‘Sadly, racists are still dreaming of a white Christmas’

‘Sadly, racists are still dreaming of a white Christmas’

It’s 2020, we’re in the midst of a global health crisis and in danger of a no-deal Brexit, and ­Sainsbury’s is having to defend itself from angry members of the public.

Not because people have found things in their food that shouldn’t be there, or because, heaven forbid, it’s run out of toilet paper.

No – the supermarket has been forced to defend itself for having a Christmas advert that features a British family. Let me be more specific.

A Christmas advert that features a British family who happen to be black.

After the ad, one of three for it’s Christmas campaign, came out at the weekend, the racists came out in force.

There were countless threats to boycott the supermarket. Others moaned about not being able to “relate” to the advert which showed a family talking about Dad’s gravy and his “famous” gravy song.

However, they seem to have no problem relating to a family of carrots in the Aldi ad. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Yet more complained about the worrying and outrageous new “trend” of featuring non-white people on TV ads.

Remember about a year ago when Stormzy was asked if the UK was still racist? He said “definitely 100%” and received a ton of abuse. Doesn’t the response to this ad prove he was on to something?

The whole thing is frankly exhausting, and for the most part I try to tune it out.

Far from being the tolerant and welcoming country we’re always told Britain is, the reaction to the #sainsburysadvert continues to expose the deep-seated problem a lot of people have with people who are a different colour to them.

A problem exposed by Brexit and exploited by ­populist leaders who have weaponised race to gain power.

It doesn’t matter if I or my sons were born and raised here – to some we’ll always be considered foreign.

Some insist institutional and structural racism doesn’t exist. But the fact is racists live and work among us, some in positions of authority – in schools, the health service, the police, politics – and that’s ­a terrifying thought.

Which is exactly why the Sainsbury’s ad is so important. It’s not enough to quietly oppose racism – companies, organisations and institutions have to go out of their way to denounce it. And it’s been heartening to see the number of people speaking out against the racists.

I’m not hopeful things will change any time soon, but at least it’s a start.