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AstroChuck's avatar

Will there ever be a UK equivalent of Barack Obama?

Asked by AstroChuck (36611 points ) October 21st, 2008

The UK is a far more progressive nation than the US. We’ve just recently seen a woman as serious candidate for the US presidency for the first time, while thirty years ago Great Britain put a woman in the prime minister position. Now we are on the verge of having (knock on wood) the first African-American president of the United States or America. With the UK black population just over 2% (as opposed to 13.4% in the US), is race an issue in British politics? Is there an up and coming black British up and political figure in England? Is there a near future where the UK could find itself with a black prime minister? I’m especially anxious to read what you British flutherers have to answer.

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27 Answers

mea05key's avatar

that day will come.

we shall wait till a capable black leader rise.

Elumas's avatar

I hope not for there sake. By the way I’m not being racist against african americans. Just saying.

MrItty's avatar

uhm. Yes you are.

Care to explain how saying you hope a Black Brit doesn’t get elected “for their sake” is NOT racist??

jvgr's avatar

AstroChuck: “The UK is a far more progressive nation than the US.”

And if you stay tuned, you might get to watch the US retreat into a third world society.

squirbel's avatar

Well to be fair – I’d rather know how Elumas felt. What Elumas believes is in his head.

Just as I can believe what I wish to about Elumas.

breedmitch's avatar

Maybe a British-Pakistani prime minister?

Off topic:
What do they call African-Americans in England? African-Brittons?

AstroChuck's avatar

Black British.
I assume you mean a black person who is English. An African-American in England would just be called an African-American in England.

breedmitch's avatar

@AC: I’ve been called Black-Irish. Is that sorta the same thing? :)

dalepetrie's avatar

Not a brit myself, but having been there, I didn’t get the sense that blacks in Britain were really treated or thought of any differently than any other racial demographic, they just “ARE” same as whites, yellows, browns, whatever. I’m suspecting their lack of a black leader is a function of the small number of blacks in the country. Think about how many British Celebrities you can think of. Now think of how many of them are black. What to you come up with…Seal?

In other words, in a county which doesn’t have as deep a history of wholesale black slave labor (on its own shores) or segregation, Jim Crow, etc., one wouldn’t expect “racism” to be as much an inherent trait of the electorate. I’d say Britain will see a black leader someday, but 2% is 1/50th of the population. That would mean that on average one in 50 leaders should be black. Of course we can’t go back through the entire history of the British Empire, just since blacks have been an established minority in the country.

tabbycat's avatar

It’ll happen some day. The UK is home to such a variety of types of persons. I live in L.A., which has many different ethnic groups, and I visit London almost ever year on business (and pleasure). It is at least as culturally diverse as L.A.

I must say that my English friends are great supporters of Obama. They are looking forward to his Presidency.

Elumas's avatar

@ MrItty
No, that someone with Obama’s intentions doesn’t get elected.

@ Squirbel
Care to enlighten?

On another note. I believe the question was about a Brit equivalent to Obama. As far as I know Obama’s main defining feature isn’t that he’s black. It’s our actions that define us not our beliefs or physical traits.

MrItty's avatar

elumas, The question was certainly about a “British equivalent to Barack Obama”. The question details on the other hand, were about when Britain will have its first black PM.

Elumas's avatar

Well anyways I wasn’t being racist, just a misinterpretation.

augustlan's avatar

Elumas is republican, I believe.

Elumas's avatar

One of the few among flutherites.

lercio's avatar

As a Brit (white) I see no reason why we cannot have a black PM. In the past we have had a Jewish PM and a woman. Why not.

Of course our system is different, PM is not the same as President although the lines are becoming blurred. In theory we vote for out local member of parliament (House of Commons) and whichever party has the most members of parliament gets to form the government. The PM is the leader of that party. So a potential black PM must first become leader of their party.

There are black members of parliament 15 out of 646, so the odds aren’t great, but I’m guessing that Maggie Thatcher probably faced similar odds as a woman in the 70’s. But of course she was not reperesenting a minority in the population. Race can be an issue to those who want it to be, politics is a dirty place wherever you are.

@AstroChuck be careful with English and British, they are not interchangeable. Now there’s a race issue. ;-)

AstroChuck's avatar

What Jewish PMs are you referring to? The only one I can think of is Benjamin Disraeli, and he converted to Christianity while still a teenager. There were others?

lercio's avatar

edited it as you were crafting response

Michael Howard would have been #2 had he won the 2005 election, but that was not going to happen.

Elumas's avatar

Wait, enlighten me here Lercio why aren’t British and English interchangeable?

lercio's avatar

One is a subset of the other. Strictly Britain is the landmass to the right of Ireland, England is the part of it below Scotland and to the right of Wales.

Elumas's avatar

Thank you.

AstroChuck's avatar

@lercio- I know that. When I asked if there was an up and coming black politician in England, I meant to include Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Picts, Druids, etc., so I should have said the United Kingdom. I usually use UK when talking about the PM, that way I’m all inclusive. But I’ve never heard the term UK blacks, just black British.

squirbel's avatar

**cries a little inside at the ignorance of americans**

AstroChuck's avatar

Such as those who do not capitalize the word Americans?

squirbel's avatar

I don’t like capitals in the middle of my sentences – especially if I didn’t begin it with a capital letter. I like short letters.

And you were wrong to assume that I am American.

:)

AstroChuck's avatar

Sorry. That would be terrible, wouldn’t it?

lercio's avatar

@AstroChuck well Britain and UK do tend to be interchangeable, and Black British sounds better if only because of the alliteration.

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