Letter: Lawrence tragedy

Sir: I write to express my dismay at your headline "Streets where race hatred us the norm" (25 February). It neither reflects the tone of the article it introduces nor does it do justice to a very ordinary area. The people I meet are upset by Stephen Lawrence's wicked murder, daunted by the sustained media interest and deeply puzzled by suggestions that we are unusually racist in ways we never suspected.

During 12 years' ministry here I have been privileged to see another side - the decency and kindness that people get from their neighbours in times of crisis. Like the rest of the population we have many faults, but we are not quite the people your headline encourages others to think.

The Rev JOHN THEWLIS

St Luke's Vicarage

Eltham, London SE9

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