Free speech needed to discuss racism
Dear Sir, — In discussing racism, it is important to realise that we all feel uncomfortable when faced with people who we don’t know, understand or are different from.
Think how long it takes some to assimilate into and be accepted by a different society, whether that is a village, country or ideology.
It is part of the human condition that we prefer people like us; those who deny this are deluding themselves, a far greater danger.
We should at some level respect those who speak out, if it is genuine, whatever the content of their words and however much it causes offence as long as it does not condone violence or intimidation.
Fortunately, we live in a society that values free speech, though that does not hinder some from responding vigorously and using whatever tools are at hand to reinforce that response.
It is said that actions speak louder than words and, although words can appear to lead to actions, we are all ultimately responsible for our actions, independent of what we might think caused them. — Yours faithfully,
(DR) PETER HIRST