British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says he “respects” the Black Lives Matter movement, having previously said that “taking the knee” is more like a symbol of submission than liberation.
“I fully respect the Black Black Matter movement and the problems that drive them,” Raab said on Twitter.
“If people want to kneel, it’s their choice and I respect that. We all need to come together to fight any discrimination and social injustice.”
Raab told Britain’s TalkRadio radio station on Thursday that the “knee-jerk” appeared to come from the television series Game of Thrones.
The gesture is associated with the Black Lives Matter movement and the American football player Colin Kaepernick, Kaepernick knelt during the U.S. national anthem before the 2016 NFL Games, in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.
Protesters around the world “took a knee” in demonstrations against racism and police brutality, sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Raab reacted to a decision by Premier League players and match officials to kneel ahead of Wednesday night’s match marking a return to the football season.
“I understand this feeling of frustration and unrest that drives the Black Lives Matter movement,” Raab told TalkRadio.
I have to say on how to take the knee thing – I don’t know maybe it has a wider history, but it seems to be taken from ‘Game of Thrones’ – it seems to me as a symbol of submission and subordination rather than liberation and emancipation. I understand that people feel differently because of it. “
Raab added that he would only get a knee for two people: “Queen and Miss when I asked her to marry me.”
Opposition MP David Lammy sharply criticized Raab’s initial comments.
“This is not just an insult to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is deeply shameful for Dominic Raab,” Lammy wrote on Twitter.
“He should be the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.”