Was Kelis right for calling Britain racist?

The singer tweeted her anger after the incident.

UPDATE: I have some corrections to make, I don’t want to spread any untruths!

  • Kelis has since tweeted to clarify the incident happened in Spain after a flight from Gatwick
  • A British passenger made the comments against the singer
  • Incident DID NOT occur in Heathrow as I previously wrote (I blame my sources and Twitter confusion!)
  • I hope this makes things clearer!

Kelis vented her anger via Twitter today after being racially abused at passport control whilst leaving Britain. The incident apparently occurred last month, but Kelis did not want to make it public as riots, triggered partly by racial tensions, flared in London.

The Acapella singer described the incident in a series of tweets. She claimed that she was waiting in line with her two year old son at passport control in Heathrow, when a white, middle-aged man accused her of queue jumping. Kelis went on to say he then called her ‘slave’ and declared she was ‘probably a disgusting Nigerian’.

To make matters worse, the official behind the passport desk, apparently laughed, shook his head in agreement with the singer’s abuser and said “kunta kinte”, which is the name of a fictional character in an American novel about slavery.

Whilst it’s absolutely clear that the incident Kelis suffered was disgustingly racist, the singer went on to claim that racism was still rife in Britain as a nation, labelling it as “disgusting”.

She wrote: “It’s [Britain] racially decades behind progression because everything is swept under the rug. People don’t talk about it. People don’t fight about it. Not mentioning a problem doesn’t make it go away.”

Kelis also conceded that racism was still at issue in her own country, the US, where black people could not vote until the sixties.

Personally, I agree with Kelis’s opinions in some respects – in Britain there is still in ignorant minority of people who are racist. However, as I wrote about in my recent blog post on the EDL protest and counter-protest, there are people, an overwhelming  majority, that are fighting back against racism.

It’s very sad that Kelis, and probably many other people, have had to suffer racism in this country, but I hope that they see and believe that these views are held by a minority of very ignorant people, and not my Britain as a whole.

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What do you think of Kelis’s comments? Please leave your comments below!


4 thoughts on “Was Kelis right for calling Britain racist?

  1. Im so pissed off at this for many reasons. No one should ever have to put up with racial abuse http://www.showbizspy.com/article/49847/kelis-arrested.html and also she is changing her story by the second, now it didnt even occur in the UK it happened in Spain.

    Racists are everywhere (yes Kelis even in the UK) But its insulting that she would even suggest that the UK is decades behind the rest of the world.
    The people in the line who ignored this animal of a man? why would they be British? she as an American would be in a different passport control line.
    Kunte Kinte? I dont think so Kelis, I had to look it up. And what is all this his Fat Pink face stuff??? I dont think this woman is well and I think judging by the article included she is trying to deflect her own disgusting racial attitudes away from herself.

    • Thanks very much for your comments and opinions, I agree with you that the whole of the UK is not racist, but we do have a problem with a minority of ignorant people who are holding us back. i would just like to point out though, the article you have linked is from 2007, where as I’ve written about Kelis’s comments regarding the recent incident at Heathrow. I also think that if you don’t fight back against a racist incient, then you arent really doing much t stop racism in the country, so the people around Kelis should have stepped in.

  2. No there is a lot that needs to be done to change attitudes I agree, especially now that we have the disgusting EDL marching our streets. I included the article because i do think its relevant, you cant make a sweeping generalisation like that with a history of racial intolerance yourself. I think she needs to maybe explain the incident more clearly and explain why she was in the EU passport control line when she is an American. I am willing to condemn racism but not help stir up racial tension with what could quite possibly be an untruth. She has now retweeted that it didnt happen in the UK but in Spain.

    • I agree with your second post entirely. I’ve added a bit to the post in light of what you’ve told me, think we need a bit more information about the issue! Thanks very much for your helpful comments!

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