Letters In Brief

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The Independent Culture
Sir: David Aaronovitch (Comment, 2 March) omits one very important attribute of British racial prejudice: condescension. The British do not hate foreigners; they feel sorry for them, for not being British. Being neither black nor Jewish, I have not experienced the most rabid form of prejudice. In most cases I am looked upon with puzzled amusement and surprise that there are indeed Italians who are not in the catering or ice-cream business!

SERGIO VIGGIANI

London SW2

Sir: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, giving sound reason, claims "Every mixed race marriage is building a better Britain" (Comment, 4 March) while Alex Woolf (letter, same date) comments on the inability of journalists to "distinguish between `race' and `ethnicity' ". My father is of an Asian and my mother of a European ethnicity. I prefer "mixed race" to "half- caste", but consider "compound ethnicity" more appropriate and accurate. The components of a mixture undergo no chemical change, whereas chemical bonds are involved in the formation of a compound. If I am a mixture, who determines which parts are from which parent? Is my leg from Punjab and my arm from Norfolk?

DAVID DEAN

Leigh, Lancashire

Sir: Deborah Orr (Comment, 5 March) states lung cancer kills around 120,000 people each year and then goes on to write: "If we can't work out how to turn people off from cigarettes, then we're not going to stamp out other and more serious drug abuses either." What are these more serious drug abuses? Does any other drug cause such a seriously high mortality rate? Perhaps she really means less socially acceptable drug abuses.

DAVE HASTINGS

London N22

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