Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's seminal "I have a dream" speech. However pertinent then, it is obsolete in today's post racialism Britain. His account of black people being shackled "by the chains of discrimination" is about as outdated as VHS.
Today, racism is a mythical concept incubated in the minds of liberal fundamentalists and the likes of Oprah ("you can't afford that handbag") Winfrey. An aside: It's hardly the shop assistants' fault if black people in Switzerland are poor.
When I came to live in this country I had the right mindset. That of fitting in. Before I even left my native Dublin I took elocution lessons and words like "feck" were banished from my vocabulary. It helped that I dyed my carrot red hair black and reduced my daily alcohol intake from 10 to 8.5 pints. You won't find U2 or The Script on my ipod. I changed my name from Mary Gobnit O'Reilly to the more British sounding Tess (short for Tessandra) Finch-Lees. My assimilation was complete.
I do think that ethnic minorities could do more to fit in. In the same way that Isla Fisher converted to Judaism and Katie Homes to Scientology in an apparent bid to ingratiate their men, why can't black and minority ethnics (BMEs) at least show willing?
It was recently reported that schools requiring supply teachers are asking for a "John Smith, if you know what I mean"? Surely, if you want a job, rather than dig your heals in, flaunting your unpronounceable foreign name, on principle, just change it to John Smith or Jane Jones for goodness sake. Pride comes before a fall and all that.
Fifty years ago signs such as, "No blacks, dogs or Irish" were commonplace. Nowadays, [well behaved] Irish and dogs are welcome in most British establishments. In post racialism Britain you would never see signs telling immigrants to go home. Any cryptograms, say written on vans patrolling through London, and the random targeting of dark skinned immigrants at railway stations, would be illegal. The racists behind it would be hauled before the courts. That's what the Equality and Human Rights Commission is there for. Isn't it?
As long as the PC brigade keep banging on about racism a climate of victimhood will prevail. They churn out statistics with the velocity and conviction with which Catholics produce offspring. The fact that there is only one black CEO in the ftse 100 (and he's not British), that only 1 in 20 of the judiciary is BME and that there is only one non white editor of a national newspaper, is frankly, just one of those things.
A lot of what is termed "racist" in contemporary society is being whipped up by the racialism industry. Take the recent to do after it emerged the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke at the Traditional Britain Group dinner. An organisation that condemned Doreen Lawrence's peerage as "a monstrous disgrace". Like Enoch Powell, the TBG called for Ms Lawrence to return to her natural homeland. Easier said than done. Those chaps have obviously never tried to catch a tube to South London at rush hour.
I have it on good authority that Mr Rees-Hogg, like his Tory colleague, Calum Rupert Heaton-Gent (actual name), who also attended the dinner, were victims of a misunderstanding. Their Eton advisors thought TBG stood for Transvestite, Black and Gay, so they only agreed to attend in the hope of shoring up swing voters. Allegedly.
Even Tory MP, Adam Afriyie, has reportedly described himself as "post -racial". "I don't see myself as a black man". Obviously not. How else could he rub shoulders with the likes of Patrick Mercer, who, as an army officer, said his black soldiers were routinely referred to as "n*****s", and who lambasted "idle and useless" ethnic minority soldiers who "used racism to cover their misdemeanors".
Fifty years on there's a disproportionately higher representation of black people in prison, living in poverty, and dying in police custody in the UK. Whilst I concede this arguably falls short of Martin Luther King's dream of justice and equality, frankly, as long as those of a darker hue are being picked on, it takes the heat off us Irish. And dogs.
Tess Finch-Lees was the first white columnist for The Voice, Britain's leading black newspaper.