Diary: Racial equality commission puts negative correspondence in spotlight

Last week the Guardian ran a spread about hate mail received by the Commission for Racial Equality, which has increased since the damning report into the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

Last week the Guardian ran a spread about hate mail received by the

Commission for Racial Equality, which has increased since the damning

report into the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.



It was the Commission’s press officer, Chris Myant, who had the idea of

collecting the mail and sending it to the Guardian. It is not in his job

remit, but he has collected the letters since he started his job at the

Commission six years ago.



They do not make for pleasant reading. One example of a missive sent to

Commission chairman Sir Herman Ouseley by a man in Ealing reads: ’If you

truly believe the fatuous nonsense you spew out, then why don’t you

return to your ancestral homeland - with your British education - and

improve life there?’



Other letters openly threaten Ouseley or Stephen Lawrence’s family or

associates. But why, one wonders, does Myant hold on to the letters the

Commission receives? ’It’s good to get a picture of what is going on and

get a picture of the sort of people you are up against,’ he says.



’It’s easy when we are in an office where everybody is being pleasant to

each other to forget how unpleasant or menacing racism can be outside,’

Myant adds.



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