Labour must stop playing the race card

You don’t have to be a paid-up member of the Conservative Party to find Jeremy Corbyn’s latest statement about helping out ethnic minorities disagreeable. According to Corbyn, as expressed in a Labour Party Twitter statement, ‘only Labour can be trusted to unlock the talent of black, Asian and minority ethnic people, who have been held back by the Conservatives’.

As soon as it went out, some of Britain’s most successful black and Asian politicians came out to mock Corbyn’s patronising statement. Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, simply tweeted, ‘Thanks Jeremy’. James Cleverly, a Conservative Party MP, replied with: ‘Yes massa.’

In trying to play the race card, Corbyn is lending credence to the idea that black and Asian people are somehow more feeble, less equipped, to make it in the world – that rather than seizing their own opportunities and fighting for their own interests they need kindly middle-class Labourites to look after them.

At the same time, Labour continues to push the idea that white working-class people are incredibly hostile to minorities – whether it’s Diane Abbott saying Leave voters wanted to see less ‘foreign-looking people on their streets’ or Shami Chakrabarti telling Jewish voters not to leave the party because she didn’t want to be ‘locked in a room with Essex Man’.

People of all backgrounds should reject this ugly, divisive politicking.

Courtney Hamilton is a writer based in London.

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