Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES
Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES

Graeme Smith regards my recent letter as puerile and totalitarian (“IRR now a right-wing agitator”, June 24 and “Response to IRR is totalitarian”, July 22). Puerile because it supposedly attacks the Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR's) critique of the Expropriation Without Compensation Bill (which I did not mention) and totalitarian because I tackled the institute’s attack on critical race theory (CRT) and its support for “the right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms”.

The thrust of my letter was that the IRR is advocating policies that are right-wing rather than liberal.

Smith’s attack on CRT as “not tolerating freedom of thought and expression” does nothing more than display his total ignorance. The large body of thought that constitutes CRT has been largely incorporated into mainstream history. Its fundamental argument is that racial domination has come to be structured into Western society, culture and much of its practice. Given the history of the slave trade, slavery, imperialism and colonialism, along with continuing huge racial inequalities that remain in post-imperial and postcolonial societies, it is only the truly myopic who wish to contest its basic insights.

Individual practitioners of CRT may be intolerant of those who disagree with them, but any serious study of CRT cannot sustain the charge that it demands uniformity. Indeed, it is those who try to ban CRT (like the US Republicans) and parody its arguments, like the IRR, who are the more guilty of the “cancel culture” Smith deplores. Perhaps this is why IRR president Russell Lamberti has a clip from Nigel Farage, who is on record as wanting to scrap Britain’s antiracial discrimination laws, on his personal website.

As for gun rights, I concede there is no easy solution in a country that is awash with guns and where policing is often corrupt, brutal and ineffective. Yet there is no road to peace offered by gun ownership. I am not aware that Edgar Brookes toted guns, and the IRR’s defence of gun rights cannot be considered a constructive step towards improving “race relations”.

Roger Southall,Via email

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