One might conclude that Mark Ferguson — an official with the United Kingdom's Labour Party — said the quiet part out loud over the weekend.
Except that the “quiet part” isn't so soft-spoken these days.
Ferguson — a member Labour's National Executive Committee who was chairing a party conference debate, the
Evening Standard reported — told his audience he noticed “the people putting their hands up do not reflect the diversity of the people in this hall, and that is very clear to me.”
He added: “I am afraid — and I am not speaking from a position of particular strength here — there are too many white men putting their hands up.”
The crowd applauded with some laughter peppered in.
Continuing on, a smiling Ferguson declared, “I am not anti-white men; some of my favorite people — my dad's a white man!”
“But I do not want white men to exclusively dominate this or any other debate at this conference, and following on from my comrade in the chair this morning, I do wish to see the diversity of the hall reflected,” he also said. “I'm not putting anybody on the spot here, but if you want to speak do not be afraid to put your hand up. We want to hear from you; this is an inclusive conference.”
The Evening Standard added that those chairing conference sessions ask attendees if they wish to speak and then choose from those who have their hands raised.
Here's the clip:
How did social media commenters react?
As you might guess, Ferguson was met with quite a bit of pushback for his words on Twitter:
- “I love how people, in this day and age, can be blatantly racist … against a specific group of people without any repercussions,” one commenter said. “And, of course, God forbid you answer back.”
- “The discrimination based on race is endless once you've convinced yourself you are on the good team, isn't it?” another user said. “These clowns never realize they've circled all the way back to racism.”
- “White man, sit down…we're not here for you. Go away!” another commenter observed. “That's what he's saying.”
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