Jordan Peterson's Rant On Racism Dubbed 'Most Bizarre Exchange Ever Seen' On Question Time

The controversial Canadian psychologist even put air quotes around the word "racism".
Jordan Peterson left people rather bewildered after he waded into the racism in cricket row
Jordan Peterson left people rather bewildered after he waded into the racism in cricket row
@BBCquestiontime Twitter

Dr Jordan Peterson waded into the ongoing row around institutional racism within British cricket during BBC Question Time on Thursday – and no-one was impressed by his response.

Whistleblower Azeem Rafiq used to play for Yorkshire County Cricket Club. He has now gone public with the extensive racism he experienced while playing the sport and raised questions about institutional discrimination.

Touching on these revelations, the controversial Canadian psychologist said: “This cricket player was experiencing racism, by his own account.

“The question is: Who, when, what, exactly – because otherwise it degenerates into something like a discussion of structural racism.

“And when it becomes obstructed up to that level, it pits group against group which I think is entirely counterproductive.

“That actually doesn’t address the issue.”

Gesturing air quotes with his hands when he says “racism”, Peterson went on to describe it as a “global and vague term”.

SNP MP Stephen Flynn interrupted and asked: “Sorry, why would you possibly do that, what does that mean?

“The [use of] inverted commas as if it’s not a real thing.”

″No that isn’t what it meant. It meant it’s indicative of low-resolution thinking,” Peterson claimed.

An awkward silence followed, before Peterson continued: “What I mean by that is we use all these terms frequently in discussions like this which are containers of undifferentiated content.”

Labour MP Stella Creasy then interjected: “He [Rafiq] was repeatedly called abusive terms directly linked to his ethnicity.”

“By who?”

“By not just one, but repeated members of the cricket club.

“If it walks like a duck, Jordan, and talks like a duck, it’s a duck – it’s racism.”

Peterson then appeared to backtrack, and said: “I’m not denying his experience, what I’m asking is who and when and you just answered that.

“So I would say those specific people should be held specifically to account to their actions, before any movement up the abstraction hierarchy to something like discussion of structural racism, which I don’t think is helpful.”

Question Time host Fiona Bruce then waded in and noted Rafiq has been talking specifically about his experience.

Peterson carried on: “It doesn’t address the issue – that does not mean “racism” [in air quotes] does not exist, that is not what I’m saying in the least.”

“Maybe let’s do less of the hand movements and look at the evidence,” Creasy added.

Peterson replied: “Well, I did it once, so yeah.”

Peterson is known for his rightwing views and stoking culture wars, but it seemed this discussion on Question Time surprised even those familiar with his work.

One Twitter account said: “This is without a doubt one of the most bizarre exchanges I have ever witnessed on #bbcqt – and let’s face it, most weeks contain a bin fire.”

Before You Go