The lecturer who clashed with Laurence Fox on Question Time calling him a “white privileged male” has said her life has transformed five weeks on from the explosive row.
Rachel C Boyle rowed with the actor over racism in Britain, in a clip which ended up going viral.
Speaking at an event around racism in Britain since ‘Megxit’, Boyle said: “The last month of my life has been transformative.
“I have had to grow a pair. I had them but I have had to exercise them.”
Thank you to @BirkbeckUoL for having me this evening and thank you to my excellent colleagues @willackah @AnthonyGReddie Gabriella Beckles- Raymond and Lurraine Jones for both the discussion and the inspiration 🙏🏽🖤 pic.twitter.com/NfmXQvCF1L— Rachel C. Boyle (@RachelCBoyle1) February 20, 2020
Boyle, who works as a teacher educator in Edge Hill University, said she had changed the focus of her work since the interaction with Fox.
She explained that her interactions with people since the incident fell into three categories. While some were clearly uncomfortable talking to her about what happened, others ignored it and tried to act as though they had not heard the exchange.
But she said it was those who launched into attack or defence that was the most significant.
“Racism is endemic, it is embedded in everyday society and it is in micro aggressions. This incident has turned micro aggressions into bigger events.
“The moment I said ‘white privilege’ Mr Fox threw himself on the table and we see denial, defence and what I would categorise as delusion.
“White people have no idea as to the privilege their whiteness affords them,” she told the audience at University of London.
Boyle also addressed the controversial meeting after the show aired between Fox and Bonnie Greer. The playwright was criticised after Fox shared a picture on Twitter where she had her arm draped around him.
Boyle said: “I hope the intention of Bonnie Greer meeting Laurence Fox was genuine but the photo obliterated it. I feel the way it was executed was totally inappropriate.
“At no point did she reach out to me to do the same.”
Greer defended herself after the meeting saying: “I like people who are different from me. Since I was a little kid. I still do. Why I moved ‘abroad’.
“So sad to see so many people in their little bunkers, in their teeny little helmets, sniping at the world outside. I’m surprised that there are so many of them...”
Boyle said Meghan Markle joining the royal family had been a “pivotal moment” for her.
She added: “Meghan is one of the ways I see myself in society. [It was a] pivotal moment because anyone else who looked like us either sang songs or kicked footballs.”
But she said there was a “perfect storm” brewing, created by Brexit and worsened by social media and media rhetoric.
Comparing a sign from a hotel in the 1960s which read ‘No Irish, no blacks, no dogs’ with the perception of Britain as a multi-racial country now, she said: “The changing face of racism now is more worrying than it has ever been.
“My dad says in 1965 you knew where you were. Now we are living in a grey area. I have been told to go back to where I came from. I have been called names.
“The prime minister of this country describes watermelon smiles and women as letterboxes, and we have had the Windrush scandal.”
Boyle and Fox argued on BBC Question Time in January after Fox claimed Britain was “most tolerant, lovely country in Europe” and denied that poor treatment of the Duchess of Sussex amounted to racism.