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article imageLabour MP Diane Abbott forced to apologise for racist tweet

By Elaine Findlay     Jan 5, 2012 in Politics
London - Diane Abbott, the UK Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Public Health, issued a hasty apology for tweeting a comment many consider to be racist in the wake of the Lawrence murder trial.
On January 4, 2012, the day that a Judge passed long sentences on two white men found guilty of the race-related murder of young, black south-Londoner Stephen Lawrence back in 1993, Diane Abbott, the Shadow Minister for Public Health and Labour MP for the London constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington, entered into a Twitter debate.
The subject focussed on the Lawrence enquiry. The other party in that debate was freelance journalist Bim Adewunmi who writes regularly for The Guardian newspaper.
During that Twitter debate Adewunmi Tweeted:
@HackneyAbbott I don’t advocate ‘divide & rule’. But I wish we could deal more effectively with issues without resorting to monolithic view
Adewumni s Tweet that prompted Abbott s racist reply
Adewumni's Tweet that prompted Abbott's racist reply
To which Ms Abbott responded:
@bimadew White people love playing “divide & rule” We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism
Ms Abbott’s Tweet has since been removed from both her Twitter feed and that of Adewunmi but it remains re-Tweeted by many using the tag #tacticasoldascolonialism.
Abbott s #tacticasoldascolonialism re-Tweet
Abbott's #tacticasoldascolonialism re-Tweet
It was not long before the newspapers were reporting that people were offended by the Jamaican born MP’s remarks because they considered they were racist – towards the white community.
The BBC reports that Labour Leader Ed Miliband spoke to her about the issue on the morning of January 5, 2012 which prompted an open apology from her in which she said she had not meant to generalise:
I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that.
This is a prime example of why politicians need to be very careful what they say when engaging in conversation online via social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.
More about Diane Abbott, UK politics, racist tweet, Twitter, Social media
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