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BBC Presenter says British countryside is racist and white people need to do ‘individual work to wrap our heads around history’

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The British countryside is racist and white people need to acknowledge they have benefited from the past according to Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison.

Thisa was after the BBC defended a programme that accused the countryside of being institutionally racist.

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Writing in the BBC Countryfile magazine, Harrison said:

“I spooled through the comments, which broadly came in three flavours: ‘I’m not racist so there is no racism in the countryside’; ‘I’m black and I’ve never experienced racism in the countryside’; and importantly, ‘I have experienced racism in the countryside’.

Until this point, I believed ignorantly, that me being not racist was enough. I believed that I should keep quiet and listen to black people.

That because I read and loved every Alice Walker book as a teenager, have watched Oprah every day since I was a youngster…it wasn’t my problem.

There is a big and crucial difference between being not racist and being anti-racist.

At times in the past I have given measured and polite replies to people – sometimes close to me – who have said racist things.

But being anti-racist means being much clearer that it isn’t acceptable…Let the knife and fork squeak uncomfortably over supper.

It’s our individual work to wrap our heads around history.

The work also includes recognising the pain of the past and the lingering ambient racism we don’t get to feel.

It means acknowledging that we have benefited from the past, the behaviours of many generations ago.

It means noticing that for white people, skin colour is not the cause of hardship and suffering, even if our lives haven’t been easy.

It’s seeing a problem, even if it isn’t a problem to us; asking what the grievances are and listening to what the solution is.

It’s not just protesting about cruelty but being motivated by fairness and making room.

And far beyond policing, it’s about economic equality too.”

Some on social media have accused the presenter, the programme and the BBC of losing touch with members of the public.

 

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