Barrister draws criticism on Twitter over claims white people can identify as black

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By Legal Cheek on

That escalated quickly

Allan Briddock

An immigration barrister at One Pump Court received a dressing down from Twitter users this week after appearing to suggest that white people can identify as black.

The bizarre Twitter spat kicked off when London-based barrister Allan Briddock responded to a tweet linking to an article concerning Rachel Dolezal, a white civil rights activist who posed as an African American woman. The user who tweeted the article asked why it was deemed acceptable for a man to identify as a woman but wrong for a white person to identify as black.

Responding to the tweet, Briddock argued that self-identification was “quite common” and that an individual has the right to identify as black or white.

Sarah Phillimore, a family law specialist at St John’s Chambers, didn’t agree:

When pushed as to whether anyone could identify as anything, the One Pump Court barrister claimed self-identification applied in cases concerning “gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion [and] disability”.

Briddock’s tweets — which were first spotted by RollOnFriday — triggered a flurry of responses ranging from the amused to the outraged:

Responding to Rainbow Ninja’s tweet, Briddock stressed that “disability is not always visible” and it is “not up to someone else to decide if you or me or anyone else is disabled.”

With the dust now settled, Briddock told us: “I involved myself in the thread on the basis of my work concerning transgender equality and the problem at the moment of denying trans people’s identities. There is a huge amount of abuse, particularly online, of the trans community and the tweet I originally replied to seemed to be suggesting being trans is a choice.” He continued:

“My view is that we should respect people’s identities, not, as has been said, that people can simply ‘choose’.”

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