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Afua Hirsch calls out media for giving a platform to racists

CRITICAL: Afua Hirsch

AFUA HIRSCH has criticised media outlets that invite racists to spout their views to large audiences and in doing so help to frame racism as a legitimate opinion.

During an appearance on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order on BBC Two, Hirsch spoke about why the practice of having anti-racists debate their views against racists on mainstream media platforms was highly problematic.

She said: “I think we’ve got to a really dangerous position where now if someone like me who’s anti-racist and anti-racism is in a debate, there’s this need to put me on against a racist as if racism is like a legitimate opinion.”

The author of Brit(ish) went on to illustrate the seriousness of the issue using the example of giving a platform to a pro-rape activist.

“If we were talking about the problem of rape, you wouldn’t have me on with a pro-rape activist. We accept that pro-rape is not a legitimate stance but when it comes to racism, pro-racism now apparently is so normalised that I find myself having to debate people who are openly and overtly racist.”

She added: “I think it’s really worrying because it does send a message that these two positions are equal.”

Hirsch received support from the fellow guests on the show and on social media.

“Pro-racism activists should not be given media space to promote their views on an equal footing with legitimate activists. I am talking to you #bbcnews,” one commenter wrote.

Another viewer said: “I thought the points that @afuahirsch made were absolutely right. BBC so obsessed with balance that it thinks it needs to bring opposing views in even when they are hate speech. Comedy on BBC is the only place free of that ridiculous view.”

“If the BBC stopped regularly giving Tommy Robinson, Nigel Farage and other toxic bigots a platform normalising their poison, that would help. If you wouldn't (I hope) invite representatives of the KKK or ISIS on to Question Time or similar programmes, why legitimise other haters?” tweeted another viewer.

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