Writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch is winning widespread praise online for her powerful and plain-speaking comments about society's "toxic racism" problem.
Hirsch, author of the acclaimed book Brit(ish), made her comments during Friday's episode of topical panel show The Pledge on Sky News. During a discussion about the BBC's decision to fire radio presenter Danny Baker after he posted a shamefully racist tweet of the Royal baby, Hirsch refused to let her fellow panel members paint Baker – rather than Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and their baby son – as a victim.
"How is he the victim? This is a pregnant woman who had to arrange new levels of protection because of the levels of racist abuse that she was receiving, which escalated when she announced that she was pregnant," Hirsch said.
Speaking about the escalating prejudice faced by Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, Hirsch continued: "She has always had racist abuse but when she announced that she was pregnant it multiplied because there is so much toxic racism in our society.
"That isn't Danny Baker's fault, but what is Danny Baker's fault is that he did something that was so offensive that when I first saw it I actually thought it was a prank Nobody who the BBC has given a platform to could be stupid enough could say this and not intend for it to be racist.
"We could talk about unintended racism or micro-aggressions, this is none of those. This is the most blatant, clear-cut example of racism. Generations of people have recognised that this as an overtly racist trope. Within people's lifetimes, people were still being compared to monkeys and dehumanised regularly."
Watch her comments on The Pledge below.
The video of Hirsch's comments has now been liked nearly 60,000 times on Twitter, and earned overwhelmingly positive endorsements from followers including Widows actress Cynthia Erivo, who tweeted at Hirsch: "Thank you for risking your space like this."
You’re so incredible Afua!! Thank you for risking your space like this. You shouldn’t constantly be put in this position where you’re fighting for your life!! It’s abhorrent!!— Cynthia Erivo (@CynthiaEriVo) May 18, 2019
If we’re at the point where the posting of a monkey for Prince Harry & Megan Markle’s baby #Archie, is not recognised as blatant racism, then what chance do we have of getting ppl to understand what institutional racism is? It’s so dispiriting; well done to @afuahirsch https://t.co/FBZUml1iKI— Dr Zubaida Haque (@Zubhaque) May 18, 2019
Speaking to Refinery29 last year, Hirsch explained why it is so damaging when people claim "not to see colour".
"People say they don't see colour because they're deliberately trying to distance themselves from racism and prejudice," she said. "Obviously I welcome the sentiment that they're trying to distance themselves from prejudice. But I want them to understand that by saying you don't see colour, you're dismissing race as a system – you're dismissing your whiteness and my blackness and the way it operates in society.
"You're also insinuating that if you don't see my colour, you're doing me a favour, because it would be better if it just wasn't there."