[We] have #Shutdown roads in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham to mourn those who have died in custody and to protest the ongoing racist violence of the police, border enforcement, structural inequalities and the everyday indignity of street racism.
The latest figures suggest black people are up to 17.5% more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police in certain areas of the UK.
But The Mail ran with the headline:
Apparently, protesting institutional racism is a “bandwagon”, like the latest boy band or an Apple watch. Analysis of more than one million UK court records backs up the evidence suggesting otherwise:
black offenders were 44% more likely than white offenders to be sentenced to prison for driving offences, 38% more likely to be imprisoned for public disorder or possession of a weapon and 27% more likely for drugs possession.
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Asian offenders were 41% more likely to be sent to prison for drugs offences than their white counterparts and 19% more likely to go to jail for shoplifting.
For The Mail, one can only assume that the anti-racism bandwagon is similar to the equal marriage or employment rights bandwagons. Coupled with demonising the protesters through alarmist language like “extremist”, the trivialisation of structural discrimination is an attempt to suppress those who stand against it.
But the people are speaking up:
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) August 4, 2016
Within the article, The Mail showcased the complaints of Middle England:
I’m all for equality but how does stopping hard working people from going on holiday at Heathrow help? #BlackLivesMatter
Ironically, the fact this tweet is being cited shows how the protest will help – it’s getting widespread media coverage. Heathrow Airport said the protest did not appear to cause people to miss flights. 10 people were arrested outside the airport.
To be stuck in traffic is an irritation. To be denied justice for decades is a crisis.
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) August 5, 2016
As well as commemorating the fifth anniversary of Mark Duggan’s death at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, the timing of the demonstration is also significant because racist hate crime has spiked 42% post-Brexit.
Duggan was killed by a police marksman in August 2011, sparking nationwide riots. Despite the 29-year-old being unarmed, the High Court upheld Duggan’s death as a ‘lawful killing’ in 2014.
Another comment showcased by the Mail read:
How utterly selfish! Why ruin innocent people’s holiday or work? Every life matters, not just #BlackLivesMatter
There were great responses to the ‘all lives matter’ response on Twitter:
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) August 5, 2016
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) August 3, 2016
All lives do matter. And that’s the problem. Black lives matter, too. The ‘too’ is implied. Responding with ‘all lives matter’ looks either ignorant or disingenuous, serving as a distraction from the mountain of evidence showing structural discrimination against black people.
Over an eight year period in England and Wales, just 1% of allegations of police racism by members of the public were upheld. And in Nottingham, the police are continuing to whitewash institutional racism:
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) August 5, 2016
Traffic delays are a small price to pay for wall-to-wall media coverage drawing attention to discrimination faced by minority ethnic citizens every day. Let’s express solidarity and hope the causes are heard far and wide.
See Novara Media’s report from Heathrow here:
– Show solidarity with the protesters through the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter
– Black Lives Matter protest on 5 August 2016 from 6.00pm in:
Featured image via Youtube screenshot
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