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The Backlash Against Britain's First Black Female Bishop

In the autumn, Rose Hudson-Wilkin will take up her post as Bishop of Dover, the first black female bishop in the Church of England. History will be made, but it seems the knives are already out, with an attack in the right-wing media even before Hudson-Wilkin has begun her work.

“Some members are clutching their heads in despair at what they see as Justin Welby’s predictably flashy appointment. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of sighing going on, writes white journalist Yseda Maxtone Graham in The Spectator.

Graham appears to have a particular beef with women in the ministry, but here she takes her disapproval to a new level. She questions Wilkin’s ability to do her job, implying her appointment is purely political – that the Archbishop of Canterbury simply wants to be seen to be doing the right thing. Even Hudson-Wilkin’s choice of accessory comes under attack.

Hudson-Wilkin is currently serving as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, yet Graham questions whether Wilkin will be able to tough it out in East Kent where the population is “89 per cent white British”, she writes without a hint of irony. Graham doesn’t seem to realise that Church of England congregations are not the most diverse…

Finally, Graham ends with: “Let’s just hope she puts the job – the ordinary mundane job – of being Bishop of Dover above any political agenda.”

The implication is clear: the colour of Wilkin’s somehow dictates that she will always pursue a “political agenda”.