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in the spring of 1994, Rosemary Harris, reader in anthropology at University College, London (UCL), sat in on a meeting in a London school between a white couple and one of the teachers. The school is in Somers Town, a multi-ethnic working class neighbourhood near UCL. Harris was engaged in a study of racial conflict in the area. The parents had come to complain about the treatment of their 14-year-old son Richard, who had been knocked to the ground and threatened by a large crowd of Bangladeshi boys.

In August 1994, during the summer holidays, on a Saturday evening when…

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