19 MARCH 1965, Page 16

Black Man's Burden SIR,—In his article 'Black Man's Burden' (Spectator,

March 12) Mr. August keeps on implying that he is a highly intelligent person. But surely it is the part of the intelligent man not to resent the surprise betrayed by many nations that foreigners do not always have tails? Why should Mr. August resent being called `darky' or 'nigger'? I might as well have objected, when in China, to being labelled 'Big Nose'—the common name for all foreigners. Mr. August considers patronising the amazement shown by taxi-drivers at his intelligence. In Peking many friends assured me that until they met certain English people they had no idea that England possessed any form of art, poetry or architecture.

In China the white races are generally mistrusted, despised and ridiculed. Once at an auction sale in the courtyard of a defunct former official of the Imperial Court I happened to take a seat next to the dead man's nephew. Ignorant of the fact that I spoke his language, he turned to his, friend and said, 'If my poor uncle could see me now he would turn in his grave. He never allowed a foreigner over his threshold. He considered them ignorant, uneducated and said they stank.' In China to. be impolite is to prove yourself uneducated. I turned to the man and murmured, 'Thank you, Elder Brother, for your courtesy!' Well I knew that the man would be teased by his friend for months to come for having lost face and proved himself a barbarian. Maybe I did wrong? Perhaps I should have written angry letters to the Peking Daily News, explaining that despite my horrible white skin I was a highly in- telligent person?

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