George The Poet refutes Emily Maitlis's claims racism is 'not the same' in UK as US

‘I hope this is a learning point for many people who think along the lines that you just expressed’

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 02 June 2020 17:01
George The Poet refutes Emily Maitlis's claims racism is 'not the same' in UK as US

George The Poet refuted Emily Maitlis’s claims that racism in the UK is not “on the same footing” as it is in America while appearing on Newsnight on Monday (1 June).

Discussing the Black Lives Matter protests spreading across the US following the death of George Floyd, the podcaster, full name George Mpanga, described “disturbing parallels between the Black British experience and the African American experience”.

In response, Maitlis questioned: “You’re not putting America and the UK on the same footing,” adding: “Our police aren’t armed, they don’t have guns, the legacy of slavery is not the same.

“We’ve had a report many years ago looking at institutional racism and you would hope reversing or aiming to open that up.”

Mpanga replied: “If it’s not the same then you have to explain to me why Julian Cole is not an exception. What happened with Nuno Cardoso, what happened with Edson Da Costa, what happened with Sarah Reed who died under very similar circumstances with Sandra Bland in the American context.

“This is contemporary. When you talk about the history of race relations, you have to consider the role of the British Empire on the African content and the political and economic consequences of that interaction.”

He continued: “What is the situation that we’re dealing with today? This is very contemporary and I hope this is a learning point for many people who think along the lines that you just expressed, that this is an American and not a British issue.”

Black Lives Matter protests took place in the UK over the weekend, with demonstrators coming together to honour Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck, and to protest against claims of police brutality in the UK.