In today's Times:
How to make my child feel like a black sheep
I am white, my wife is black and our daughter, unsurprisingly, is brown. I think she is lucky. Her skin is almost golden and her hair falls in beautiful black ringlets that, thanks to my Celtic ancestors, reveal copper undertones when caught by the sun.
But according to Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, my daughter may be in grave peril. In a recent speech he claimed that, as a person of mixed race, she is at risk of “identity stripping”. She may “grow up marooned between two communities”.
Like many others in the race industry, Mr Phillips is a racialist. He thinks that your race is the most important fact about you. It is so important that it determines your identity and your community. If you are mixed race, you will have neither.
Mr Phillips is mistaken. Despite her brown skin, my daughter is no harder to identify than her white father or her black mother. She is a no more vague, nebulous or otherwise indefinite creature than any other human being.
Nor is she marooned between two communities. For I do not live in the white community and my wife does not live in the black community. As far as I know, there are no such communities. Despite our different colours, all three members of the Whyte family live in the same community, a nice bourgeois suburb.
My daughter knows she is brown but, at the age of 3, she does not believe it to be the most important thing about her. If anything, she is currently obsessed with her sex. She points to the characters of her illustrated books and declares: “I’m that one.” She often identifies herself with a blonde princess, but never with a dark-haired prince.
Alas, this state of blissful racial naivety will not be allowed to persist. She will hear people like Mr Phillips talking about “racial identity”, as if this absurd notion signified something real and important. One day someone will assure her that there is nothing wrong with being mixed-race, thereby suggesting to her for the first time that perhaps there might be.
I do not worry about my brown daughter suffering racist discrimination. That is rare in our community. I am more worried that she fall for the idea that her skin is her identity, and believe herself the victim of fantastical injuries such as identity-stripping. Then her “racial identity”, or lack of one, really will become a problem for her.
The interests of do-gooding organisations are always at odds with their goals. Succeed and you put yourself out of business. With racism in rapid retreat and mixed-race children on the rise, there is one great contribution the Commission for Racial Equality could make to its official cause. Stop existing.
Races don't exist, but physical variations (principally in skin pigmentation, eye shape and build) among groups have arisen over the thousands of years of human history, usually because people have had no choice but to mate with people who live in the same geographical vicinity.
Unless human societies change dramatically, this general state of affairs will continue for the forseeable future in most places of the world - China, central Africa, etc.
But in heavily multi-ethnic societies like Britain, that multi-millennia process of physical change will be largely wiped out within a few hundred years at most. The number of people calling themselves 'mixed race' rises exponentially with every new generation, both through more mixed marriages, and because the children of those marriages have their own children.
Ethnic cultures will probably survive longer than 'race'. That is, skin colour, eye shape etc will be increasingly poor indicators of ethnic group. People will essentially be able to choose which cultures they wish to 'belong' to, or slip between them as the mood takes.
It is important that even good 'racialists' like the CRE come to realise this - not just racists.