Being white and left-ish I hate discussing the "issue" of racism. Despite belonging to a race, I still feel unqualified to comment. But, like talking about the English class system, I'm drawn towards this topic of conversation like a bored toddler to a living room cactus.
So, the Stephen Lawrence saga exposed the canker at the heart of the police and the evil of south London thugs. The recent imprisonment of two of those responsible for his death has brought hundreds of journalists out onto the streets asking passersby: "Is Britain less racist than it was 18 years ago?"
One BBC reporter practically wet his public school-boy pants when he stumbled across a racist old codger happy to use the the "n" word on the 10 O'Clock news.
Other reporters went as far as talking to real live BLACK PEOPLE to get their view on the matter. Bemused BLACK PEOPLE said they weren't sure how racist things were now, but some blokes did get stopped by the police rather often.
And then, amidst the hubbub and handwringing, Diane Abbott comes out with some nonsense on Twitter about white people "dividing and ruling". It was something along the lines of Jeremy Clarkson saying all striking public sector workers "should be shot". A childish furore ensues and any serious discussion of racism in Britain today has been washed down the waste disposal unit like an American Thanksgiving turkey.
It's probably because the issues surrounding "racism" are so complex and awkward that public debate always boils down to simple slinging of the proverbial mud. And because the debate is so simplistic, so black and white (if you'll pardon the pun) any solutions the Government comes up with are knee-jerk, simplistic and completely ineffectual.