Rupa huq

A lesson for Rupa Huq from the ancient Greeks

The Labour MP Rupa Huq, of Pakistani heritage, has been suspended for suggesting that Kwasi Kwarteng, of Ghanaian heritage, was only superficially black and did not sound black on the radio. The ancients would have been baffled by her comment. They were fascinated by their world’s many different cultures, but colour held no significance for them. People’s beliefs, however, were a matter of great interest. The widely travelled Greek historian Herodotus (5th century bc) produced a fine example (among many others): while Greeks expressed utter revulsion at the Indian idea of eating their dead, an Indian tribe also did so at the idea of burning their dead. Conclusion: there was