SOAS academic berates Stormzy’s comments about racism

An academic at SOAS, famously known for having a majority (54%) of BAME students, has weighed in on the recent debate surrounding grime rapper Stormzy’s comments to an Italian newspaper. Using his public Twitter account, Dr. Paul Stott, a lecturer in international studies and diplomacy, said, “If there’s one thing the British are rubbish at, it’s racism.” 

He went on to comment on Stormzy’s father and ancestry, stating that “our welfare state helped bring [Stormzy] up. It may not have been perfect, but it was better than what was on offer in Ghana.” 

While Stormzy does have Ghanaian heritage, he was born in Croydon. 

In the original interview, Stormzy was asked whether racism existed in the UK and he said, “Yes, 100%.” 

This was subsequently reported inaccurately by numerous UK media outlets who ran headlines like, “Stormzy says UK is 100% racist.” Many on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media have had extensive discussions about the issue. He has since received a lot of negativity and hateful comments from people who have taken offence to what he has said. 

Stormzy has heavily criticised the inaccurate reporting of his comments. ITV and other media outlets have since apologised for the misleading headlines.

Dr. Stott also stated, “As a celebrity, we invite him to our schools where he tells the next generation our society is 100% racist.” 

“If there’s one thing we need to hear from this young man in 2020, it is surely thank you Great Britain.” 

Many have criticised Dr. Stott’s comments, arguing that this feeds into the “grateful Black boy” narrative where he “should be grateful and just shut up.” Some have called for people to report Dr. Stott to SOAS and have labelled him as ‘racist’. 

Another Tweet said, “We need more people like @Stormzy to continue standing up for those being mistreated in this country and to continue telling the establishment to do one. Britain is indisputably racist, 100%…” 

Sofia Akel brought up an important issue regarding Dr. Stott’s role as a lecturer at a university with a large number of BAME students, asking, “I wonder how he treats his black and brown students if they have a grievance?” 

SOAS has published a full statement in regards to Dr. Stott’s comments. They said, “Comments made on twitter by the tutor Dr Paul Stott are personal comments and do not in any way represent the views of SOAS.”

“These comments certainly do not accord with the values of SOAS as an institution. We agree with the criticism that has been expressed that these comments are ill-informed and extremely offensive. We fully understand why SOAS staff and students, and the wider community, are deeply concerned about statements such as this being made.”

“SOAS is currently closed for the Xmas [sic] period, but we will take this matter up in detail when the school re-opens on 2 January.”

Dr. Stott has been approached for comment. 

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