Letter: Racism of the middle classes

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The Independent Online
I am writing to question the extraordinary prominence given to the attempt by a single woman entrusted with a child's education to adopt him against the wishes of his parents ("Zulu boy in custody dispute is flown home", 5 May). Similar cases with the same predictable result must be heard in British courts with depressing regularity. Surely the only explanation for the prominence given to this story by your paper and others is its irresistible racial overtones which always make good news in this country. Your article raises a number of interesting questions:

1. Why do you describe the boy as "Zulu" instead of "South African"? Is it the romantic colonial idea of a tribal boy with a white woman which appeals to your readers?

2. Why do you name the boy's white foster mother seven times and fail to name either of his parents?

3. Why do you mention that English is his first language? Isn't English one of the national languages of South Africa? Didn't you hear the boy's father speaking perfect English on the national weekend television news?

Underlying the reporting of this case has been the assumption that this boy is better off in London with a single white woman and the prospect of a public school education than he is in his own country with his parents and siblings. Yet it is common knowledge that 30 per cent of young black men in London are denied the dignity of a job. The coverage of this story typifies the inherent middle-class racism in this country which mouths equality while quietly ensuring that talented black people do not obtain the opportunities and social respect the middle classes accord themselves.

Marion Edge

London E14