aside a week and get stuck in!


August 17th, 2011 11:35am

He's just misunderstood. He speaks a different patoise to what i does.


August 17th, 2011 12:10pm

Need to proof read the posts better - mis-spelt (or should that be misspelt?) 'Moron' numerous times.


August 17th, 2011 3:03pm

before Frank Adam's posting 102, after his profoundly politically correct admonition of those not thinking what he is thinking 6.

that’s the cradle of democracy with freedom of expression and stuff in the 21st century, who would have thought it, ha?

Jeremy Poynton

August 17th, 2011 4:08pm

Bill Cosby and Chris Rock have both said pretty much what Starkey said. Watching him being howled down by the hyenas of the BBC and their selected gang from their hood was an utterly revolting spectacle. They refused him the right to speak. Gross.


August 17th, 2011 5:49pm

Maybe he could have worded it better to make his theory more BBC friendly.
Now that the Liberati have total control of the BBC there a some things that must not be said.
I understood exactly what he meant.
The reaction to his comments generally indicates the prevailing liberal mind set which means nothing will be done to mend the problem. Maybe too late anyway so probably more riots on the way.
It will also be interesting to see if Starkey ever appears on the BBC again. I somehow doubt it!

daniel maris

August 17th, 2011 9:38pm

Ben Wells -

I agree with you about Tom Wolfe - right down to the way the underachieving if amiable black teenager becomes an "honours student" in the media in Bonfire of the Vanities.

I don't think I read chapter 2 of MIF the same way as you. But leaving that aside, it is still a fantastic book. Tells you a lot about modern capitalism as well.

Jerry Owen

August 17th, 2011 9:44pm

I do wonder why people are reluctant to use their proper name.I am proud to se mine...anyway, with regard to the terrorists that stole the city from the law abiding citizens. this had nothing to do with 'getting back our taxes, innit'.
Mainly small Asian shops were attacked and 'one off' shops.
if this were about taxes which I doubt many of this scum pay, why didn't they attack the treasury, march on Downing Street, have placards instead of weapons, why didn't they march on westminster?
Simple answer is they are thieving, selfish, society hating,low life scum.
Oh, and incidently if you want to claim your taxes back you apply to the tax office. Your analysis stands no serious scrutination.
I believe starkey was pretty much spot on.


August 18th, 2011 8:02am

"It will also be interesting to see if Starkey ever appears on the BBC again. I somehow doubt it!"

Yes indeed - which says everything you ned to know about the BBC really.

Don't forget, the BBC invites Islamist extremists onto Newsnight who support terrorism and much more besides, and even panders to their archaic and backwards sensibilities by refusing to show the Mohammed cartoons. It has banned all comecy sketches about Muslims, and is so pompous in its certainty of holding the moral high ground (which it doesn't) that it will allow no real criticism or even debate about race and multiculturalism. It's all good, according to the BBC. Always. And should be celebrated.

Starkey said quite clearly that what he was talking about was culture and NO skin colour - though much reporting in the PC press left that line out. It is the black culture of gangstas, mugging, drugs, ghettos, demands to 'rispek' which are just threats with menaces - that he was taking about - and what he said gets nods of approvel from all the people (left, right, Labour, Tory, Liberal) that I know who know what it is to live in London.

I bet if the UK had a vote, Starkey would get at least a 50% approval rating for what he said - from whites, Asians, and blacks too. The BBC line that only whites would agree with such 'racist' (their words) views is a lie and a half! Decent ethnic minorities can see these scumbags on the streets every day in out cities, up to no good, mugging, intimidating everyone and contributing nothing to society. In fact, the more ethnic people are, the more extreme their suggested solutions, in my experience!

Steven Carrington

August 18th, 2011 8:07am

Anyone who speaks out about anything these days without a PC spin is almost certainly going to be accused of racism. Starkey (in my opinion) said it how it is. We can no longer sit back and excuse the behaviour of certain factions in society because The left think its not the done thing.
We cannot condone thuggery, looting and criminality because the criminals come from a poor background or are black, white or pockadot.
Many people come from poor backgrounds but do not go around burning down their towns or cities, or looting.
Society can no longer stand back and allow some 'do gooders'to control the debate and excuse criminality.
Starkey is controversial and I respect that, we have tried the normal paths we need to look at all points of view and come up with new solutions no matter how unpalatable they may seem.


August 18th, 2011 8:12am

Roy Sewell is black does not mean he is right.Was there any justification for the riots the answer is "No" but people have a right to protest.With regards to the bling culture the rioters were not stealing those goods to furnish their bling culture but selling the goods on ebay.When situations like this occur people see it as an opportunity(the case of the school teacher). I listen to hip hop and proud of my cultural background does not mean that I and my peers take the lyrics seriously.It's like blaming violence movies for crime increase or on white peoole as most of the movies are produced and directed by them.


August 18th, 2011 9:28am

Stephanie Tohill, Steve a and Paul (see below) are all right on this - not much more need be said on the topic. Many of the other comments here (and, I believe, the article itself!) are just perpetuating the racist undercurrent of Starkey's comments.

Robert George Dunning

August 18th, 2011 10:25am

No he isn't racist just realist. White teenagers from poorer backgrounds (estates) have used a gangster, rap and American ghetto escape clause for years to highlight their way of life as no other form of culture has evolved for these individuals to hang on to which would express their ambitions in a more positive light. It is far too easy for the disillusioned teenager to concentrate on negatives and adopt these "patois" to add credence to their non contribution to society and start a viscous cycle of self pitying poverty... how to stop this cycle is the right question to answer but it isn't by hand outs it's by having good role models in their communities and schools, hope for the future, discipline and an avoidance of all things gang related. To see Mr. Starkey being shot down in flames for being honest is a travesty of the highest order... From a Spectator reader who used to live on a council estate for 20 years.

Catherine Kraina

August 18th, 2011 4:12pm

Up to a point. Anti-everything gang culture can be found be found from Glasgow to Prague to Tokyo to Sydney. To tie it to yardie or gangsta roots is possible, but a bit of a stretch.

Wilko R

August 18th, 2011 5:01pm

Nope. I'm fairly sure Starkey was simply referring, very specifically, to the negative influence on the white underclass the nihilistic element of the black underclass has had. Not all black culture/people! Just the nihilistic element. Not racist, simply a comment as part of the bigger debate! Typical spin on a proposition that doesn't, immediately and overtly, fit within the confines of the BBC (et al) manifesto. Pesto? No, thank you. Wingingit I'd say.


August 19th, 2011 7:42am

Starkey a racist? Well, no more racist than the black people who accuse any black person who is educated and in a professional job of being 'white' - or ' a coconut' or 'bounty bar' (white on the inside; brown on the outside). This is very common in what people call 'the black commmunity' - the black lower classes who we saw looting last week. Caused by envy, no doubt, and wrapped up in the language of racial/cultural pride. But racist and bigoted, for sure - as if being an uneducated gangsta is what anyone by those with nothing else and no hope of getting it would aspire to!

Stephanie Tohill

August 19th, 2011 11:42am

"Starkey a racist? Well, no more racist than the black people who accuse any black person who is educated and in a professional job of being 'white' - or ' a coconut' or 'bounty bar' (white on the inside; brown on the outside)"

Eddie you'd say this is wrong wouldn't you? I would. And yet ironically, although for very different reasons Starkey is placing himself in the same camp as these people, by insisting there are black ways of behaving and white ways of behaving and white ways of speaking and black ways of speaking. In falls into the same camp as those who believe a black boy with his nose in a book is "acting white".

Anyway - Katherine Birbalsingh, the outspoken school teacher and Telegraph contributor has been rather excellent on this issue.

Taking apart really the three things which were moth contentious:

Worth a read.

Stephanie Tohill

August 19th, 2011 11:43am

Really cannot be argued with:

"Unfortunately, any good points that could have been made have been lost, not because Starkey is a lovely old man who got confused, but because the assumptions and sentiments that led him to say what he did were not accurate. Starkey is clever and came prepared to the programme, with a learnt mini-speech. He knew what he was saying. But his thinking was lazy and ill-informed. As an academic, he should have done better. What is also unfortunate is that his very crude remarks enable so many on the Left to just dismiss the larger issue of the influence of gangster culture, which is very harmful to some of our youth."


August 19th, 2011 1:16pm

Stephanie - what I like about David Starkey is that he thinks for himself and speaks his mind. He is, in short, a grown-up - unlike all the intellectual sheep in academia and the media (and of course especially the equality and diversity and race industries) who think not using the words THEY have decided are non-racist to expess opinions THEY have decided are non-racist, is therefore evidence that one is racist! Who are these people? Elected? Nope. So why defer to them?

At best, you can criticise Starkey for using the word 'white' when he should have said middle class or educated - or perhaps CIVILISED (which no doubt would have sent professional black persons into a seizure or two!). But he thing is we ALL know what Starkey meant.

Perhaps you should consider that the fact most black people in the UK (less than 3% of the British population but massively over-represented in the media for various reasons) are from lower class/working class families - because the people who came here from Jamaica were like that. So yes, to say David Lammy sounds white IS a compliment and is NOT racist: it's just a shorthand way of saying he is educated and decent. Unlike his constituents who rioted and then defended the rioters eh?

Many people, including you Stephanie it seems, just want to shut down all debate and go around accusing anyone who disagrees with you of racism. That is intenselt damaging to black kids, who see supposed adults making excuses for all bad behaviour of blacks and blamely racism for their own failures.

But of course if you want to hear REAL abuse aimed at the black thugs who threw people off motorbikes and looted in the riots, just ask the Asian shopkeepers or the traditional and decent black immigrants - many elderly - who tend to support whipping these kids to discipline them! Why can't white people express an opinion then?

If you're saying only blacks can criticise blacks, then that there is an example of racism, non?

Stephanie Tohill

August 19th, 2011 2:07pm

"wrong question. The important question is whether Dr Starkey's comments are true, or at least fair comment, not whether they are "racist"."

As for the anti-racists' proposition that there are absolutely no characteristics typical of one people rather than another, why is it that most cognescenti prefer a French meal to a German one but take the opposite view when it comes to fast cars?"

Cassandra - I think you confuse 'culture' with 'race'. No, sensible anti-racist would deny culture exists. Cultures attach to age groups, regions countries, so no-one would deny that there are national cultures. However this differs from race. The only thing your race does is dictate how long you can be in the sun before your burn.

Unless you mean to imply that culturally you expect no difference between a Black American, Black Briton and Black Frenchman? Which is just ridiculous.

Stephanie Tohill

August 19th, 2011 2:10pm

"Stephanie Tohill is assigning: “So he (Starkey) is assigning a behavioural trait to a race”.

Nope, dear, not to a race, to a culture, true, we may have neglected high culture, dumbing down’s in vogue, nevertheless it still survives, Lammy’s a part of it, nothing to do with the colour of his skin, his race."

Nope, he didn't mention culture, he mentioned race. He didn't say Lammy sounds English, or Scottish, or middle class he said 'white'. A racial group. He didn't say whites have become, chavvy, violent, underclass etc he said 'black'. Thus he is assigning behavioural traits to race. 'Black'/'white' are racial groups, not cultural ones.

Stephanie Tohill

August 19th, 2011 2:24pm

"But there IS a black way of speaking, just as there is a Cumbrian way of speaking but not all Cumbrians speak like it. Why is that so difficult to understand, or hard to accept? It's ok, Stephanie, if you think that a large number of one or another race or culture speak in a certain way, you won't go to hell. Nobody will call youa racist."

The comparison falls down when you factor in that Cumbria relates to a region, 'Black' relates to a skin tone. Your region affects how you speak, your skin tone does not.

This reminds me of a comment made by a fellow student at university when discussing the Italian version of Pulp fiction. She was Greek and objected to the dubbed version as (in reference to the character of Samuel L Jackson), "That is not how a black man speaks." Yet she didn't seem to be able to explain why she would expect a black Italian man to sound like Samuel L Jackson.

And you Rod are doing the same. One's race, in this instance 'black', does not inform how they speak. If it did there would be no difference between the speech of a black Botswanan, Ghanian, black American, Black Briton etc. We know this is false.

And even if you limit it to Britain why on earth would you expect a black barrister to talk like a black footballer. A black Mancunian to sound like a black Geordie who in turn should sound like a black person from Birmingham? Even the street slang of these cities will sound different. It is as ridiculous as suggesting there is a 'white way of speaking' which would mean we expect Prince Harry to sound like Peter Crouch.

The Cumbrian example is horrendous. You are an intelligent man and can do better.

And Rod, for your last snidey comment I don't care about being called racist, although it's quite obvious that thinking that skin tone defines speech is quite clearly racist, in fact the very OED definition (an innate quality which defines our behaviour). I think the way I do because I am right for the reasons stated above. The manner in which black people speak varies widely depending on cultural background, age, social class, nationality, educational background. Pretty much the same as for white people.

Jerry Owen

August 19th, 2011 5:56pm

Stephanie Tohill
You are somewhat confused and infact confusing.
If you are African you are black, if you are Ethiopian you are black, if you are Somalian you are black.
Likewise if you are French you are white if you are British you are white.
A black person can be civically British but not racially British as his ancestry is not British.
If a black man is British who am I as a white Briton? I am surely allowed my own racial and cultural identity am I not?
Two final questions.
How long do I have to live in China before I can call myself Chinese?
And.. if my children and their children and their children and so only breeding with European whites, when does the point arrive that they become Chinese?
Just a thought, wouldn't it be funny if I moved to China and some several years later someone said, i wonder how Jerry's doing in China...oh yes I remember Jerry that Chinese guy!


August 19th, 2011 6:13pm

'Your region affects how you speak, your skin tone does not.'

And nobody is arguing it does! Culture does, however - and people do refer to 'black culture' and black history' all the time - or does history have a skin tone eh?

Ghetto pantois is disproportionately spoken by black people; and well-spoken standard English is mostly spoken by white people. So it is NOT at all wrong or racist to remark on that and to say that someone 'sounds black' or 'sounds white'. Some black people themselves would say this about black people who spoke well too - because most do not, and that is the point really: if most black people sounded like David Lammy, then no-one would say he sounded white. But he does, actually: he sounds so unlike most of his constituents actually.

Not racist, just language used as it should be used to differentiate cultures. Skin colour doesn't come into it AS STARKEY MADE CLEAR: it's culture, not skin colour, and in trying to explain that he mentioned Lammy sounding white etc. I think he explained himself far better than the other guests on newsnight who were talking utter piffle!


August 19th, 2011 9:08pm

The rover returns. Good.

Rod, you mention your black academic. I shall attempt to trump you with someone a bit more mainstream who supports the phenomena Starkey was referring too, a character created by (then North London based) comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Ali G. The character was a white yoof who acted, dressed and spoke like a black man. He was developed in 1996, and hit the screens properly in 1998. It's pretty basic knowledge that this sort of thing has to be based in truth, if often exaggerated for effect, otherwise the character simply wouldn't ring true with the viewing audiences who saw him become a global phenomena.

The new 'left' in this country is a very strange beast. It purports to stand for fairness and free speech, listening to all views before making a decision, but so often does the exact opposite. Starkey on Newsnight was perhaps not the best example of this as the issue is too complex to be down to just one observation of a cultural change within a certain group, but it was a fairly good demonstration of how (dangerously) constrained by 'political correctness' debate has become in the UK. Working on the theory that (a) it's Starkey and he's usually on the other 'team' and (b) an old posh white man said 'black', the other guests clearly chose the easy option of attack. That said, Starkey, a historian never knowingly restrained by political correctness, perhaps never communicated his point well and was misguided in his odd starting reference to the Rivers Of Blood speech. What was perhaps most revealing in the exchange was today's victim culture – the black woman was so eager to paint herself as someone being slighted when she so clearly was not even remotely related to the (multicultural) group Starkey was referring too. Indeed, some might say that she is part of the problem, as she - a middle class, middle aged woman - mentioned she was involved in teaching children through rap. This pandering to the random views of the 'yoof' was another small insight into just how badly let down some of these children have been by the system, as so excellently detailed by Harriet Sargeant in last week's Speccy. No doubt the 14 year old who can barely read would 'prefer' learning by rap if asked and may be engaged by this, but does that mean it is of any benefit to him? I don't suppose by that stage it matters as he's been so horrifically let down already to have reached that stage.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the farce that was the interview and the current wider debate, it is what Douglas Murray said in a recent Speccy (albeit on a different topic):
"Most of what is said in open debate is not to everybody's taste, But, as John Stuart Mill argued in On Liberty, we must hear contrary opinions. Firstly because what is otherwise kept from us may be true, or contain a portion of the truth, and secondly because if our opinions go unchallenged then truth risks getting divorced from its natural roots and eventually becoming a dogma too feeble to sustain."

In the UK, we are increasingly in a situation where the view of a self-proclaimed ruling class is allowed to go unchallenged.


August 20th, 2011 12:37am

Interestingly, Blair said the same concerning murders in April 2007:

"When are we going to start saying this is a problem amongst a section of the black community and not, for reasons of political correctness, pretend that this is nothing to do with it?"

I think what Sewell, Starkey and many others have said is often too generalised, but still correct. For example, Sewell cited one song that talked about gun crime, (it could have been any), and both have battered about the word culture - it's lost its meaning.

Having said that, we cannot and should not ignore, as Miliband has justly argued, inequality and parental responsibility.


August 20th, 2011 8:19am

No he is not racist, though his choice of words was a little ill-considered.

There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the words Starkey used and the ones used by doddering dimwits in the 1950s when they thundered that rock’n’roll was the means by which "the white man would be driven down to the level of the negro.".

I think what Starkey really meant was not black culture but black US gangsta culture which worries just as many black people as it does white academics.

Rhe real problems in this country stem not from hip-hop but from the creation of an underclass, perpetuated by welfare dependency, mass unemployment not helped by unfettered immigration, falling education standards, and family breakdown.

Faith-based values have long been sneered at by clever dicks on TV.

Again, I think Starkey could have phrased his comments more tactfully but the knee-jerk response of liberals who spout "racist" in order to shut down argument and wreck a man's career is more disturbing. Real racism we saw last week - the pre-meditated running down of three Asian men by black looters in Birmingham.


August 20th, 2011 11:20am

Archibald, my blogging friend, valid points also argued with lucidity @ 9.08 except for this: “….another small insight into just how badly let down some of these children have been by the system….”

If you don’t mind, sir, Baron will respond with a part quote (with a touch of French seasoning) by the great Andy, the carparking giant of the near-by blogs: ‘Let down by whom? Moi?’


August 20th, 2011 11:50am

England loses close on 450,000 of her best and brightest to North America every year while importing the lower castes and classes from the developing and third world to labour and run cash businesses (no tax base there). What will become of England ?


August 21st, 2011 2:44am

The comments of Peston et al simply erode the accusation of "racist". It stops meaning someone with unpleasant race-based opinions. Instead, it now means "a common insult or smear, directed at someone who challenges a socialist narrative through argument, evidence or observation." It is made an accusation as absurdly base as accusing him of being a "witch", "a communist", a "Man Utd fan", or simply shouting "You smell" in a 6 year old's voice, while wafting your hand theatrically above a comically raised nostril!


August 21st, 2011 10:53am

Tony - couldn't agree more. Ditto for the word 'bigot'

Francis Soaper

August 21st, 2011 12:54pm

Is David Starkey a racist? Only he can answer that. His Quaker background and open campaign for gay rights don't make him the best candidate. Is he elitist, arrogant and judgemental? Certainly.

But are his remarks about "a particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture has become the fashion" inaccurate? Definitely not.

For myself, he's worth the admission fee because he annoys the Strange Idiot Boy who thinks he runs the Labour Party.

And that's good enough to give any man a second chance.


August 21st, 2011 3:45pm

I would advise anyone to read Howard Jacobsen's article in last Saturday's Independent. In that, he correctly makes the point that Starkey was accused by some young, egomanic, self-publicit leftie of saying all black men were gangstas. It was when refuting this absurd and infantile accusation that he mentioned David Lammy and how he sounded white in comparison - ie middle class and educated. All those commentators accusing Starkey of being racist for defending himself in this way seem to think all white men are racist perhaps?

It is clear to me that if we can't honestly discuss the problems with black 'culture' - ie gangs, guns, illiteracy and educational failure, fatherless families - sensibly as grown-ups, then we might as well forget trying to find any solutions right now - because unless we are honest about the problems, then how can we find solutions?

And why on earth do political pseuds like Owen Jones, who wants to return to loonie left policies, get invited on Newsnight anyway? The self-important pillock has only written one book, which is hard left propaganda, anyway. What croneyism got him his gig huh? Probably knows the producer...

Simon Fay

August 21st, 2011 6:59pm

"And why on earth do political pseuds like Owen Jones, who wants to return to loonie left policies, get invited on Newsnight anyway? The self-important pillock has only written one book, which is hard left propaganda, anyway. What croneyism got him his gig huh? Probably knows the producer..."

IIRC a female producer on the show a few years back 'knew' James Purnell quite well and helped get him an easy ride from Paxo. Owen is a bit young for her, I'd have thought - even in a 'toy-boy' role (he appears to be about 19, and his book reads similarly in places).

Gram Crow

August 21st, 2011 9:10pm

Tellingly, as far as Morgan is concerned, the most important consequence of Starkey speaking the truth is that his media career should now be over. Priorities, Piers?

daniel maris

August 21st, 2011 10:43pm

Eddie - You're just doing what Starkey did, conflating "black" with "gangs" and "guns".

Why aren't you concerned about Irish criminality? People of Irish descent have been over-represented in our prisons for nearly 200 years. They have run vicious gangs in nearly all our big cities. Irish travellers cause untold misery across the country, squatting on other people's land. Irish terrorists have targeted our cities with devastating bombs.

So - why don't you talk about Irish culture being synonymous with gangs, crime and terror? And why doesn't Starkey?


August 22nd, 2011 12:59am

Peston, if you are reading this: I am forced to help pay your salary. Keep your sodding gob shut on subjects you know nothing about.


August 22nd, 2011 7:38am

Daniel Maris said: 'Eddie - You're just doing what Starkey did, conflating "black" with "gangs" and "guns".'

Or I am just being realistic about the fact that most gun crime and mugging is done by blacks? Gang culture is a black thing. The 'black community' and the police agree with me, mate: Operation Trident was set up to try and stop black on black gun crime. Are they all racist too then? Are you perhaps the only pure and virtuous non-racist then, Daniel? You seem to want to pretend that blacks are no more likely to be involved in gun crime and gangs than others. Two words: Grow up!

Neither Starkey nor I are saying all blacks are gangsters - it was in reinforcing this opinion that Starkey mentioned Lammy - but gangsta culture, with its pathetic rispek-demanding patois, is a black thing. Most gangsters and most muggers are black. Same as most football hooligans are white and most terrorists are Asian Muslim. It's called reality, mate.

You seem to be saying that nobody is allowed to point out the fact here: the riots in Tottenham were started by blacks; the police, fearful of people like you calling them racist did not stop it, so a green light was sent to every scumbag in the country: go our looting and shooting, and you won't be stopped.

Have you ever thought, Daniel, that it is people like you whose accusations of racism against anyone for speaking the truth about the socalled 'black community' who actually contribute to the cause of such disturbances?

I want the police to treat people equally and to come down hard on any criminals, black or white, who riot and mug and loot. That way, we can build a liberal tolerant society - which cannot happen if we have anarchy and tolerate criminality.

And yes, back in the day, most terrorists were Irish too. In targeting them, many atrocities were stopped.

We need to be honest about the problem in order to find a solution: and yet, when people such as Starkey are honest, people like you come along branding anyone who disagrees with your PC piffle as racist. So nothing will change. More riots will happen, more lives will be blighted by gangs and guns, and you will sit there with your fake theories and sanctimony believing that it's nothing to do with you.

Sayantani Gupta Jafa

August 22nd, 2011 8:09am

I entirely agree.As a foreigner, I see Britain undergoing a McCarthyist excess of lynching anyone and everyone who is not on the PC dole.Shame on Piers Morgan and the mob of shrill and raucous scribes and anchors who are drowning themselves in double-speak.I have already written myself on this, and wish that our views would also find a place.


August 22nd, 2011 11:06am

This article is should be titled: "Is the Pot Black" and authorship credited to "Mr. Kettle"

Stephanie Tohill

August 22nd, 2011 2:02pm

"Stephanie Tohill
You are somewhat confused and infact confusing.
If you are African you are black, if you are Ethiopian you are black, if you are Somalian you are black.
Likewise if you are French you are white if you are British you are white.
A black person can be civically British but not racially British as his ancestry is not British.
If a black man is British who am I as a white Briton?"

Oh dear.

To answer your question, that makes you a white Briton. Which answers your question, much as the black Briton you refer to is also British. Both as British as each other. You may look different from each other, but you are both equally British. I don't tend to share the BNP belief system that only White people can be British or that British is a race. Your race is your ethnicity, in this case white. Britain as a political unit came into being in 1707, so it is baffling you think there is a racial group known as 'British'.
If you do believe that can you tell me how you deal with the New World (the Americas and the Caribbean?) I presume then you are of the opinion that white Americans are not and cannot be American, black people cannot be Brazilian nor Canadian etc?

Lastly Britain as a political unit came into being in 1707 - so how you have decided Britain (comprised of the people's of Scotland, England and Wales) constitute one racial group is beyond me.


August 22nd, 2011 2:22pm

'Birds of a feather'. Defacto: We are all racist. Political correctness fingering those who are most newsworthy.

Stephanie Tohill

August 22nd, 2011 2:24pm


"So yes, to say David Lammy sounds white IS a compliment and is NOT racist: it's just a shorthand way of saying he is educated and decent"

And that exactly is the issue. The shorthand whereby black = 'bad' and white = 'good'. I don't 'defer' to Birbalsingh and if you bothered to read the link or any of her pieces you would realise how wrong your assessment of her is, but she is right in stating that when Lammy speaks, in an articulate, educated fashion he does so as a BLACK BRITON. It is racist to state that only whites, and black people trying to sound/be white sound educated.
Why not split colour from behaviour. Why do you think it is a good thing to partake in the damaging and destructive belief which states a young black boy who is high achieving and speaks well is acting white?

And yes I agree that it would have been better had Starkey said 'middle class' or educated which is what he meant. There are plenty of white people who are neither, and plenty of black people who are both.

As for stating 'no-one is saying skin tone dictates speech', you are. Repeatedly everytime you state Lammy speaks like a white man. He's a middle class man. Why are you surprised that he speaks with a middle class accent? 'Well spoken standard English' is mainly spoken by English people, most of whom are white so that's a false comparison you make. Street slang is just that, street slang. It's not restricted to any one racial group although some of its words may have been pick-pocketed from Jamaican patois. But the street you hear in London is miles different from how an actual Jamaican speaks. And you say most black people speak in a street slang. Really? Most black people speak like a 14 year old looter? Do you have anything to quantify this aside from your own prejudices?

And I actually reject the very notion of 'black culture'. I have yet to hear a sensible description of this make believe thing. What culture attaches itself to black people as far apart as Cameroon and Cuba? Benin and Barbados? Nonsensical term.

Oh and just to correct some dodgy stats. Black people are about 2% of the British population and a minority of that number are of Jamaican descent.

Lastly to correct your slurs: I have no interest, whatsoever in shutting down debate.

Nor do I go around accusing anyone who disagrees with me (on what?) of being a 'racist'. Nor do I make excuses for the bad behaviour of anyone and most certainly do not think anybody's bad behaviour is down to them facing racism. I think there are a lot of things which cause black boys (the girls are doing fine) to underachieve and racism wouldn't even make my list. I have never once said, nor would I say 'only blacks can criticise blacks' (as I tend to refrain from criticising whole groups of any hue.)
So I'd thank you to stop making things up. It makes you look hysterical.

Jerry Owen

August 22nd, 2011 3:18pm

Stephanie Tohill
Your comment that Britain became a political group in 1707 somewhat beggars belief, what on earth has that to do with race or culture?. Absolutely nothing. We have been here since the end of the last ice age and originated from Europe we are of the European race as oppsed to Asian or African races etc.
I suggest you look up Haplo groups and the DNA proof therein will teach you who we are.
I find your comments that a Black man can be as British as me as somewhat patronising for black people, have you ever stopped to wonder if perhaps they wish for their own distinct identity? Most of them refer to themselves as black British suggesting some proudness of their ethnicity.
Just as I am proud of mine. In fact more proud since all of this PC Marxist drivel that tries to deny Britishness and peoples right to be proud of it.
My race comes from Europe, a black mans race does not originate from Europe, therefore he is very different from me. And why not celebrate that diversity insted of trying to deny it?


August 22nd, 2011 4:36pm

Stephanie - I think perhaps it is you who look hysterical, insinuating everyone who does not hold your views on 'black culture' (in its generally accepted definition) is somehow a 'racist'.

Moreover, you seem to assume that you are right in all such things because you are black: now that, I think, could be called racism far more than anything Starkey said. I know far more about racial issues and history than the average British black person, for sure.

YOu though seem to think you are the only person who knows anything about black people or culture (whatever that means), and yet you get your facts wrong! True, a minority of British blacks now are of Jamaican decent, but the proportion is not 2% but 2.8%, not including illegal immigrants. (On TV it's about 10%, but that's diversity target-setting for ya!). Also, most Africans came here in the last 20 years and tend to be more middle class and professional - so the face of black briton is still the black kids on the corner speakin da Jamaican/US style patois.

Black girls are not doing great either: one reason the UK has such bad teenage single mother stats is because lots of 15 year old black girls get pregnant.

I am very much against terms such as 'black music', 'black history' and 'music of black origin' - because these terms are nonsensical and represent US-style segregationist claiming of things as either black or white and not human. However, one has to accept that people use them - and some black people never stop lecturing the world about them either!

But it does not matter really what you or I think. The fact is that there is such a thing as 'black culture' which is generally understood to mean the culture that is all about rap and gangs and guns etc. Look at rap music and videos or Ali G: that is what most black kids define as 'black culture' Which does NOT mean that I or they think all black people are gangsters, or that that is all black people are about. But in no way to I have to justify myself to you Stephanie or wny other black person: you have no linguistic authority on racial terminology just because you is black!

Personally, I think you have a very 2 dimensional way of seeing race and that you seem obsessed by semantics. Perhaps you should try thinkling more deeply: focus on why black people are disproportionately represented in prison and poor Chinese poor are not. What difference is there between those two ethnic groups? Just getting hysterical at white people who you see as being beneath you will get you nowhere and just make you bitter and angry.

daniel maris

August 23rd, 2011 9:15am


I'm not at all trying to close down any debate about crime issues within particular groups in society. I just wonder why you aren't at all interested in the clear links between Irish people and serious criminality but you seem to be very interested in what you call black criminality.

The riots may well have been started by people you describe as "blacks" but of course many of those will have been of mixed African and European ancestry. I guess you mean "people who look the slighest bit brown and have kinked hair".

I think we really need effective measures to deal with crime and the Police don't seem very interested in those e.g. more street patrolling, in the right places and at relevant times of the day.


August 23rd, 2011 12:01pm

So Daniel - do or do you not agree that the police should have the right to target those who are more likely to commit street crime? That would mean their patrolling inner city areas and actually bothering to stop and search black people you know. It was a reluctance of the police to stop the first riot in Tottenham because of touchy feely policing that led to the riots spreading - and they would have acted had the rioters not been brown skinned or had what you call 'kinked' hair. Ergo, the police DID act in a racist way by treating blacks more leniently than they would whites, non?

Also, please be reminded that Irish persons (with whom you seem a bit obsessed) can also be black or mixed race.

daniel maris

August 24th, 2011 8:13pm


Well the reason I am banging on about Irish (of whatever colour, and whether terrorists, travellers, gangsters or whatever) is that you refuse to recognise that ethnic group as having a crime problem.

Perhaps you've got some Irish in you.

Why aren't you arguing that the Police ought to harrass law abiding Irish people in the streets on the basis of their Irishness because Irish people are grossly overrated in the prison population. It's amazing how often Irish names come up when you read up on supposedly "English" gangs e.g.
Noyes, Adams, O'Leary - the list is endless. And then you see this isn't just a phenomenon in the UK - Irish gangs have been famous in the USA and Australia (Ned Kelly, remember) - indeed anywhere the Irish have settled in numbers.

My view is that random street searches are almost guaranteed to cause resentment. Far better to target those people known to commit offences and ensure there are enough Police out on patrol at relevant times.


August 25th, 2011 9:13am

Daniel - The Irish issue is completely irrelevant. If Irish people, hotfoot from County Cork, were responsible for 80% of mugging in London, then perhaps the police would be justified in targeting them.

However, the fact is that 80% of street crime is done by young black men. Black people are less than 3% of the population, yet are responsible for a great deal of crime.

It is not in slightest bit racist to say this, or that the police should stop crime WHOEVER commits it. A skin colour should not be an excuse or a reason for the police not to do their job - as it was in Tottenham. They would have arrested white rioters there straight away, but held back for reasons of 'sensitivity' to a black community.

Yes, stop and search will cause resentment - but then that will always be there from certain people. Stopping a riot in Tottenham would also have caused resentment - but it would have stopped a week of rioting in England.

The police should ignore the skin colour of anyone starting disturbances and arrest them. The fact they didn't due to oversensitivity to ethnic communities caused the riots: and all those socalled liberals who would have called the police 'racist' for stopping that Tottenham riot are a main cause of the riots.


August 28th, 2011 8:16pm

My overwhelming impression of the riots was that it was people mirroring the culture that the media have created since the mid 1980s. A culture of aggression, materialism, entitlement, lack of respect for authority and the vital institutions of any society.

So many were parroting the rhetoric they've got off the BBC about greedy bankers and corrupt politicians after the media decided that this was a more palatable line to take than telling the population that they were a bunch of greedy credit eaters living on the never never.

And yes Starkey is obviously right that white youth living in inner cities has absorbed some of the less pleasant elements of black youth culture they rub shoulders with. It was the black areas of cities that experienced the worse destruction and violence, if not looting.


August 28th, 2011 8:17pm

It's patently obvious to me that different cultural influences result in different cultural behaviours and that this would include criminal cultural behaviour. I can't believe this is remotely controversial.


August 28th, 2011 8:24pm

I tell you what I think is racist. Condemning black kids to crap cultural attitudes that see them winding up stabbed or in jail at an early age rather than calling them out on it. What's more racist, telling somebody their attitudes stink or watching them fail and die when you could have stopped it?

Paul Moran

September 5th, 2011 2:47pm

Well, I seem to recall Morgan trying to frame some of our brave servicemen a few years back. He lost his editor's job because of his disgraceful attack - maybe we can throw him out onto the street as well. Peston... well one only has to listen (if you can stand it) to his diatribe to guage his level of interlect, so he can be pretty much irnored.


September 7th, 2011 10:24am

Yes, Steph, I agree. But you forget one thing: in the UK now one is not permitted to say the cultural attitudes you mention are crap and damaging. Why?

Because these attitudes are part of people's racial identity, according to 'black leaders', just as hardcore Islam is seen part of Muslim identity and is therefore OK - because celebrating diversity should be celebrating that to!!!

The way culture is thus racialised is a get-out-of-jail free card which is used all the time to stifle criticism of anything black or Asian people do that is not acceptable in decent, civilised society - and paradoxically that includes massive racism, sexism, homphobia and bigotry. A white non-religious person, of course, is not allowed to behave in the same way or have the same attitudes that are deemed acceptable in any ethnic community.

Trust me, I know: I used to be a lecturer and so know how PC muppets think and behave! I know the diversity policies which state crap like this and had to follow them - (while laughing and inwardly groaning at them) - when teaching. Celebrating diversity blindly is the whole problem here!

Stephanie Tohill

September 26th, 2011 5:06pm

"Yes, Steph, I agree. But you forget one thing: in the UK now one is not permitted to say the cultural attitudes you mention are crap and damaging. Why?"


A little chippy here. Does anyone do anything other than condemn, for example gang violence/gangs in general? What attitudes, leading to kids stabbing each other aren't criticised. Even rap music, which tends to be the scapegoat of all our ills, is heavily criticised. Do you have any evidence of anyone praising, gangs or anything else which leads to criminality. I would be fascinated to see it.

What 'crap cultural attitudes' are black kids condemned to and how do we (or anybody) change things. Actual solutions please.

Stephanie Tohill

September 26th, 2011 5:08pm

"And yes Starkey is obviously right that white youth living in inner cities has absorbed some of the less pleasant elements of black youth culture they rub shoulders with. It was the black areas of cities that experienced the worse destruction and violence, if not looting."

Not in Manchester? So what happened there? Did they absorb negative aspects of so called black culture by osmosis?

Stephanie Tohill

September 26th, 2011 5:23pm

"Stephanie - I think perhaps it is you who look hysterical, insinuating everyone who does not hold your views on 'black culture' (in its generally accepted definition) is somehow a 'racist'."

Hold on there a moment! I did no such thing! I think those who think you can honestly assign behavioural traits to race are racist. And those who genuinely think you can act black/white (thus thinking race dictates behaviour) are clearly racist in the classical sense. I have made no comment on any views people hold on black culture. Well I do think any views on so called 'black culture' are silly because it doesn't exist. I think it's laughable to assume that black people, found on every continent, in many, many countries worldwide, of differing ethnicities and cultures, language and religious faiths can have one shared culture to be beyond daft. Not racist. Just daft.

Just to correct you. And while I am on the topic of corrections: I never made any comment on my ethnicity, nor have I ever made any comment as to who is allowed to comment on what. You have claimed that already and this is the second time I have had to correct you, will there be a third? Black girls are doing fine educationally. Pretty much in line with the average, by the measure we tend to use: GCSEs at grades A-C and for the second time can you provide evidence of the teenage pregnancy rate amongst young black girls please? I have never once claimed to be 'the only person who knows about black people/culture' don't be ridiculous! There are 100s of millions of black people on the planet and nearly as many so-called black cultures. I don't even recognise the term 'black culture'. If you mean the cultures of countries with black majorities then nope, I wouldn't ever claim I am familiar with most. Of course I am not.

I am not particularly interested in why any number of any ethnic group are in prison as I am not obsessed with race. And I most certainyl do not believe anybody, black, white, Asian, Mayan, Latino, Arab etc is beneath on account of their race.

Now if you're going to put all that time into drafting a response to my post, you may as well start with addressing what I have written, not what you imagine I have said.

Jerry Owen,

Essentially if Britain came into being at the act of union how can they be an ethnic group? As for your comments I think a very large number of black people are happy to consider themselves British and would be offended at the thought they cannot be because their skin colour is wrong? What ethnicity could they claim then? Not Afro-Caribbean using your logic as they aren't Arawak or Carib. And by the same logic a white man cannot be American? Australian? Canadian?

Rod Liddle

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