Respect is due

4th August 1995 at 01:00
A major flaw in Dr Nick Tate's professed concern to establish an EnglishBritish identity (TES, July 28) is the absence of the word "respect".

In 1834, the then Lord Macaulay wrote a minute on the subject of the kind of education which should be encouraged in India.

In it, he expresses the view that no Orientalist he had met could deny that "one single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia".

Our present national curriculum does nothing to value non-European cultures, to the end that pupils whose parents come from those parts of the world are provided with little that will foster their self-esteem, and the rest of us have our European arrogance and sense of superiority endorsed.

It is little use asking British Asians to think British and behave British when their contributions to the mix which is "British" are denied.

Our school curriculum, like much else in our society, seems to be geared at marginalising them and endorsing the view that to be British you must be white, of Anglo-Saxon stock, and Christian. This is not the recipe for creating Mr Major's vision of a nation which is at ease with itself.


134 Worcester Road Chichester Hants

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