It is wonderful news to hear that the mother and father of Stephen Lawrence have finally had some justice, and two of the murderers of Stephen, Gary Dobson and David Norris, have finally been put in prison for their racist knife attack 18 years ago.
Thankfully racist violence and attacks have become much less a concern for young Black men in London, but what should have been a respite from fear of violence has not occurred, instead the greatest threat and fear of young Black men is now from other young Black men. And the chances of being attacked and suffering serious violence as a young Black man is greater now than it was during the time Stephen Lawrence was attacked all those years ago.
I think there is a collective exasperation from many Black parents to see how all those years of fighting racists and racism has brought us to a situation where so called Black on Black crime is now the greatest harm to our children.
For some the representation of an external monster of racism was a far more palatable issue than the threat from within. At least racists and racism could be readily identified and once seen could be tackled by a collective effort; who your enemies were was clear, that you could join together to tackle them was a unifying force. Now the racists have become a more covert (within urban areas), their violence mostly against the aspirations and prospects of young Black people rather than their bodies, the glue of the collective cause has been weakened and a fragmentation between Black people has occurred.
This fragmentation is similar to a wider fragmentation across many societies and cultures within the UK. Politics and politicians, police and justice, religion and priests; no longer unify, they now tend to represent narrow self interests. However regret and nostalgia for the so called better times, especially for the stupid and loathsome force of racism is silly. The task is to identify a vision for collective improvement that can grab the imagination of many and join them together in the effort, rather than the destructive, fragmented and selfish motives that are driving so many today. Our leaders and elders don’t seem to have the philosophical nouse to pull this particularly elusive rabbit out of the bag. Can we?