Ashley Rindsberg has written a piece for UnHerd about the Guardian’s unfortunate links to the slave trade, and the obvious problems this presents for our nation’s most august bastion of wokeness. Here’s an excerpt:
The Guardian prides itself on being one of the most Left-leaning and anti-racist news outlets in the English-speaking world. So imagine its embarrassment when, last month, a number of black podcast producers researching the paper’s historic ties to slavery abruptly resigned, alleging they had been victims of “institutional racism”, “editorial whiteness”, “microaggressions, colourism, bullying, passive-aggressive and obstructive management styles”. All of this might smack of progressive excess, but, in reality, it merely reflects an institution incuriously at odds with itself.
Questions about The Guardian’s ties to slavery have been circulating since 2020, when, amid the media’s collective spasm of racial conscience following the murder of George Floyd, the Scott Trust announced it would launch an investigation into its history. “We in the U.K. need to begin a national debate on reparations for slavery, a crime which heralded the age of capitalism and provided the basis for racism that continues to endanger black life globally,” journalist Amandla Thomas-Johnson wrote in a June 2020 Guardian opinion piece about the toppling of a statue of 17th-century British slaver Edward Colston. A month later, the Scott Trust committed to determining whether the founder of the paper, John Edward Taylor, had profited from slavery. “We have seen no evidence that Taylor was a slave owner, nor involved in any direct way in the slave trade,” the chairman of the Scott Trust, Alex Graham, told Guardian staff by email at the time. “But were such evidence to exist, we would want to be open about it.” (Notably, Graham, in using the terms “slave owner” and “direct way,” set a very specific and very high bar for what would be considered information worthy of disclosure.)