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Statement in response to remarks made by Dr Adam Perkins about the Somali community

TW: racism, anti-blackness (especially relating to Somali communities) and Islamophobia.

 

I would like to bring to everyone’s attention an incident which has taken place this weekend on Twitter. An academic by the name Adam Perkins, a lecturer in the Neurobiology of Personality at King’s College London, posted a series of racist and incredibly insulting remarks directed at the Somali community.

He stated that “Trump’s ban makes sense on human capital terms… people from ‘banned nations’ tend to be over-represented in crime and unemployment stats”. The fact that he refers to the vulnerable lives as “human capital” is distasteful in itself, but then goes on to imply that Somali’s chose to live in countries that will guarantee them social welfare (such as benefits in the UK) so that they don’t have to work – and ridiculously thought that providing Danish data would suffice. This is absolutely absurd. Additionally, according to him, Somali’s also don’t possess the “Scandinavian work ethic” that will supposedly allow them to work in the Nordic nations, and that Somali unemployment in the USA is 50%. There is absolutely NO evidence for this, and what on earth is meant by “Scandinavian work ethic”?  Lastly, he states that Although crafting his tweets carefully, evidently attempting to avoid any critique of his statements, saying “Danish data suggesting that welfare benefits taste sweeter to some cultures than others” is downright wrong and insulting. Also, why Danish data? Too lazy to find any British data?

As a British Somali, born from Somali refugees who have worked since DAY ONE upon entering this country, haven’t claimed a single penny in social benefits from the government, speaking little English, the fact that this lecturer can generalise is the most angry I have felt in a very long time. How dare you. Further statements which he has made which are completely untrue include: “Somalians don’t perform well either side of the Atlantic”, and that “if a migrant group is bad news I doubt national governments care much about the causes…”. Who said that the Somali migrant group was bad? Where is the evidence for this? The fact that he chose to pick on Somali’s alone says a lot.

As a society, it goes without saying that we completely disagree with the comments made by the lecturer, and absolutely does not represent the views of the institution. Academics must understand that they are utterly responsible to whatever they post on their social media channels just as they are for the words they say in a classroom, and such reckless tweeting, clearly made by this lecturer is a prime example that some may be unaware, or indeed neglect their duties of responsibility when expressing one’s views. Additionally, the Somali community at King’s now feel even more vulnerable to violence whether that may be physical or verbal, escalating the fear they already feel by recent events, especially with the rise of Islamophobia and xenophobia that has risen in the UK since Brexit, and now in the US by the inauguration of Trump.

At this crucial time, we must support ALL communities which are now subject to intense scrutiny and discrimination due to the actions of certain individuals with power, and would appreciate that ALL lecturers understood that whatever their comments, they will be held responsible for their remarks given their position of authority and trust. At the Intersectional Feminist Society, we demand that Dr Adam Perkins immediately apologises sincerely to the Somali community at King’s for which he has caused immense distress, and that he apologises for his offensive remarks about Somali’s without consulting solid evidence. We as IFemSoc extend our full support and solidarity to the Somali community at KCL and beyond with the distress caused by recent events.

With solidarity,

KCL Intersectional Feminist Society

 

*Article written by current BME Officer for IFemSoc*

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