Kurt Barling is a veteran broadcaster and professor of journalism at Middlesex University London. His book about racism and modern society, The ‘R’ Word, was published by Biteback in 2016.
Books by Kurt Barling
The 'R' Word
by Kurt Barling
Q: In your book, The ‘R’ Word: Racism and Modern Society, you talk about the possibility of going beyond racism, beyond ideas of race too. What do you mean by that?
A: We have to accept, first, that race doesn’t exist in any meaningful scientific sense. Most people have accepted that. What we’re still left with is cultural racism, that is, that people do still behave differently to other people because of the colour of their skin. In addition to that, black people themselves have become enslaved in the mythologies passed down from history. They need to unchain themselves from that slavery of language.
If I have a student of colour come into my university office, I’m not interested in his or her skin colour. I’m more interested in the quality of their mind, and their ability to apply themselves to a particular problem. If we can create a new cadre of people who get beyond the idea of race defining them, we can get beyond the mentality reproduced by cultural racism. It is a function of imagination. We have to learn to re-imagine ourselves. We have to get to a position where people are not defined by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character and the contribution to the world they want to make.
Interviews with Kurt Barling
The best books on Racism, recommended by Kurt Barling
The concept of ‘race’ is misleading and inaccurate, argues Kurt Barling, Professor of Journalism at the University of Middlesex and author of The R Word: Racism and Modern Society. He recommends the best books to think about racism.