LETTER : Two-edged case on racism and madness

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Sir: Peter Victor's argument ("Driven mad by racial abuse?", 11 December) that racial pressures are behind a lot of mental illness in the Afro-Caribbean community in Britain is a worryingly double-edged one. He implies that inside every badly treated black person is a potential Horrett Campbell, a walking time bomb set to explode in a schoolyard near you.

"I guessed he would be black," writes Mr Victor, before he knew Horrett Campbell's identity. However, Campbell's heroes - the mass murderers Thomas Hamilton and Martin Bryant - were white. Rage, alienation and a sense of injustice - however misplaced - are not confined to racial minorities.

If a disproportionate number of black people are "sectioned" and subjected to harsher than normal drug regimes, that is very serious cause for concern. Mr Victor is not helping the case by suggesting that whites don't care, or - even worse - that for blacks, violence may be a perversely logical reaction to perceived or actual discrimination.

HOWARD GRAY

Malmesbury, Wiltshire

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