I am writing in response to Paul Beevers’ letter about the Rhodes bursary (Gazette Letters, July 3, “None have repaid Rhodes bursary”).

I don’t know how old you are Paul, I am 51-years-old.

I do find the different generations have very different views on the current agenda of Black Lives Matter, racism, pulling statues down, and remembering our history, and white privilege.

We are all products of our environment, our understanding of the world is taught and learned depending of these factors.

I am a white, middle class, working man that has experienced racism since I was a boy and still do, I am not a religious man, but come from a culture that has been persecuted from the Bible to the Holocaust, so my view on Rhodes is very different, as I can look at it from a very different perspective.

I would not want the persecution of the culture I was born into to be so public, my father was a veteran of the Second World War and I was taught never to forget the sacrifices made.

I would not tolerate statues of Hitler.

I would not tolerate name places, buildings, institutions named after that mad man, so why is it, when we go further back in history, another 100 or so years, that it’s OK for the persecution of people because of the colour of their skin is not relevant, because it is.

“Pay money back” you say, that can only really be discussed when your view is really understood.

Are you saying because the scholarship money was earned from the misery of slavery that it should not be used? Or are you saying because Rhodes is the person who had donated it? A lot of the slave traders built hospitals, and donated to universities, that’s history, it can’t be changed.

But we as a society can move forward without these tokens of racism from the past being put on pedestals and trying to distract from the bad parts of these men’s histories with the good they also did.

It’s how we teach future generations that matters, and any white upper class, or working class person reading this that believes or not they have white privilege, the point is unless your skin was a different colour or your name was very different, you would have probably never realised you have it.

It’s time to change. Tolerance of all is what we need to teach future generations to build this great country and earn the gift of freedom we were given and learn from the lessons of the past.

Paul Barnett, Tey Road, Coggeshall