LETTER : The art of telling a good racial joke

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From Mr Tom Kilcourse

Sir: As a Mancunian, I can tell you that Bernard Manning is doing no more than many other comedians ("Bernard Manning: racist, sexist and offensive ... don't you just love him?", 28 April) - "Big Yin" for instance - in promoting the street humour of his region to the professional stage.

It is no accident that those same streets of East Manchester; of Newton Heath, Moston, Miles Platting and so on, have produced more than their fair share of professional comics. One, Les Dawson, was lauded throughout middle England, despite his Mickey taking of middle-aged women. Of course, among those who borrowed their consciences from campus America, sending up old ladies is less offensive than having a prod at blacks.

We are supposed to live in a multi-cultural society. Very well. Those white males who find Manning so funny belong to a well-established culture, one which in my life time has produced heroes as well as villains. Its members have tolerated the cynicism of those elected to represent them, of those who grew rich on their labour - only to export the capital generated, and of those self-sensitive souls who deride their "coarseness". They have borne all this with good humour. Let us pray that they never stop laughing.

Yours faithfully,

TOM KILCOURSE

Colyton,

East Devon

28 April

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