A piece by Rod Liddle in the last Sunday Times:
I suspect that the first thing many of you thought when you heard that a 14-year-old boy, Jaden Moodie, had been knocked off his moped and stabbed to death in east London — the first thing after the wave of utter revulsion and pity at a young life wiped out — was: what is a kid of that age doing out at night illegally riding a moped?
And then you may have checked yourself, feeling slightly ashamed. A mean-spirited question. Who the hell are you to know? East London is a world away, and they do things differently there. And yet, as is often the case, your first response would have been the correct one, surely. A question that none of the authorities or community leaders has the stomach to address.
And so it will go on. The stabbings, the shootings. A 10-year high in fatalities last year in the capital, almost all black kids not very much older than Jaden. Many of them scarcely reported at all.
Poverty and racial inequality are the comfortable answers always given when something like this happens. It’s rot, PC rot. Usually the Labour MP David Lammy then complains about a lack of policing in problem areas, having previously criticised the police for stopping and searching black youngsters, a policy he described as racist. So he wants the police there, but not to do anything. More convenient rot.
However, the lack-of-policing argument struck a chord when I asked a friend of mine about Jaden’s death. Dr Tony Sewell runs a charity called Generating Genius, which has (very successfully) dragged poor black kids out of the ghetto and got them into Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities. He’s also a member of the Policy Exchange think tank and happens to be the son of Jamaican immigrants.
“Lack of policing is the answer,” he told me. “Not by the police, but by the parents, if the kids have any at all.” Sewell gets very agitated about this business, rightly. “Why are we making excuses regarding the absence of the fathers from these families?” he asks. At least 50% of black children have no dad living at home. “The problem is nobody wants to go there, for political reasons. The police don’t want to go there; nor do the social workers, the politicians or the black community itself, which then complains that it is being victimised. And so it is never, ever addressed.”
In a sense, then, the death of Jaden Moodie and all those others is a little like the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: the root causes cannot be addressed because the various authorities are beholden to an ideology that precludes coming to a conclusion that could be construed as “racist”. Sewell also blames the myth of the brilliant African-Caribbean mum. Some black mothers do, indeed, work wonders despite the absence of a father; but not all can, and neither should they be required to. It is a culture that needs to change, for the sake of the children.
Then there’s the gangsta rap vids, posted on YouTube. “When there are interventions with problem black kids,” Sewell said, “it’s so often getting these youngsters to glorify gang culture by making rap videos. Isn’t this, you know, racist? The idea that all black kids have great rhythm and could be brilliant DJs? Is that all we have to offer?”
Little Jaden wasn’t filmed making a rap video — but he was photographed making the usual fatuous gangsta moves with his hands, and earlier seen posing holding wads of banknotes. The scumbags (not that much older) who knew him wanted him dead. It wasn’t an accident, a case of mistaken identity.
Fourteen years old. Born into utter hopelessness, with few prospects, because of a culture that another culture — the dominant, white, liberal culture — insists must not be gainsaid. You look at that kid in the photographs and think: where was Mum? More to the point, where was Dad? If we don’t ask those difficult questions, are we not complicit in these harrowing deaths?
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