Desert Island Race Row

Desert Island Discs programme on Radio 4 was at the centre of a huge race row as veteran Jewish comedian Jackie Mason implied that racism didn’t exist in today’s society.

He told host Kirsty Young: ‘I wouldn’t say the Jews or the blacks today are suffering from racism…I don’t think it’s such a terrible disadvantage to be black or Jewish today. But because they once were… they are still not comfortable enough with the new situation….They still can’t accept the fact that they are completely accepted everywhere… it’s all in their minds.’

Is it all in our minds???? Or has that is faced now changed?

I remember being called a “paki” walking to and from school, even at school. I lived in a predominantly white neighbourhood and our house was targeted paper fire through the letterbox and regularly smashed windows. The police were of no help and when my dad worked nightshift we used to spend our evenings upstairs in case a brick came through the living room window.

This doesn’t happen to us anymore. Our community is much more tolerant but are other communities? I haven’t faced racism in my search for work or in my career progression, but am I just fortunate. I know that discrimination in employment and promotion to senior management and board levels in large companies does exist. Only recently, my husband was a witness in a case that involved race discrimination against his co-worker.

Has racism moved to being covert and underhand, effecting employment and opportunities rather than brutal abuse?

I don’t think Jackie Mason’s comments are in any way acceptable, but maybe his own success has blinded him to the struggles of others.


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