SIR – As the Director of Public Prosecutions joins the confessional queue, your leading article of July 27 (leader, Jul 27) rightly describes racism as “the new original sin, to which everyone has to confess”. It is high time that we left the race-relations bandwagon and got back to dealing with basic truths.
Mankind is a tribal species. We cluster by myriad classifications, be they geography, race, religion, skin colour, class or even football team. When we feel that our tribe is threatened, we react to defend it by attacking the threat. By current definition, we are all racist to some degree.
Legislation to combat this process, where it involves “positive discrimination”, reclassifying the seriousness of various criminal offences and forming overt minority interest groups and employment quotas, are all part of the problem, not of the solution.
While equality is the duty of the host country, respect for its customs and way of life are the duty of the immigrant. Making no effort to learn the host language, demanding representation by “community leaders” outside the democratic process, and seeking to change the host culture to that which they have chosen to leave are inevitably perceived as provocative by the native, majority tribe. We don’t have “Asian communities” or “Caribbean communities”; we have a British community of, over the centuries, countless origins.
No amount of legislation or trendy sociological theory will change the nature of our species. Until we recognise this, we will never achieve racial harmony.