Thursday, 13 February 2014

all issues should be up for debate: letter to Cambridge News

Letter to Cambridge News, published on Friday 13 2014. The names of the people I'm responding to have been changed.

I AM writing in regard of the letter from Jane Smith, Jean Smith and Joan Smith ('Negative power of persuasion', News, February 1, 2014). The education and health sectors are major topics of interest in any election, and should neither be demonised nor protected by taboo that prevents discussion of faults.

What I am most anxious to say, however, is that it is not 'racist' to voice concerns about mass immigration or violent religious extremism. The very vocabulary of race is sinister and outdated, and harks back to a time when differences between groups of people were attributed not to culture but to inherited factors. I believe this vocabulary, designed to turn off the critical faculties and elicit a more primal, uglier response from the target audience, will be employed more and more as the European and general elections draw closer.

People who use words like 'racist' and the like reveal more about themselves than they realise: when they think democracy might return a result they don't approve of, they're just not that into it.

Gerry Dorrian

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