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The kindness of strangers

The claim that there is no such thing as race is understandable but wrong. We should recognise both the genetic reality of race and the uniquely human ability to transcend it

By Mark Pagel   June 2008

Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides are Wrong in the Race Debate by Kenan Malik (Oneworld, £18.99)

Trust: Self-interest and the Common Good by Marek Kohn (OUP, £10.99)

The Great Hall at the University of Reading is a lively piece of Victoriana: a broad neo-Romanesque structure suggestive of a nave, with a concave arched ceiling of gilt-edged rectangular sections painted a pastel green and decorated with rosettes.

The uniformity of its architectural style contrasts with the people I can see under its roof. Perhaps 200 students are at work here, and my guess, from their faces, is that between them…

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