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Darcus-Howe
We need to stand by our angry young people

CLAMPDOWN: Biased media reporting and heavy handed policing are creating a climate where black youth are being unfairly targeted

THE START of the new school term has seen young people go back to school.

Many who left after taking GCSEs at the end of the last term will find themselves chasing jobs that do not exist.

And where they do, African Caribbeans are likely to find themselves bottom of the list for selection. Higher education will be limited to those who can afford it and there are only a few who can in working class, black communities.

Amongst the most popular topics of discussion for pupils starting the new term will be the riots that swept through the country’s major cities a few weeks ago. But these young people are not on the outside looking in.

They won’t depend on Sky News reports or the newspapers (which they hardly read anyway) for intimate detail or the causes and consequences of the grand insurrection.

All of them will have their own answers as to why the disturbances happened. On top of that list is likely to be stop and search by police officers and the racial abuse that too often spews out of their mouths. It’s something that, sadly, our offspring know only too well.

They will also know friends and classmates who will not be returning to school, because they are being herded into prisons throughout the United Kingdom for possessing chewing gum, biscuits and whatever they were able to snatch from a burning store.

Egged on by politicians of all colours, magistrates and Justices of the Peace have been handing out prison sentences for offences which hitherto deserved a fine or probation. Their desire to imprison has become all consuming. And police chiefs all over the country are laying the foundations for the relentless persecution of our offspring. They are armed with guns, and are ready to shoot. The Duggan family from Tottenham know this only too well.

These young people might not be able to articulate in conventional terms the descent of the courts into barbarism and the heavy handed tactics of the police but they will certainly feel that justice has been thrown out of the window.

Only hours ago, I sat on my settee there to watch Sky News. One report really stuck in my mind. A white male reporter appeared on the screen, announcing that he’d received an anonymous call about the existence of a stash of guns for instant use in a house in Wickham Road, Brockley, in south London. He said that they had beenstockpiled for the next riot.

The cameras then switched to a shot of the street which I know only too well. Forty six years ago I lived at number 33 Wickham Road and exchanged wedding vows at the Anglican church only yards away from my house.

Then we saw a shot of a central police station (Scotland Yard maybe) where scores of police officers were being briefed for this quasi military invasion of a south London street. We are then guided to some huge green bins outside a small block of council flats and hey presto, a stash of guns were discovered with the huge statement that they belonged to young black criminals.

While watching the report, the truth struck me at once. These guns were probably props rented from the film industry. Something like Pirates of the Caribbean came to mind.

In all seriousness though, I believe the report was nothing more than deliberate misinformation designed to convince viewers that young blacks are stashing guns away and ready to attack policemen.

Reports like this go a long way in creating a climate where armed attacks on our children and grandchildren will be accepted as necessary and legitimate.

The wider black community must step up and play our role. We must listen carefully to what our young people tell us about the everyday issues they face and be ready to face incidences of injustice and harassment.

Police, politicians and the media are at war with our young. We must with them, arms linked in a chain and be willing to take them on those who attack them.

Reports like the one I saw on Sky News are just the beginning of the problem. There is more to come.

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