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‘Starkey has brought my profession into disrepute’

COMMENTS: Jade Lewis, left, and David Starkey, right

A HISTORY graduate says David Starkey’s controversial comments, where he blamed ‘black culture’ for turning white youngsters into looters, made her question her future profession.

Jade Lewis, 21, said that the 66-year-old historian’s comments about the recent riots in London during his appearance on BBC's Newsnight programme were misinformed and inaccurate and had brought her beloved profession into disrepute.

She said: “What told David that all the people on the streets during the riots were one type of people or one type of person.

“It caused me to question his position as an historian. I couldn’t understand why he failed to give people on the streets individual status. Because the rioters had their own individual reasons for going out there, they were not the entire same caliber.

“His comments didn’t address why people were out there in the first place,” she added.

In his controversial Newsnight appearance, Starkey, who also revealed he had been re-reading racist MP Enough Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech, said:

“The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture has become the fashion. And black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together, this language which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that’s been intruded in England, and this is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country.”

Jade, who recently completed a history degree at the University of Sussex, said he had brought the profession into disrepute by voicing theories about race.

“He totally dismissed the white working class culture and experiences.

“It sounded like he was blaming black people for the way white people act, which was not factual,” She said.

“He’s only now noticing that the working class have a predominate culture which has infiltrated the urban culture,” she told The Voice.

Jade says she will be more than one dimensional in her career and aims to “educate” people in her practice.

“I plan on play writing through the arts to educate and enlighten people rather than just writing books and lectures.

“People only have access to historical resources if their in that arena, and most find it boring, so I want to educate people through an excitable form of arts,” she said.

Backed by 100 fellow historians, who unanimously signed an open letter expressing their outrage at David’s comments, Jade continued:

“He put everyone in one box and in a sense kind of put me in the same box. It’s like wait on I kind of speak like that and live in that area does that make me one of those people?

“A historian should be open-minded to the fact that different things effect different people. We are supposed to be knowledgeable and able to listen and I don’t think David had that kind of quality.”

Signatories include academics from Cambridge University and the London School of Economics, both institutions where Starkey once taught, who have asked the BBC to stop referring to Starkey as a "historian" on anything but his specialist subject, the Tudors. They too claim he is "ill-fitted" to hold forth on other topics.

“Obviously historians are entitled to their own opinion and a argument but they refer to other arguments that exist, which he doesn’t do.

“I think it was horrific to say all chavs have become black because your in as sense disregarding a whole set of other people,” Jade said.

Jade says she agrees with fellow historians who have said that Starkey’s comments “would disgrace a first-year undergraduate."

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