Thank you Bro. Justin for this fantastic website/blog. It’s truly excellent and I welcome the opportunity to comment.
Firstly all credit to the Lawrence’s and supporters over the years.
Secondly, let’s not get complacent on what we might consider to be a victory.
What’s worrying here is that what happened to Stephen isn’t the first or last murder of a Black person by racist thugs or by racist authorities for that matter. There is a seamless history of this hatred going back many hundreds of years.
What is deeply frustrating is that the convictions now see white institutions discussing racism again with new confidence. Apparently we can all congratulate ourselves for making the right decision to convict. If we take the headlines and reports for anything it would appear that there is a sea change of consciousness taking place but I say again, don’t be misled.
For example, I read many of the comments on Diane Abbott’s, ‘divide and rule’ tweet. The extent of disgusting racist comments by far exceeded those comments of support. This, if you ask me, is a sign of the silent majority and their real reactions to the convictions.
Then in terms of perspective and making associations, there’s the spate of Black footballers that I find interesting now rightly standing-up concerning racism on and off the football pitch. So what’s really going on?
When it comes to the so called August ‘riots’, (‘not uprisings’ you will recall) did we not all hear that this wasn’t about race but was more the actions of the ‘opportunistic disenfranchised’. Such rubbish. Here’s the question…, didn’t it kick-off because of the murder of Mark Duggan, a Black man who was shot by the Met Police? And didn’t Diane Abbot also tweet that he was unarmed at the time of his murder! Ohh, but that tweet wasn’t picked-up anywhere near the same as the ‘divide and rule’ quote, right?
For myself, white societies denial of the extent of their racism is too serious for words. I remember when the Macpherson Report was issued in 1999. At the time I was trying to set-up the African-Caribbean Young Men’s Project. I received huge resistance from people in positions of power at the time.
Then before that we did a massive conference in Vauxhall entitled the Education of the African Child. I remember taking the recommendations to the line-manager asking who is responsible for taking the recommendations forward. I got the blank disinterested look! The conference was obviously over… there would be no follow-up.
For all these reasons and more, we had no choice but to set-up the ORIGIN Rites of Passage Programme as an independent programme for our community. The lesson remains ‘Do for Self’. I’m pleased we took this path early on because nobody can tell us what it is, how to deliver it or what success looks like. We set our own standards. It belongs to us because we pay for it ourselves.
So we shouldn’t be surprised about this denial; refusal to see the reality; not caring about our community. All this lack, even accounting for these convictions, has led to what we see on the streets today, where so many of our Son’s and Daughter’s have moved to an ‘endz mentality’.
This selective amnesia of social commentators, politicians and other people in positions of ‘power’ and their inability to join-up the dots and see the larger picture is both cultural and political.
Look at the statistics for sexual health, teenage conception, educational underachievement, unemployment, stop and search, deaths in custody, health, mental health etc etc… if we were to join-up these dots and view the picture through a Black lens, we would see a compelling position for a change in social policy and the need for resources in our community…. but what we have here is a compartmentalised white institutional lens from which the issues are viewed.
That’s why I still say we have to do for Self, which is why ORIGIN proudly announces our next programme that supports young men of African heritage (13-17 years) through their rites of passage to young adult.
ORIGIN is enrolling NOW. For more information go to http://originhq.wordpress.com/enrolling-now-2012/