Following the racial abuse directed towards black England players after the Euros’ final, Boris Johnson tweeted:
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
In a column for the Daily Telegraph in 2002, Johnson referred to black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
Simon Walters, associate editor of the Daily Mail, has exposed Johnson’s widespread use of racist terms. According to his carefully researched glossary of the Prime Minister’s language, The Borisaurus Johnson used the racist slur “cxxn” six times in his 2004 novel Seventy-Two Virgins. The words were uttered by a fictional character. “Parts of the novel seem like an excuse to broadcast racist and sexist outpourings,” Walters states. Other racist terms he uncovered included “half-caste”, “bit of black”, “dusky”, “negroid” and “Hottentot”, an offensive word for indigenous South Africans. For more information see the Sunday Mirror. See Peter Oborne’s discussion of parallels between Johnson and the post-war Conservative politician Enoch Powell here.
Johnson’s statement condemning racial abuse was welcome. But he has frequently employed racist language himself.