Race special: Racism in Britain 2007
The subject of race is in the headlines again, but really it has dominated the social and political agenda for centuries. To start 20 pages of coverage, William Leith asks the question we all fear: 'Am I a racist?'
Published: 25 February 2007
I'm about to take a racism test, and it's making me uncomfortable. Why? I'm not a racist. For the record, I am an anti-racist. If you asked me, I would say that, while the races may look different, they are equal. I would say that racism, the theory that one race is superior to another, is fallacious. Also, it does nothing but harm. It harms the victim, and it also harms the perpetrator. There is no sense in it. It is, quite literally, nonsense.
Oh, I know about racism. I know that, in both senses of the word, it's wrong. Wrong morally, and wrong factually. I don't know anybody who doesn't know this. And yet, as an idea, it persists. Something, somewhere, gives it power. And this is what's making me uncomfortable. Racism gets its power from some mysterious place, and that place, somewhere in the shadows of our culture, our collective memory, scares me.
I have an idea where that place is, but I don't want to go there. (read entire article)