A black deliveryman asked the above question after Dalrymple’s neighbors failed to answer his door-knocks (only because they were not present). Dalrymple reacts on his Salisbury Review blog:
He asked this, apparently, not in an aggressive or aggrieved manner, but sorrowfully, as an enquiry as to truth; and I must say that when I heard this I was myself sorrowful. For what must it be like to go through life in the fear of rejection because of the colour of one’s skin, whether that fear be justified or not?
And whether justified or not, it seems to me likely that at some time in his life this man must at least once have experienced what he now feared, rejection because of his colour. One such rejection would be enough to sensitise him for life.
Dunno. I’d have to know if the deliveryman answers his door to a strange black man or anyone else without a care in the world, no?
I wonder if Dalrymple is aware of Ali G and his catchphrase. Perhaps not.