Metro Letter, December 5: Buckingham Palace streak gone a little too far?

What are readers writing today? (Image: Metro.co.uk)

Readers have come to the defense of Lady Susan Hussey after her questions to Ngozi Fulani about where she is really from sparked another row at Buckingham Palace.

Curiosity about where someone comes from is not necessarily the same as racism, they claim.

But, many of them add, it is the intent and tone of the question that determines whether it is asked in bad faith.

Read on to see what readers think about, among other things, this matter.

“Wouldn’t it have been better to highlight ignorance?”

Ngozi Fulani and Lady Susan Hussey

Ngozi Fulani and Lady Susan Hussey (Image: PA; Shutterstock)

■ I write about the palace race, Pimlico Plumbing founder Charlie Mullins joking about Indians and corner shops and Nigel Farage’s “racial receipt” that whites are in the minority in London and Birmingham (Metro, Thurs).

I wonder if we have gone too far in our criticism in the name of political correctness? Yes, black British charity chief Ngozi Fulani must have felt awkward when royal aide Lady Susan Hussey repeatedly asked where she was “really” from, but wouldn’t it have been better to turn the tables on Lady Hussey and highlight her ignorance?

And why can’t we just laugh at Mullins’ punchline? I thought Sajid Javid’s “so what?” Farage’s response was apt, but he is right that there are parts of London where white English people are a minority. Is it racist to say that?

I am of South Asian heritage but do not think these are racist remarks. I was born and raised in Africa, where real racism was rife and not only when those countries were colonies, but also in their post-independence, where Asians were discriminated against. In comparison, the UK has provided many opportunities for people to thrive on their merits. NT, Harrow

Curiosity about culture is not racism, but intention is important.

Ngozi Fulani talks about

Ngozi Fulani during her appearance on Good Morning Britain (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

■ As a Brit who lived in two African countries for several years, if I meet someone of African heritage I am interested in knowing their ancestry. Sometimes it is clear from their name, for example Kwasi Kwarteng (Akwasi is the name given to Ghanaian boy born on Sunday). Therefore, Lady Susan Hussey’s request was reasonable, but unfortunately she used the wrong tone. Cuthbert, Essex

■ Merry (MetroTalk, Fri) accuses Ngozi Fulani of turning the Lady Susan Hussey incident “into a racial issue” after being asked where she was “actually from”. Error. Lady Hussey made it a racial issue by refusing to accept Fulani cannot be British or from Britain based on her skin colour. Ed, Portsmouth

■ I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been asked where I’m from. The questions come from a genuine interest and desire to learn. I understand because I have also experienced intolerable racism.

If the question is asked from a place of hatred, it is certainly racism. If the person is curious, it is not. Lady Hussey asked a tactless question in a callous, inarticulate and persistent manner. Is it racism?

And Meghan Markle’s “big reveal” to Oprah Winfrey regarding questions about her baby Archie’s skin color — don’t all parents and grandparents wonder about a baby’s characteristics? Sometimes a question is just a question. Paul, London

“Nasty wolves have pounced on an easy target”

Lady Susan Hussey and Queen Elizabeth II

Lady Susan Hussey was the late Queen’s lady-in-waiting (Image: Chris Radburn/PA Wire)

■ I am black British, born in the UK in 1963. Both my parents were born in Nigeria. My husband is white British and we have four mixed race children (aged 15 to 32).

Lady Hussey certainly did not intend to be racist. She is an older lady who tries to be friendly and learn. Mrs. Fulani missed a valuable opportunity to speak proudly of her heritage.

I am British and black but proud to talk about and learn more about my black culture. We need to teach our children to be proud of their heritage and educate others, not hide behind being ‘black British’. Elizabeth Young (née Solanke), retired entrepreneur and teacher

■ When I talk to people with foreign accents, I’m interested in knowing where they’re from, so I ask. How can it be offensive to ask such a question of interest? The nasty wolves have pounced on an easy target. It’s horrible. Nick, Edinburgh

■ I am a “person of color” and most days I am asked about where I am from. To which I reply: ‘Born and bred in South London, but my family came from India.’ And, yes, I am proud of my family origins, and then of course a conversation starts. So I cannot understand that asking a person where they are from would be classed as “racist”.

I can see that people don’t want to talk to each other. Let’s see sense. Yes, people will disagree with me, but guess what, I’m Anglo-Indian and proud of it – ask me anything about my origins! Rob, via email

■ I am a British man of Indian descent. I get this question all the time. I proudly say that I am of Indian descent. Sometimes these questions are asked as a way to find common ground to turn the conversation into an ice breaker. Jagdish Patel

■ I am black, not a royalist. Have people become so caught up in the racist remark that they don’t know when a person is curious or too curious? Growing up, I would never ask another black woman these questions because she would refuse to answer or say, ‘Aren’t you curious!’ Jen, via email

“The Beatles broke up and rock ‘n’ roll became boring, until Dr Feelgood arrived”

Wilko Johnson

Wilko Johnson revived rock ‘n’ roll as part of Dr Feelgood (Image: Getty Images)

■ I was horrified to see Wilko Johnson’s guitar style rejected (MetroTalk, Tor). When I started playing guitar, he was an inspiration at a time when everything else in music had become a suffocating boredom. After The Beatles had split, the charts had become a parody of ‘rock’n’roll’. Then there was the navel-gazing ‘virtuosity’ of so-called progressive rock.

Dr Feelgood’s pure dynamics and especially Wilko’s guitar playing served as a reminder that all was not lost. My own style owes a lot to Johnson to this day. Stuart Grist, via email

“Don’t let politicians weaponize private schools to divide us”

Eton College

Not all private schools are like Eton College, says one reader (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

■ Christopher Clayton (MetroTalk, Thurs) mocks Conservatives for being concerned that “under Labor their £46,000 annual fees for Eton might not be exempt from VAT by claiming to be a charity”. Where do I start? He does not understand the number of parents who sacrifice, save and work all the time to give their children a good education. Maybe he lives in an expensive area and doesn’t realize that government services sometimes don’t exist, especially when your child has special needs.

Private schools do a great job on tight budgets and support thousands of families and communities across the UK, and fully deserve their charitable status. Not all of them are Eton. Please don’t let politicians use our children’s education as a weapon to divide us. Imani, not in the home counties

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