Marked race card

August 25, 2000

Your editorial fingers are, as uncannily as ever, on the pulse of the profession and the wider national mood (Books, THES, August 18). In a week when the academic disinclinations of Britain's minorities hit the headlines, my book, Between Camps: Nations, Cultures and the Allure of Race, was attacked in your pages by someone who objected to reading it twice and having to consult a dictionary.

Your reviewer's suggestion that Yale, which squats in one of North America's most impoverished and segregated cities, is remote from the pathologies of US racism demonstrates ignorance. The intellectually challenged comments unwittingly confirmed that I was correct to suggest the recycled homilies of 1970s anti-racism should be set aside in favour of a future-oriented stance. Racial politics will expire if it cannot address the ethical implications of such developments as the bio-tech revolution. I would also like to make it clear that there is nothing in Between Camps to suggest that I consider the US as my home. The book was dedicated to advancing the self-awareness and self-understanding of black Europeans: post-colonial peoples who already have a lot to say about what racism is becoming in the 21st century.

No doubt, while crying crocodile tears over Britain's lack of black professors, you will butcher this letter in the same way you eviscerated my other recent attempt to defend myself in your pages.

Paul Gilroy

Professor of sociology and African American studies, Yale University, New Haven, United States

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