The term half-caste is well known to be derrogatory in the UK and whilst it still pops up in foreign media particularly in Australia, Africa and Asia it is not that often we see it in the British Press. However we did come across an article on theartsdesk.com, which used the word twice in a review of the recently aired Chanel 4 drama Indian Summers.
Theartsdesk.com is a British Arts journalism website containing reviews, news, interviews and other content related to theatre, television and other art forms written by journalists from a variety of traditional and web-based publications.
It won Best Specialist Journalist Website from the Online Media Awards in 2012 and its honorary chairman 2010-2013 was Sir John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service and Barbican Arts Centre.
The review written by Marina Vaizey includes the following: "A poor barefoot half-caste boy dressed in rags trudged along the road, then fled from a gang of young Indian boys throwing stones. Half-castes, we learned later, were accepted nowhere." (Note we have put the offensive term in italics)
Marina Vaizey is in fact Lady Vaizey CBE a 77 year-old art critic and author who was formerly art critic for the financial times and the sunday times. She is also the mother of Ed Vaizey the conservative minister for Culture, Communications and creative Industries.
There is no reason as to why Lady Vaizey used the term and whilst it may have been used in the show as an accurate portrayal of racist attitudes there is certainly no need to perpetuate it as the words racially mixed or mixed-race are well known as being more acceptable.
We did try to contact theartsdesk.com for comment but we could not get past the subscription page. We will not be purchasing a subscription at this time.
Please let us know if you find any other members of the British Press perpetuating this term.