'She should know better’: Journalist Ash Sarkar shocked by Diane Abbott’s comments

23 April 2023, 20:27

'I couldn't quite believe she had put pen to paper'

By Alice Bourne

Editor of Novara Media Ash Sarkar and Sangita Myska discussed Diane Abbott's letter to The Observer in light of her "lifelong campaign" against racism and the "grotesque forms of racism" she has experienced herself.

Following the news that Labour MP Diane Abbott has had her whip suspended over a letter she wrote to The Observer - in which she suggested Jews do not face racism - Ash Sarkar told Sangita Myska: “I think the first thing to say is that the letter is totally indefensible, its wrong, and its factually and historically wrong.

“We can measure the kinds of racist discrimination that the groups she identified have suffered throughout history to the present day. We don’t need all kinds of racism to be the same to qualify as racism.

“For example, I am a South Asian woman, now it means that some forms of discrimination that disproportionately impact for instance black people won’t affect me in the same way. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a victim of other kinds of racism. You can talk about these differences without saying one of these isn’t racism.”

Ms Sarkar continued: “Diane Abbott has been a lifelong campaigner against racism and also been someone that has experienced some of the most vicious and grotesque forms of racism in contemporary politics and you hope that someone like her would know better than to diminish or minimize the experiences of travellers, Irish people, and Jewish people.”

Read More: Diane Abbott suspended as Labour MP over 'deeply offensive' comments suggesting Jews do not face racism

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Sangita then revealed her shock at reading the letter: “Do you know what, Ash? When I first saw that letter I couldn’t quite believe she had put pen to paper because we know at one point Diane Abbott was receiving more racial hate mail than every MP put together in the House of Commons.”

To which Ash then said: “What we would all hope is that this was just some tragically clumsy phrasing and the minute this went out she was filled with regret and embarrassment and of course, people do make mistakes."

She added: “When it comes to the issue of suspending the whip pending investigation, that’s got to be the rule for everybody who’s being investigated for matters like these within the Labour Party.”

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