Readers have come out in defense of Lady Susan Hussey after her questions to Ngozi Fulani about where she is ‘really’ from sparked another series of races at Buckingham Palace.
Curiosity about where someone comes from does not necessarily equate to racism, they argue.
But many of them add that it is the intent and tone of the question that determines whether it is malicious.
Read on to see what readers think of this edition, among other things.
“Wouldn’t it have been better to emphasize ignorance?”
■ I write about Palace Race Row, Pimlico Plumbing founder Charlie Mullins making a joke about Indians and corner shops, and Nigel Farage’s “race-rant” about the white minority in London and Birmingham (Metro, Thurs ).
I wonder if we’ve gone too far in our criticism in the name of political correctness? Yes, black British charity boss Ngozi Fulani must have felt awkward when the royal aide repeatedly asked Lady Susan Hussey where she was “really” from, but wouldn’t it have been better to turn the tables on Lady Hussey and highlight her ignorance?
And why can’t we just laugh at Mullin’s punchline? I thought Sajid Javids ‘so what?’ The response to Farage was apt, but he is correct that there are parts of London where white English people are a minority. Is it racist to say that?
I am of South Asian descent but do not believe these are racist remarks. I was born and raised in Africa where real racism was rampant not only when these countries were colonies but also after independence where Asians were discriminated against. In comparison, the UK has offered ample opportunities for people to develop from their merits. NT, harrow
“Curious about culture is not racism, it is intention that counts”
■ As a Briton who has lived in two African countries for a number of years, I am interested in knowing their lineage when meeting someone of African heritage. Sometimes it is evident from their name, such as B. Kwasi Kwarteng (Akwasi is the name given to a Ghanaian boy born on Sunday). So Lady Susan Hussey’s request was reasonable, but unfortunately it struck the wrong tone. Cuthbert, Essex
■ Merry (MetroTalk, Fri) accused Ngozi Fulani of turning the Lady Susan Hussey incident “into a racial issue” after being asked where she was “really” from. Not correct. Lady Hussey made it a racial issue by refusing to accept that Fulani cannot be British or from Great Britain because of the color of their skin. Ed, Portsmouth
■ I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked where I’m from. The questions come from a genuine interest and desire to learn. I understand that because I have also experienced intolerable racism.
If the question is asked from a place of hate, it is surely racism. If the person is curious, it’s not. Lady Hussey asked a tactless question in an insensitive, inarticulate, and insistent manner. Is that racism?
And Meghan Markle’s ‘big reveal’ to Oprah Winfrey regarding questions about her baby Archie’s skin color – doesn’t every parent and grandparent wonder about a baby’s characteristics? Sometimes a question is just a question. Paul,London
“Big Wolves Pounced on an Easy Target”
■ I am black British and was born in Great Britain in 1963. My parents were both born in Nigeria. My husband is white British and we have four mixed race children (aged 15 to 32).
Lady Hussey certainly did not mean to be racist. She is an older lady trying to be kind and study. Ms. Fulani missed a valuable opportunity to speak proudly of her heritage.
I’m British and Black but proud to talk about and learn more about my Black culture. We need to teach our children to be proud of their heritage and educate others instead of hiding behind the ‘Black Brit’. Elizabeth Young (née Solanke), retired entrepreneur and teacher
■ When I talk to people with a foreign accent, I’m interested in where they’re from, so I ask. How can it be offensive to ask such a question out of interest? The mean wolves have pounced on an easy target. It’s terrible. Nick, Edinburgh
■ I’m a “person of color” and most people ask me where I’m from. To which I reply: ‘Born and raised in South London, but my family is from India.’ And yes, I’m proud of where my family comes from and of course a conversation starts. So I can’t understand why asking a person where they are from would be considered “racist”.
I see people who don’t want to talk to each other. Let’s see sense. Yes, people will disagree, but guess what, I’m Anglo-Indian and proud of it – ask me anything about my origins! Rob, via email
■ I am a British male of Indian descent. I get asked this question all the time. I proudly say that I am of Indian descent. Sometimes these questions are asked to find common ground for conversation – an icebreaker. Jagdish Patel
■ I am black, not a royalist. Have people become so concerned with the racism remark that they don’t know when a person is curious or overly curious? Growing up, I would never ask another black woman these questions as she would refuse to answer or say, “Aren’t you curious!” Jens, via email
“The Beatles broke up and rock ‘n’ roll got boring until Dr. Feelgood showed up”
■ I was dismayed to see Wilko Johnson’s guitar style dismissed (MetroTalk, Thu). When I first started playing guitar, he was an inspiration at a time when everything else in music had become a suffocating tedium. After the Beatles broke up, the charts had become a parody of “rock ‘n’ roll.” Then there was the navel-gazing “virtuosity” of so-called progressive rock.
dr Feelgood’s sheer dynamics and especially Wilko’s guitar playing reminded us that all was not lost. My own style owes much to Johnson to this day. Stuart Grist, via email
“Don’t let politicians arm private schools to divide us”
■ Christopher Clayton (MetroTalk, Thu) pokes fun at the Conservatives for worrying that ‘their £46,000 a year dues to Eton might not be exempt from VAT under Labor because it claims to be a charity be”. Where should I start? He doesn’t understand how many parents sacrifice, save and work all the time to give their children a good education. Maybe he lives in an expensive area and doesn’t know that sometimes government services don’t exist, especially if your child has special needs.
Private schools do excellent work on tight budgets, supporting thousands of families and communities across the UK and fully deserving of their charitable status. Not all of them are Eton. Please don’t let politicians use our children’s education as a weapon to divide us. Imani, not in the homelands
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