Letter: When racism is not the relevant issue

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The Independent Online
Sir: Kenan Malik ('Start to stereotype in 9.87sec', 17 August) is as guilty as the society he starts to criticise. When will we be able to see a black athlete or sportsman reach the pinnacle of his sport, watch him celebrate his achievement, fly the Union Jack with pride, sing the National Anthem and accept that we are watching a British citizen win and be done with it?

I watched with excitement and pride Linford Christie's achievement in a sport previously dominated by the US, and celebrated the win that it was. I watched the lap of honour and hoped at the time that British society was mature enough not to write patronising articles on how good it was to see a black Briton succeeding in his chosen field.

It took Kenan Malik a day to come up with the predictable and analyse racism in Britain once again. While racism is certainly a force to be dealt with, by making it a topical subject every time a black person succeeds only raises colour as an issue that was not previously in anybody's mind. When racism occurs, pin it down and kill it; but when the best advert for a mixed-race nation becomes a national hero, leave it well alone.

Yours faithfully,

JAMES HASSLACHER

London, SW15

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