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Boris Johnson Won’t Take The Knee For Black Lives Matter Because He ‘Doesn’t Believe In Gestures’

by : Lucy Connolly on : 03 Jul 2020 11:47
Boris Johnson Won't Take The Knee For Black Lives Matter Because He 'Doesn't Believe In Gestures'Boris Johnson Won't Take The Knee For Black Lives Matter Because He 'Doesn't Believe In Gestures'PA Images

Boris Johnson has said he won’t take the knee for the Black Lives Matter movement because he ‘doesn’t believe in gestures’.

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His comments came while speaking to LBC radio host Nick Ferrari, with the prime minister stating: ‘I do not believe in gestures, I believe in substance.’

For reference, that ‘gesture’ he’s referring to is actually a form of protest, inspired by American football star Colin Kaepernick who tried to draw attention to racial inequality in 2016, which has been used in recent weeks to draw attention to the cruel and unjust way George Floyd died.

You can watch his comments in full below:

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Then again, I suppose it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise coming from Johnson, a man who historically described Muslim women as looking like ‘letterboxes’ and said Black people have ‘watermelon smiles’.

Or from a prime minister who has done push ups to prove his recovery from coronavirus and who waved a packet of Tim Tams to extol the values of a trade deal with Australia.

The prime minister told Ferrari he would rather do things that make a ‘practical difference’ rather than showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, adding: ‘I’d rather see a story of championing success and talking about the opportunities we can open for young Black people.’

What these opportunities might be, as of yet, is unclear. Johnson did admit he had work to do to make his cabinet more representative – not a single Black person sits on the cabinet, despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s claim it is one of the ‘most diverse cabinets [he’s] ever sat in’ – but didn’t clarify what actions he would implement to ensure this would happen.

Boris JohnsonBoris JohnsonPA Images

Rather than focus on the future at all, in fact, Johnson reminisced about his time as Mayor of London, saying Black representation in the Met Police had ‘massively increased’ during his time in charge of the city.

Which, again, doesn’t really tell us much about what he plans to do in the future, although he did say he wanted to see this sort of action implemented across the country.

Getting back to his stance on taking the knee though, and Johnson said he believed people were being ‘bullied into doing things they don’t necessarily want to do’, citing some police officers in London allegedly feeling coerced into taking the knee because their colleagues had done so.

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Protesters taking a knee George FloydProtesters taking a knee George FloydPA Images

Johnson said he didn’t want this ‘bullying’ to happen, adding that he believed police should not make the so-called ‘gesture’.

His comments come a month after Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said he would not take the knee in support of the BLM movement, arguing that protest is ‘a matter of personal choice’. While doing so, he falsely claimed the act of taking the knee came from Game of Thrones.

To clarify, it absolutely did not – but then the foreign secretary should already know that, shouldn’t he?

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: News, Black Lives Matter, Boris Johnson, Now, Politics, prime minister, Racism, Take The Knee, UK

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