David Lammy: I have to work harder because I’m black

David Lammy, MP
David Lammy, MP
David Lammy spoke to pupils about racism
David Lammy spoke to pupils at BSix College about the challenges he faces

MP David Lammy told a group of students at a Hackney college that he had to work up to ten times harder than his fellow MPs because of the colour of his skin.

Speaking to pupils of BSix College on Friday as part of their Black History Month program, the Labour MP for Tottenham said: “I have had to work 5 times or even 10 times harder to get where I am. I’m afraid you do have to work harder.”

During his speech Lammy focused on the discrimination that he had faced throughout his life and emphasised the importance of education.

“[Black people] share a deep, deep wound but they also share the experience of overcoming that discrimination,” he said.

When asked for his opinion on the decision of a school in Croydon to ban certain slang words, Lammy said pointing out the difference between “innit” and “isn’t it” would not help people find work.

“Ultimately this [Black History Month] is for the purpose of employment,” he said.

He also revealed that in his youth he had spent hours in front of a mirror honing his own voice in order to be able to speak in a manner more suited to his to desired job as a lawyer.

Lammy was a barrister before he became involved in politics. Born to Guyanese parents in Tottenham and raised primarily by his mother, he went on to study law at SOAS and Harvard, becoming a qualified lawyer and member of Lincoln’s Inn.