The Left hate black or Asian aspiration if you don't hold their views

I learned the hard way that the Left hate black or Asian aspiration – if you don’t hold their views, writes IRAM RAMZAN

Some people have the strange belief that if you are brown or black, you must think and behave in a certain way.

When I was at secondary school in Greater Manchester, a few of the young Asian lads would occasionally give me the derogatory — and, I have to say, inaccurate — nickname ‘white girl’.

Or they’d call me ‘posh’. Why? Because I tried to speak well, didn’t use slang words and occasionally wore short skirts or tight jeans. In their eyes, then, I didn’t behave like a typical British Pakistani girl — who would have been more covered up and have a bit of an accent.

What this has exposed is a mindset all too common on the Left: that any non-white person who subscribes to broadly Conservative tenets of aspiration and self-improvement should be despised, castigated and dismissed as somehow ‘betraying’ their race

Though I laughed it all off at the time —and gave as good as I got — the comments occasionally stung.

That was 20 years ago. And yet this week has reminded me that, in some quarters, things really haven’t changed.

Rupa Huq, the MP sister of the ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie, has faced a barrage of criticism for describing Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng as ‘superficially’ black at a Labour conference fringe event.

Rupa Huq, the MP sister of the ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie (left), has faced a barrage of criticism for describing Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng as ‘superficially’ black at a Labour conference fringe event

The truth is that, far from being ‘progressive’ as it constantly claims, the Left is actually strikingly hidebound

In a clip shared to the Guido Fawkes political blog, the not-so-honourable member for Ealing Central and Acton said in rather unlettered fashion: ‘Superficially, he is a black man. Went to Eton, I think, he went to a very expensive prep school, all the way through, the top schools in the country. If you hear him on the Today programme, you wouldn’t know he is black.’

Where do you even start with such an appalling remark? Aside from the blatant racism, how does being privately educated stop someone from being black?

And who, precisely, is an authentic — that is, not ‘superficial’ — black man? Someone who grew up on a council estate and speaks like the rapper Stormzy?

Lest we forget, Ms Huq, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was privately educated at the £20,000-a-year Notting Hill and Ealing High School. Very nice, I’m sure.

And just like her telegenic younger sister, she speaks in a perfect cut-glass accent. Does that make the Huqs ‘superficially’ Asian? Of course not.

Lest we forget, Ms Huq, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was privately educated at the £20,000-a-year Notting Hill and Ealing High School. Very nice, I’m sure

But the MP’s ugly vitriol didn’t stop there. She also seemed to label the former Chancellor Rishi Sunak a ‘little brown guy’, while adding that the recent Tory leadership race was ‘superficially’ a ‘multi-culty’ contest, given that ethnic-minority candidates such as Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch were in the race.

Her comments rightly led to an outcry. Conservative Party chairman Jake Berry demanded that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer condemn Huq’s outburst as ‘nothing less than racist’.

At first, Huq had the gall to stand by her racist rant. But then she backed down and apologised. She has now been suspended from the Labour Party, pending an investigation. Let’s hope — vainly, perhaps — that she learns something from this ugly episode.

But the damage has been done. For what this has exposed is a mindset all too common on the Left: that any non-white person who subscribes to broadly Conservative tenets of aspiration and self-improvement should be despised, castigated and dismissed as somehow ‘betraying’ their race.

I thought I had left this warped outlook behind me in the playground. But whenever I have written an article, in this newspaper or elsewhere, about the problems within South Asian or Muslim communities — from extremism to women’s rights — I have had a volley of racist insults thrown at me from the ‘Be Kind’ brigade. They have called me a ‘coconut’ (brown on the outside, white on the inside), a ‘sell-out’ and even a ‘House Muslim’ — that is, a Muslim who does the bidding of the powerful non-Muslim majority. Add my job working for this paper, with its proud conservative tradition, and I might as well be a full-on traitor in the eyes of the Left.

Kwarteng was born in London to Ghanaian parents: he studied hard at Eton and Cambridge, had a flourishing career in the City and became Chancellor at the age of just 47

As an outspoken Asian woman, I don’t fit into a neat box for them — and they despise that. I know plenty of other South Asian and black people in the public eye have similar experiences.

The truth is that, far from being ‘progressive’ as it constantly claims, the Left is actually strikingly hidebound. Like true reactionaries, they see everything through the prism of race, gender and sexuality. Anyone from an ethnic minority is expected to conform to these low, patronising and racist expectations — behaving in a certain way and holding certain opinions, such as sharing the Left’s views on the economy and mass immigration.

And our votes for Labour, needless to say, are taken for granted.

If we dare to defy those stereotypes, we’re accused of ‘betraying our cultural heritage’.

Rubbish. In Britain, people are free to be exactly who they want to be — and are not constrained by their background or race.

Last year, the distinguished black educationalist Tony Sewell chaired an official report on race and ethnic disparities. This concluded that Britain is not an institutionally racist country

Take Sajid Javid, who in 2018 became the first non-white person to be made Home Secretary. Rather than acknowledging his achievement as a triumph for multicultural Britain (Javid’s father moved here from Pakistan in the 1960s to work as a bus driver), Left-wing activists inevitably scorned him as a ‘coconut’.

As for Kwarteng, who was born in London to Ghanaian parents: he studied hard at Eton and Cambridge, had a flourishing career in the City and became Chancellor at the age of just 47.

But whatever you think of their politics — and I’m not, as it happens, a Tory voter — Kwarteng and Javid are both proof of how immigrants and their children can flourish in this country, more than in any other European nation.

Last year, the distinguished black educationalist Tony Sewell chaired an official report on race and ethnic disparities. This concluded that Britain is not an institutionally racist country.

The Left have grown complacent on the lazy assumption that minorities will vote for them regardless

It asserted that factors such as family dynamics, community culture, geography and social class are more influential than racism when it comes to shaping people’s chances in modern-day Britain.

While the report correctly stated that racism remains a ‘real force in the UK’, it also pointed out that Britain has made considerable progress over the past 50 years in race relations. Now, the largest disadvantaged group is working-class white boys.

It would be hard to think of anyone more admirable than Dr Sewell: he has helped thousands of black children from poor backgrounds to get into university.

Yet he attracted the wrath of many on the Left, who hurled racially motivated abuse at him —calling him a ‘coconut’, ‘race traitor’ and ‘house Negro’.

More disgraceful still was the decision by Nottingham University — where Sewell obtained his doctorate in 1995 — to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree to him, as they don’t confer such on figures ‘who become the subject of political controversy’.

If Starmer wants to show that Labour is really ready for power, he needs to purge such rotten beliefs without mercy

The Left, if it was honest, would acknowledge all this. But they have grown complacent on the lazy assumption that minorities will vote for them regardless.

Once, that probably was true. In 1964, Tory MP Peter Griffiths was elected to the seat of Smethwick, near Birmingham, on the hideous slogan: ‘If you want a n***** for a neighbour, vote Labour.’ Griffiths refused to apologise, saying: ‘I would not condemn any man who said that . . . I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling.’

How things have changed. Now it is a Tory cabinet that includes not a single white man in one of the four great offices of state (Prime Minister, Chancellor, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary). No, the true ‘nasty party’ is now Labour — and Ms Huq’s own record proves it.

Three years ago, perhaps inevitably for a woman who once nominated Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour party, she was accused of anti-Semitism by two of her former employees.

One of them alleged that Ms Huq had repeatedly asked him why his bag, which had a number of Star of David badges pinned to it, was adorned with ‘Israeli flags’.

Rupa Huq has shown that Labour has a long way to go in understanding that an individual’s politics do not depend on their skin colour

The same ex-staffer claimed that Ms Huq later ‘banned’ him from writing policy documents, informing him that something he had written on the Israel-Palestine conflict was too pro-Israel. A panel later concluded that there was insufficient evidence that Ms Huq had breached Labour’s rules and the claims were dismissed.

This week, in his damp squib of a speech, Keir Starmer claimed Labour was the ‘party of the centre ground’.

‘Once again,’ he continued, lamely parroting Tony Blair, ‘we are the political wing of the British people.’

No, Sir Keir. Because the British people have no time for the racism that is still on full display in your own party — while you yourself served proudly in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, as the sainted ‘Jeremy’ presided over an epidemic of anti-Semitism.

Rupa Huq has shown that Labour has a long way to go in understanding that an individual’s politics do not depend on their skin colour.

And if Starmer wants to show that Labour is really ready for power, he needs to purge such rotten beliefs without mercy.

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