Charlene White Dismisses Critics Accusing Her Of ‘Playing The Race Card’ During Ukraine Discussion

"You feeling uncomfortable hearing someone talking about race is not my concern."

Loose Women presenter Charlene White has responded to critics who accused her of “playing the race card” following a discussion about the crisis in Ukraine on Tuesday’s show.

During the conversation, Charlene highlighted reports that Black students have suffered racism at the Polish border, after videos were shared on social media showing tense confrontations between border guards and crowds of predominantly Black people.

Discussing the distressing scenes with panellists Janet Street Porter, Coleen Nolan and Katie Piper, Charlene said it was a “very clear reflection of what it is the world is dealing with.”

Charlene White
Charlene White
Ken McKayKen McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

“There is one thing that has really shone a light on where I’m concerned and has really stuck out to me: in the midst of all of this, in the midst of people trying to flee from their homes, and in the midst of them trying to dodge bullets and bombs and bombardment, they still have time for racism,” Charlene said.

“Because you’ve got thousands of Black, Asian, Syrian, Arab students and workers who have been also trying to get out of Ukraine and have been prevented from doing so due to the incessant racism they have experienced - they’ve not been allowed to go through borders.”

She continued: “My heart really does go out to the Ukrainian people and those in the bordering countries doing all they can to try and help them, but [they] will not help anybody whose skin is darker.

“I think that’s a very clear reflection of what it is the world is dealing with – and this isn’t just in Ukraine, this happens in wars the world over, especially when it comes to migrant workers.”

Fellow panellist Janet Street Porter interjected, arguing that Poland had accepted “150,000 refugees”.

“I hear what you’re saying and I completely understand it,” Janet said. “On the news last night they did show some of the students talking about how badly they had been treated and the effort that it had taken for them to actually get on the train and cross the border. But I also think that Poland for example has exceeded all expectations in accepting 150,000 refugees.”

Holding her head in her hands, Charlene replied: “Oh goodness me, I understand that, but if you have thousands of refugees you can’t stand there and say ‘Oh you 50 people come in, you four people with darker skin… sorry’.”

Following the show, Charlene took to Twitter to address those who had taken issue with what she had said on the show.

She tweeted: “For those throwing the phrase, ‘playing the race card’ at me today re @loosewomen... let me be VERY clear. You feeling uncomfortable hearing someone talking about race is not my concern, when the concern ought to be directed towards the victims who are subjected to it.”

Following her tweet, Charlene was applauded for calling out racism at the Ukraine border and shining a light on the issue on the daytime show.

Loose Women airs every weekday at 12.30pm on ITV.

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