Ethnic Minority Is Now an Insult. Say Minority Ethnic; 'Bizarre' Ruling on Race by Law Society's Controversial Woman Chief

Daily Mail (London), October 6, 2004 | Go to article overview

Ethnic Minority Is Now an Insult. Say Minority Ethnic; 'Bizarre' Ruling on Race by Law Society's Controversial Woman Chief


Byline: SAM GREENHILL

IT IS one of the most widely- used politically correct expressions of our age.

Instead of referring to non-British people by their colour or race, they are almost invariably called 'ethnic minorities'.

But now it seems even that title is deemed offensive in some quarters.

According to a diktat from the Law Society, solicitors should now reverse the term to ' minority ethnic'.

The guidance has been issued by the society's chief executive Janet Paraskeva, 57, in the socalled Equality and Diversity Handbook.

She is a drug law reformer whose appointment was controversial because she believes cannabis should be legalised.

Her advice on the term 'ethnic minorities' says: 'Some people prefer not to use this term because they feel it implies that only minority communities have ethnicity.' A better phrase, it says, is 'minority ethnic', which 'makes it clearer that it is not just minorities who have an ethnic identity but also the majority'. For any black people who may feel left out by this, the advice goes further, suggesting the term 'black and minority ethnic groups'.

This is seen as 'all-embracing and inclusive'. 'It recognises the fact that we all have ethnicity and that it is the minority status which is being emphasised,' adds the handbook.

Critics see the new directions as ridiculous in the extreme.

Barrister and Tory MP Tony Baldry said: 'It is bizarre, unnecessary and incredibly patronising. When I chaired an inner-city faith forum - of Hindus, Sikhs and everything else - everyone was content to be described as an ethnic minority, because that is what they were. …

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