Greg Clarke, the chairman of the Football Association, stood down this week after saying some politically incorrect things. Chief among his offences, it seems, was his use of the word ‘coloured’, when referring to black players. On the Today programme, an interviewee explained that this term was deeply offensive to ‘people of colour’, as it reminded them of the era of segregation. I can’t have been alone in noticing that the offensive term is similar to the approved term that she used, and in being struck by the apparent irrationality of this.
A few weeks ago, the headmistress of Benenden, Samantha Price, got in trouble for giving a talk about racism in which she used the term ‘negro’. But she was using the word in a critical, questioning way, pointing out that it used to be inoffensive; Martin Luther King used it to refer to himself, for example.