Monday, September 15, 2008
Jewish academic says that he would not be able to tolerate living next door to Jamaican neighbors
George Steiner, 79, said he believed racism was inherent in everyone and that racial tolerance was merely skin deep. "It's very easy to sit here, in this room, and say 'racism is horrible'," he said from his house in Cambridge, where he has been Extraordinary Fellow at Churchill College since 1969. "But ask me the same thing if a Jamaican family moved next door with six children and they play reggae and rock music all day. Or if an estate agent comes to my house and tells me that because a Jamaican family has moved next door the value of my property has fallen through the floor. Ask me then!" Steiner, whose Jewish family fled to America from Paris before the Nazi invasion of 1940, adds: "In all of us, in our children, and to maintain our comfort, our survival, if you scratch beneath the surface, many dark areas appear. Don't forget it."