How are people to interpret these labels?

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Although I have now moved away from the area, I am a keen reader of the Derbyshire Times when I return home. However I can’t help but feel a little peeved by the news article about a jewellery theft, specifically the way the suspected criminals are so easily labelled ‘of Eastern European appearance’ and the way this could be interpreted by readers.

I am wondering if the writer of this article could clarify just what Eastern European appearance actually meant? I’ve known for Eastern Europe to be referred to in a cultural or political sense on many occasion, but never have I come across the subject used as a definition of one’s appearance.

As a second generation Latvian I know that there is a large community of Eastern European displaced persons living within the area covered by Derbyshire Times, all of them the same generation as my grandfather, and although they probably have distinguishing features native to their own heritage it would be foolish to label them all with the same ‘Eastern European’ tag.

There has also been a number of Eastern European migrants who have settled in the area since the expansion of the EU and relaxing of visa requirements, my wife included.

Are you suggesting that us native to these lands should be wary of tall slim blondes with piercing blue eyes? Or maybe my skinhead cousin and his friend, who have lived in Chesterfield for the past six years, meet the definition of Eastern European appearance? Dodgy looking, with a foreign accent.

I really would appreciate it if someone could please explain what this definition means, or at least expand on the subject. Most people will read this article and come to one conclusion.

JAMES SKILA

Southsea

EDITOR’S NOTE: The phrase ‘of Eastern European appearance’ was not something coined by the Derbyshire Times, but was the wording used by police in their appeal for witnesses to the incident.