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David Starke making a speech in Brighton.
David Starke making a speech in Brighton.
Image: PA Images

Historian David Starkey faces backlash over ‘so many damn blacks’ comment about slavery

Starkey described the British Empire as “the important moment in human history”.
Jul 3rd 2020, 7:42 AM 38,881 53

UK HISTORIAN DAVID Starkey is facing a backlash after he said slavery was not genocide because there are “so many damn blacks” still around.

The historian made the comments during an online interview with Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes for YouTube channel Reasoned UK.

Former Chancellor Sajid Javid has criticised him over his remarks.

Mr Javid said: “We are the most successful multi-racial democracy in the world and have much to be proud of.

“But David Starkey’s racist comments (‘so many damn blacks’) are a reminder of the appalling views that still exist.”

Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University said they would be considering Starkey’s position as an honorary fellow as a result of his comments.

In a statement, the college said they will “not tolerate racism”, adding that his comments are “indefensible”.

Starkey has also resigned from the board of the Mary Rose Trust, which oversees the Tudor Mary Rose ship, according to the organisation.

The trust said in a statement that they were “appalled” by his comments, adding: “Mary Rose Trust is a charity that exists for the benefit of everyone and we have zero tolerance for such comments.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s chief executive Olivia Marks-Woldman also criticised his comments.

She said: “To suggest a genocide did not take place because some of those who were persecuted survived is dangerous, damaging and completely reprehensible.

His words are abhorrent and as a historian with a considerable platform and following, David Starkey’s irresponsible and racist views should be widely condemned.

During the interview, Starkey said:” Slavery was not genocide otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?

“An awful lot of them survived and again there’s no point in arguing against globalisation or western civilisation. They are all products of it, we are all products of it.

The honest teaching of the British Empire is to say quite simply, it is the first key stage of our globalisation. It is probably the most important moment in human history and it is still with us.

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Grimes later released a statement about his interview, saying he “wasn’t engaged enough” in the conversation.

Tweet by @Darren Grimes Source: Darren Grimes/Twitter

He added: “It goes without saying that Reasoned UK does not support or condone Dr David Starkey’s words.

“I am very new to being the interviewer rather than the interviewee and I should have robustly questioned Dr Starkey about his comments.

“However, whether it’s on the BBC, ITV, Sky News or on YouTube, no interviewer is responsible for the views expressed by their guests.”

Starkey has been contacted for comment.

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