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The BBC sniffs out racism in 1350 England: Black women more likely to die of the plague than anyone else is #fakehistory and here's why

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 21 November 2023

This is laughable. The conclusion of a report out today on deaths during the great plague of 1348-50, aka the Black Death, in London is that  “higher death rates amongst people of colour and those of black African descent was a result of the “devastating effects” of “premodern structural racism” in the medieval world. Natch the BBC is delighted by this study from the Museum of London. But does the data actually support such a claim? What do you think?

This study actually came out in 2021 as you can see HERE. But the BBC has resurrected it to show what evil racists the English always have been. Even my Mrs, a person of colour always keen to talk about the sins of dead, white, males, especially those in my family, is laughing at this nonsense. If you look at the hard data from that study you will see that the numbers involved are not that large. Bear in mind that 100,000 Londoners, up to 50% of the population died in the Black Death. So, the Museum states:

A total of 634 individuals form the site archive, and previous studies of some of these individuals, had found that many had travelled to London from elsewhere in Britain, a result also supported by a larger aDNA study looking at mitochondrial DNA (a piece of genetic code passed from mother to child). As historical and archaeological research has shown that in Medieval England, many people of African descent and mixed heritage had families who had been in England since the 11th century, we realised that the earlier studies might not ‘see’ them. Therefore, we used a forensic anthropology method called macromorphoscopics, which helped us to establish a person’s ancestry by looking at the shape of their facial bones and other features of their skull. Using data from all over the world, we were able to see which geographical populations the people from East Smithfield were most similar to.

Using this method we studied the remains of 41 individuals, 19 of whom were female. For our total sample, 30% of the population was not of White descent. Focusing on the female evidence, four females were likely to be of mixed heritage, and three were of African descent.”


So by studying the remains of 7 black or mixed race women from the 100,000 folks who died, the Museum can conclude that this was all down to racism. Truly, does nobody understand the idea of statistical significance?

The original Museum study concludes, for what it is worth:

When we looked at how the skeletons were buried at East Smithfield, we found that none of the plague victims with Black African or mixed heritage had been maltreated as you might expect to see in a population group that might have suffered from discrimination. We could see that their bodies were placed in the graves with care and respect.”

But in the course of two years that has been forgotten, the wholly insignificant, from a statistics point of view, numbers involved are ignored and the BBC can celebrate sniffing out yet more “evidence” of how racist Britain has always been and can ensure that our kids have this message drummed into them during Black History Month. 

On a daily basis, whether covering the imagined sins of Israel in a fact free basis, insisting that crowds art women’s soccer are massive or in pushing out rubbish likle this the BBC has gone from being a National Institution to being a National Laughing stock.  


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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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