The title phrase is not one I generally use; it is more commonly heard (in the UK) from the kind of rightwingers who read the Daily Mail, call black people "darkies", and think the country went downhill when women were given the vote. But once in a while you have to concede that they may occasionally have a point.
On a recent trip to Britain (hence the lack of posts in the last few weeks) I had occasion to make a lost property report to the police. The details were taken down by a polite and helpful young constable, but I was surprised to find that even on lost property reports the police are now required to enter the "ethnicity", as they call it, of the contact person.
Now I can see that for many police matters this detail would be highly relevant: cases of incitement to racial hatred; defilement of synagogues or mosques; and senseless racially motivated attacks, such as the tragic murders of Stephen Lawrence and Anthony Walker (among many others). But lost property? Come on!
I have alarming visions of a battalion of dedicated civil servants toiling away in a Whitehall basement somewhere to produce detailed statistics showing that Bangladeshis are 4.2% more likely to lose their wallets but 3.7% less likely to lose their mobile phones than Vietnamese. Absurd.