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18 Jul, 2020 07:08

As lockdown loosens, more black men are stabbed in London. But Black Lives Matter has nothing to say

As lockdown loosens, more black men are stabbed in London. But Black Lives Matter has nothing to say

Despite a huge public profile and ongoing media attention, BLM fails to identify a role for itself in combating the appalling number of deaths of young black males in London from incidents of knife crime. What’s its purpose then?

As pandemic lockdown restrictions were eased in London, it was very much business as usual – including the deaths by stabbing of three young black men in the English capital in the past week alone.

The loss of black sons, brothers, fathers and husbands continues unabated, pausing momentarily while society was in lockdown, then grimly resuming once we were all free to leave our homes.

In the case of talented MMA fighter Jahreau Shepherd, 30, he was knifed to death at his own birthday party. Cruelty has no respect.

What is puzzling is that there seems to be no public outrage from those quarters who can generally be relied on to raise all hell over issues that seem so closely related to the colour of a person’s skin.

For instance, where is Black Lives Matter on this issue? Why the silence?

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It was all over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a city nearly 4,000 miles away on another continent. But closer to home, following the deaths of Mr Shepherd, of 18-year-old Ahmed Yasin-Ali and of Donnell Rhule, also 18, in three separate attacks in the past week alone, the silence of BLM is deafening.

Which is strange. Because you would think that this outrageous resumption of seemingly endless knife crime on black people that has blighted London and elsewhere for years would be something BLM could really get its teeth into. In fact, it would be welcome to help, because no one else seems to have got to grips with it.

The organisation now has a profile it could only have imagined six months ago, and it has the ear of a public ready to burst into action. Just say the word!

Well, here’s a big opportunity. We’re waiting. 

When we hear of the ‘knife crime epidemic’ we need to understand that, to the young black men of the nation’s capital, it is a killer right up there with Covid-19.

Some say the reason that there is no outrage is because the victims are black, and that because they are a minority, white people don’t make a fuss about it. 

It’s a typically ignorant social warrior’s claim that just doesn’t wash anymore. In widely diverse London, white British people have themselves actually been a minority for around 10 years now, and the voice of the capital speaks many languages.

Lack of outrage is not the problem. It is the lack of ability to tackle a cause that grows unchecked within BAME communities – and yes, white communities as well – namely destructive, nihilistic gang culture.

While it offers the promise of riches and social reinforcement to vulnerable young black males, not helped by communities riddled with economic deprivation, low school attendances and sub-par housing, this culture is one of death and misery.

Gangs thrive on conflict, which leads to bravado, imagined slurs, machismo and over-the-top violence and reprisals.

To a gang member, black lives don’t matter. No lives matter. The only thing that does is the approval of those he mistakenly believes are his peers. To change minds in this instance needs people on the inside, people who gang members can identify with, who they can trust and maybe follow out of this one-way lifestyle.

The efforts to even begin tackling this have so far been pretty disappointing. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has thrown buckets of money at the prevention of knife crime, but it is quite obviously not working.

The problem his efforts have faced this year is that many of the initiatives are school-based, and kids haven’t actually been in school for months and won’t return until September. You can’t teach lessons to empty classrooms.  

For an anarchic outfit like the UK branch of BLM, which declares it wants to rid society of capitalism, imperialism and institutions of the state – like the police – this would appear to be fertile ground for debate, for solutions and for a joined-up plan that might make a difference.

Build a powerbase of strong young minds, confident, articulate young black people who can establish their place in society in a positive way, creating an exciting new future where no one can ever deny that yes, indeed, black lives do matter.

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But what was BLM in the UK up to this week?

Well there was time to kick up a fuss with Bristol Council by erecting a hastily created statue of a 21st century BLM protestor defiantly raising her fist on the empty plinth previously occupied by 17th-century merchant Edward Colston. But on the deaths of three black men in London? Nothing. Nada. Niente.

Let’s face it, the BLM movement in this country is all about encouraging people of colour to identify themselves as victims – not just today, but throughout history – and white people as the enemy to be shouted down. Okay, we all get that. 

Denying that racism and inequality have been a stain on white society for hundreds of years is just bonkers, and yes, reparations, reviews and recompense are required.

But cancel culture and toppling statues don’t fix anything. They just make more noise around the race discussion that draws the lunatic fringes from both sides of the argument into a raucous, incomprehensible row that leads nowhere and helps absolutely nobody.

It certainly did nothing for Jahreau Shepherd, Ahmed Yasin-Ali or Donnell Rhule.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.