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David Starkey does not represent London
Petition Background (Preamble):
We the undersigned call on the Mayor of London to withdraw the invitation to David Starkey to speak as part of the Mayor's Thames Festival.
In a discussion about the riots this summer on BBC Newsnight, David Starkey used race-based terminology to explain the riots, claiming '"What has happened is that the substantial section of the chavs that you wrote about have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion,"'. He also claimed Jamaican Patois has ''been intruded in England...so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country''. Comments encouraging the idea that black people and black culture lie at the root of the issues leading to the riots can only whip up racism and prejudice.
The Newsnight discussion then turned to the Mark Duggan protest. When Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, responded to Starkey saying that both white and black youth were involved in the riots, he contended that "it started as a black protest about the killing of a black man". When Owen Jones, another guest on the show, pointed out this was a peaceful protest about the shooting of Mark Duggan, and could not be held responsible for the riots, Starkey replied "it very quickly ceased to be peaceful". Quite apart from their race-bias, these comments are hurtful to the family of Mark Duggan, and also ignore the fact that the family strongly condemned violence of the riots.
The true spirit of London is not reflected in comments like these, but in the clean-up operations when people came together from all communities to repair the damage.
It is offensive and insensitive to give David Starkey a platform at the Mayor's Thames festival. Starkey's comments triggered thousands of complaints and have caused deep offence.
The David Starkey does not represent London petition to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London was written by Aaron Kiely and is in the category Media Issues at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: david, starkey, bbc, boris, johnson, mayor, racism, equality, bsc, black, students, thames, festival