Sunday, January 12, 2003

I'm 21 years old and grew up with the generation of young black boys that is currently plaguing our inner-city streets with gun crime. Over the past few weeks, I've listened to everyone from the Home Secretary to Kilroy talk about the reasons behind the rise in gun culture. Ninety-nine per cent of the time they are talking rubbish....

I know many boys who have been both victims and perpetrators of gun crime, and the biggest cause of the problem is lack of education. The black boys I know were never shown the importance of getting qualifications at school. If the boys were excluded, they were sent to a youth centre-type "special school", where they could hang out with friends, smoke, and walk out on lessons without the fear of punishment. If Tony Blair's son misbehaves, that doesn't happen to him....

The Government needs to stop shifting the blame for this rise in gun crime and look at British society's own shortcomings, such as unemployment, social deprivation and educational underachievement — particularly in the black community.

It can be no coincidence that the areas described as the "most deprived" also top the gun crime statistics.

— Akosua Annobil-Dodoo, writing about "the rise of gun culture among young black males" in today's U.K. Observer. Many of these "young black boys" are of course the sons & grandsons of immigrants from the Caribbean; it's striking how much of what Annobil-Dodoo writes is as immediately relevant to Port of Spain & Kingston as it is to London or Leeds. And she agrees that, as I argued a couple weeks ago, the solution to this crisis of crime & violence must be a major social intervention via the education system, to provide meaningful opportunities for young people, & to pass on values of civility & civic responsibility.

No comments: