Like the United States, the United Kingdom is a nation grappling with racism and bigotry, consistently exposed in this uncertain era stained by President Donald Trump, Brexit, and far-right movements. In a telling example of how big the problem is in the U.K., conservative MP Anne Marie Morris used the n-word while defending Brexit in a low moment caught on audio.
"Now I’m sure there will be many people who’ll challenge that, but my response and my request is look at the detail, it isn’t all doom and gloom,” she said during a meeting over the economic ramifications of Brexit alongside Tory Party colleagues like Bill Cash and John Redwood.
She attempted to downplay the likelihood that Brexit will damage the country's economy and then went on to casually describe the logistics of the U.K. leaving the European Union in racial terms.
“Now we get to the real n****r in the woodpile which is in two years what happens if there is no deal?”
Morris apologized, but only after the audio was leaked and public backlash was imminent.
"The comment was totally unintentional," she said. "I apologize unreservedly for any offense caused.”
The damage is done though, and leader of the Liberal Party Tim Farron called for Morris's immediate suspension.
"This disgusting comment belongs in the era of the Jim Crow laws and has no place in our parliament," he said. “The Conservative Party should withdraw the whip from Anne Marie Morris and they should do it today."
Prime Minister Theresa May suspended Morris after pressure from both sides of the political aisle, stating that, "Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today’s society.”
However, given that Morris didn't issue an apology until after her racist remark was leaked, and that her fellow conservatives at the meeting said nothing, there seem to be people that think racism absolutely has a place in politics and today's society.
Remarks like these by political leaders are a clear indication of how much work we still have to do to create societies of equal opportunity for all. If those making policies that shape our futures use the vocabulary of an Antebellum plantation owner, we are certainly not there yet.