Right of Reply: Andrew Pakes
The President of the National Union of Students responds to Ken Livingstone's accusation that they are backtracking on racism
Tuesday 01 September 1998
I wholeheartedly agree with Ken's assertion that political correctness is a reactionary American import used by the right as a rallying call for all those opposed to the advances made in recent years by women, black and Asian communities, people with disabilities and lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
However, our Ken, does "his" cause no good when he attacks the National Union of Students for its role in combating the threat of Islamic extremists on campus, Has Ken constructed a league table of those who face prejudice and discrimination and prioritised which offenders most deserve our contempt and attention?
NUS has never claimed the small but dangerous groups of Islamic extremists are the main cause of racism, but they are a distinct and real threat to the welfare and safety of many students. As a gay male, I myself, have been subjected to some of their bile and hatred.
Racism is a series of diverse and often complex prejudices between and within different groups in "multi-cultural" Britain. This year's NUS Conference took an overwhelming vote to establish a Black Students Officer, while in July, Neville Lawrence addressed our annual Student Convention.
The student movement remains committed to fighting racism in all its forms, and I am not alone in finding Ken's belief - that challenging Islamic extremism on campus is not really fighting racism - quite bizarre.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
JK Rowling announces Harry Potter's son is starting at Hogwarts
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
Akram Khan: Choreographer says dance is 'as important as maths and being a doctor'
Common words you're probably misusing: From 'enormity' to 'ultimately', 'gambit' to 'fortuitous'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up