Rob Berkeley, senior policy analyst at race relations think-tank the Runnymede Trust, elegantly described the difficulty of getting people to confront racial issues at a meeting of teachers in east London on Monday.
On a recent trip to Glasgow, Berkeley, who is black, went down for breakfast at his hotel looking forward to a full fry-up with his favourite black pudding. He was disappointed when the waitress didn't offer it as an option and resigned himself to going puddingless. But when a white couple sat down nearby, the same waitress included black pudding in the list of breakfast options.
Mr Berkeley told the meeting: "I feel the waitress was struggling to say the word black to a black person. We can't even begin to identify and talk about race issues because it's difficult and makes us uncomfortable. But what it meant was I didn't get my black pudding!"