David Lammy caller: 'Racism is a greater risk for black people than Covid'

30 March 2021, 14:56 | Updated: 30 March 2021, 14:58

By Sam Sholli

A caller told David Lammy that racism in is a "greater risk" for black people in the UK than Covid, in a conversation around vaccine hesitancy amongst some ethnic communities.

Anthony in Croydon made the remark following Sir Lenny Henry writing an open letter to black British people urging them to “trust the facts” and get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Sir Lenny's letter comes after figures released from the Office for National Statistics on Monday revealed 40% of over-70s from black African backgrounds are likely to have not had their jab.

The rate for people in the black African group receiving a first vaccine dose was estimated to be 58.8% - the lowest among all ethnic minority groups. Meanwhile, the estimated rate for people identifying as white British was 91.3%.

Having said he is "worse than hesitant" about getting vaccinated against Covid, Anthony told LBC: "The virus for black people and the greater risk for black people isn't Covid. It's racism."

He then cited institutional racism as the reason behind why people in black communities are hesitant about taking a Covid vaccine, born from a lack of trust in the system.

Anthony went on to say that "racism kills" and that "long after Covid has been managed in this country, we will still have racism killing black people".

David then asked Anthony what he would say to callers who describe the picture he painted as "pretty depressing" and "nihilistic".

Anthony responded by highlighting a caller who on Monday told David he was "not English", before adding "in terms of depressing, it's something that we've lived with all our lives, all our parents' lives and all our children's lives".

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