Is Britain too sensitive to the issue of race? England manager, Roy Hodgson, became the most recent public figure to be accused of racism after telling a joke that was deemed distasteful at best and racially offensive at worst. The incident, widely dismissed by the 'victim' of Hodgson's indiscretion, the FA, and anti-racism campaign 'Kick It Out', raised the question of whether the zeal to stamp out any form racism in public life has gone too far.
Race relations in Britain have historically been fraught with tension with startling levels of casual racism and workplace discrimination being commonplace for decades. The Brixton riots in the 1980s, the death of Stephen Lawrence in the 1990s, and the impact of anti-terror laws on the Muslim community in the 2000s each prompted accusations of entrenched racist attitudes in British society leading to the passage of new criminal offences, such as the incitement of racial hatred.
Is the extreme caution taken by authorities when referring to ethnic minority communities justified or has race simply become taboo? Does the case of Roy Hodgson represent an over-reaction that obscured the real problems with race relations in the UK today or was it a justified rebuke of a poorly chosen joke? Is Britain a racist country and simply in a state of denial?