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,’