Saira Khan: Baby blunder showed Danny Baker’s true colours
Welcome to the world, baby Archie Harrison! I’m just sorry it’s a world still populated with the likes of Danny Baker.
See, I went a bit ga-ga over that royal photocall this week, with Harry and Meghan looking so happy and natural, showing off their precious little son.
But it appears even on such sentimental occasions, where you might want to cut the royals a bit of slack, some people will still stir things up and have a pop.
What possessed Danny, a Radio5 Live host, to mock this lovely new family by tweeting an image of a 1920s couple holding hands with a chimpanzee, captioned: “Royal baby leaves hospital”?
Did you think we’d all laugh and say how super-clever and witty you were, Danny?
No. This image left me, my family and friends feeling shocked, disgusted and angry.
“I was trying to make a joke about class,” he snivelled afterwards.
Thing is, Danny, I believe if you were truly friends with people who were black or Asian, you’d never have considered that particular image to make a point about “class” while commenting on a royal couple of mixed-race heritage.
And that’s the problem with the institution he works for, the BBC.
It bangs on about diversity, and yes it’s made some inroads, but where it matters, frontline media, it still pays lip service.
He even tried to weasel out of it, saying: “I didn’t know which of our royal princesses had given birth.”
Come on. On that basis alone, he should have been fired from his job as a broadcaster.
He did go on to make a more sincere apology about his “crass blunder”, admitting he got it wrong, “disastrously so”.
But no matter how he dresses up his apology, it still does not excuse what he did.
Because it exposes the fact he has no idea what it means to be a person of colour growing up in this country.
Seeing that image took me back to the 70s and 80s when people of my colour skin were poked fun at, discriminated against, attacked and despised.
The feelings of hurt stay with you because they made you feel small, inadequate, not worthy and inferior.
These days, these “jokes” will not be tolerated so it wasn’t just people of colour who took offence.
And, no, Aunty sacking him is not political correctness gone mad or an attack on freedom of speech. It is the right thing to do because it was a personal attack on a three-day-old mixed-race baby.
If it was class he wanted to make a point about, where was the post when William and Kate showed off their son Louis?
This whole horrible episode shows we all need to hold a mirror to ourselves and question our prejudices.
It cannot be that people adapt their behaviour for the public and media so they don’t get sacked, then make cruel and racist jokes in private.
But I have always believed that unless you are truly yourself with people, one day the real you will be caught out.
So, Danny boy, it now looks like you’ve got the monkey on your back.
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