Maajid Nawaz brings together two men to discuss racism in powerful radio moment

7 June 2020, 15:53

By Seán Hickey

"Moments like that folks, are why I do what I do on air" Maajid said after a remarkable moment of unity and solidarity between a young black man and older white man.

Ijay was calling for white people to meet him halfway across the bridge in the conversation on racism in the UK. The first-time caller was speaking to Maajid when Simon phoned in to share with LBC listeners that he has realised the wrongs he has done to be passive against racism in his life. Maajid Nawaz took this opportunity to bring the two together in an incredible moment for radio.

"We need to do this together" Simon said to Ijay, telling the first-time caller that "we need to understand more about the injustices that ethnic minorities have gone through" so white people can better understand the impact of racism on ethnic minorities.

In a moment of sensitivity, Simon told Ijay that "sometimes I think when we're challenged, we can be accused of being racist or saying racist things" and left himself open to be educated and criticised.

Ijay rather acknowledged the point that Simon made and said that black people can sometimes "in expressing their hurt they express anger" which opened himself up to expose his own flaws. He encouraged Simon going forward that white people must "listen before they even think of responding."

The call was an incredible moment of insight for both Ijay and Simon
The call was an incredible moment of insight for both Ijay and Simon. Picture: PA

Ijay pointed out that white people don't mean it largely, but cannot completely understand racism because "with their position subconsciously or passively comes privilege." He told Simon that "Maajid is speaking from a position that is the other side of the bridge" and called for Simon to make moves to meet them halfway.

Simon and Maajid then discussed a study that showed that people with white sounding names are up to three times more likely to be invited to job interviews than people with names associated with ethnic minorities. "That just says it all and to my mind that will help white people cross that bridge" Simon said.

Ijay pointed out that "a lot of time has passed" since conversations about race and racism have begun "white people have to come to grips with the unfortunate reality that there are things like this."

Ijay concluded by telling Maajid that "the biggest triumph" of these protests would be for white people to recognise their privilege and make sacrifices.

"Moments like that folks, are why I do what I do on air" Maajid said, visibly moved by what he just facilitated.

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