A great believer in our future

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:31 10 June 2010

I am writing regarding the controversy raised by remarks of a supposed racial nature, uttered by various public figures. I am mixed-race of Asian appearance and have heard much worse said in every day colloquial speech in bars, restaurants and most public

I am writing regarding the controversy raised by remarks of a supposed racial nature, uttered by various public figures.I am mixed-race of Asian appearance and have heard much worse said in every day colloquial speech in bars, restaurants and most public places and have, consequently, endured much hurt, suffering and humiliation - which has resulted in major psychological and mental distress to me.Obnoxious terms such as these are still very common and are prevalent everywhere, although, as you know, are unlawful.When I was a child growing up in inner London (the only black child in the school at that time, this being the late 1950s), I had various nicknames. These names, which were based on my surname and not colour, varied from the relatively harmless "Woolley" to "Wogie" and, ultimately, "Wog", which is particularly offensive. However, the perpetrators of this name calling were the children of my peer group who were oblivious of the implications of the words they were using; nor did I, in my innocence, also grasp what was being said.Only when a master heard me being called "Wog" in the school playground was there a reaction and my fellow pupils were duly admonished. These children, for that is what they were, then apologised profusely to me and I never heard words such as these directed to me ever again. They realised they had made a mistake, albeit unwittingly, and felt extremely sorry for any hurt they might have caused their school 'chum'. To be honest, I was not aware of the connotations of the language being used, until the teacher pointed it out.Institutional racism undoubtedly exists and it would be foolish to pretend it did not. However, with the examples set by such great statesmen as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama among others, progress is being made towards the emancipation of the non-white.The ballot box has been the chosen policy of these great men and says much for their integrity and honour.I am an eternal optimist and see no reason why out of date concepts of colonialisation, and its racist counter-parts, might not be settled in a manner of peaceful and understanding reconciliation.I am a great believer in the future of the human race.P A David Woolger,Exmouth.

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