TW: Police Violence.
This week has been trying, with videos of racism, discrimination and propaganda being circulated widely by the mainstream and social media. Let me say this before I continue; I do not for one second believe that this a new wave, as a man of colour I have been inundated with communications and experiences for pretty much as long as I can remember.
The narrative is now being shifted and centred to the response to racism, the violence and the deaths:
That’s somewhere else.
This shifting is a deliberate societal reaction. When you move the subject from moral injustice, this is a distraction and distraction is a function of white supremacy (Toni Morrison). In other words, if we are challenged personally or as a society, the last thing we should be doing is questioning the means of that effort.
There is also a frequent movement from the content of the challenge to an assertion about the person challenging. We end up palming off our responsibility by concentrating on tone, manner and personality of the person. In the effort of making the dealing of the content easier because you are no longer reflecting on those uncomfortable truths.
Let us begin with the narratives.
Let’s start with the concept of rioting; the challenge is reframed if you have an oppressed group who are fighting for their lives at the hands of the state. When do you say enough is enough? Famously, Dr Martin Luther King Junior famous said that riots are the voices of the unheard, so I ask what are we not hearing?
Courtesy of the Martin Luther King Jr Centre.Famously, Dr Martin Luther King Junior famous said that riots are the voices of the unheard, so I ask what are we not hearing? Click To Tweet
We would do well in remembering that people have tried for millennia through articulate and respectful civility to fight this injustice. When they take to the streets through fear of losing their lives, they are branded the bad guys. Why is that? Why have we been trained to think this way? And ultimately, who does it protect? And do we teach this type of criticality in schools?
Let’s look at the parallels our British Empire ‘looted’ in excess of $45’000000000000000000 ($45 trillion) that’s 19 zeros if you’re counting and continued to loot priceless historical artefacts worldwide and remember none of this has been returned. Today, the descendants of those people (who were the victims) are subjected to the worst society has to offer as a consequence of the British Empire and colonialism. Those are the people we are so quick to condemn. The hypocrisy is rich.Our British Empire ‘looted’ in excess of $45’000000000000000000 ($45 trillion) that’s 19 zeros if you’re counting and continued to loot priceless historical artefacts worldwide and remember none of this has been returned. Click To Tweet
That $45 trillion figure doesn’t include chattel slavery either. Although, I will point out that our taxes until 2015 were used to pay reparations for slavery. Oh wait, let me be clear, those reparations were not to the enslaved people but the slave owners for their loss of stock. Yes, you read that correctly. During ‘abolition’ our country borrowed against the state to make these payments and our taxes finally repaid this debt in 2015. It is entirely possible that the lineage of people who suffered paid for their liberation. Not taught that in schools.our taxes until 2015 were used to pay reparations for slavery. Oh wait, let me be clear, those reparations were not to the slaves but the slave owners for their loss of stock. Yes, you read that correctly. During ‘abolition’ our… Click To Tweet
Distraction and Finger-Pointing.
Isn’t America a terrible place, it’s racist, the devil lives there, etc. I am not disputing the institutionalise racism and inequity in the United States of America. Why is the narrative rarely about the UK? About our own society because it’s easier to point fingers and say we are better than them, well least racist is *shockingly* still racist. As the US narrative is about Police brutality and the state response. Let’s look at us closer to home. A Black person is ‘four times more likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act’. It’s not that simple there may be factors are in play; however, when coupled with the deaths of members of people of colour in police custody (6 out of 11 from 4/17-12/17) this isn’t looking great. With the chair of the IOPC saying ‘We need to look closely between the relationship between ethnicity and the use of force.’ Black people are proportionately four times more likely to experience force from the police five times more likely to have AEP or taser used against them and nine times more likely for officers to have used firearms. Stop and search also disproportionately targets Black people, to the tune of 40 times more likely to stopped and searched compared to white counterparts.our taxes until 2015 were used to pay reparations for slavery. Oh wait, let me be clear, those reparations were not to the slaves but the slave owners for their loss of stock. Yes, you read that correctly. During ‘abolition’ our… Click To Tweet
That was pre COVID-19 and Black and Brown people are 54% more likely to be punished under coronavirus rules many of these were charged on corona laws which do not exist. Today, The Guardian reports that the IPOC are investigating CCTV footage of a 15 years old being beaten by a police officer in the West Midlands. The same officer was caught on camera beating a Black cyclist and ripping his face mask off just the day before (he was held down by a female officer), Black men wrongly being shot, a Black man was tasered for witnessing a car accident, and it gets worse. Check the article in the references below.Black and Brown people are 54% more likely to be punished under coronavirus rules many of these were charged on corona laws which do not exist. Click To Tweet
TW: Police violence— Pran Patel (@MrPranPatel) May 2, 2020
Newtown, Birmingham, UK.
This is a 15 year old child. Some people argue that the only function of the police is protect property and maintain the status quo.
This is a disgrace.
From @YahooNewsUK and @Independent pic.twitter.com/9MkDSvTxbZ
“There is a sense in these communities that no one is ever held accountable after deaths and serious incidents. The test for the credibility of this IOPC investigation will be if something happens as a result,” Deborah Coles, the director of Inquest.
That quote is from the same article. This concept is prevalent as far as I know in the last 36 years, not one police officer has been charged for a death in police custody (happy to be corrected). Where is the justice?
As Educators, What Can we do?
Step one is to acknowledge that this exists in our system, in our country and that we are a part of it. There is nothing wrong with teaching an authentic truth which highlights the atrocities of our past and present I would say that this is a significant pivot point in the upholding of institutionalised white supremacy in the UK. Alas, I have found as educators through fear, guilt and uncomfortableness we either refuse to act or recoil and double down on more of the same.
Recognising our biases against pupils of colour are also critical with regards to behaviour as we know Black boys with SEND are 168 times more likely to be excluded when compare to a white girl without SEND. Teacher underassessment is also a pertinent point if you have a lower expectation for a pupil (at the longitudinal study say systemically we do) throughout their school life this impacts their outcomes.
I have written extensively on decolonise the curriculum, and you can find those resources on this website. I will write something for leaders too, at some point. Right now, I am exhausted, it is 2020 and people of colour have been asking for change, justice and fairness forever it feels.I have written extensively on decolonise the curriculum, and you can find those resources on this website. I will write something for leaders too, at some point. Right now, I am exhausted, it is 2020 and people of colour have been… Click To Tweet
The choice is ultimately yours, advocate change, take action or understand and accept you are part of the problem.
- The whole world and the lived-in experience of the oppressed.
- Ministry of Justice. Exploratory analysis of 10-17 year olds in the youth secure estate by black and other minority ethnic groups, 2017