Saturday, 13 June 2020
The worldwide anger resulting from the killing in police custody of George Floyd has so far been very supportive of the Black Lives Matter and anti racist causes. In the UK it reached its apex in the toppling of the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.
A reappraisal of the teaching of history, the role of colonisation and empire and the continued of discrimination against minority ethnic groups in the UK and elsewhere are all now now firmly on the agenda.
We must now move on, not by forgetting about it and turning to whatever next catches the public imagination, but by keeping it on the agenda.
Among other things we must bombard the media, MPs, councillors and other opinion formers with questions related to the issue.
What steps are being taken to reduce racism in our police force, why are BAME people over-represented in our prisons but under-represented in the top professions, subject to proportionally more "stop and secrecy", than other groups,what progress is being made on the reform of the history curriculum etc?
Above all,how can our Home Office continue to justify its cruel and inhumane "hostile environment " policy.
We must not let the momentum created by Mr Floyd's killing run into the sands, as has happens so often before.
The danger is that further demonstrations today, particularly if there is violence of vandalism, will allow the right wing to turn the debate from one of racism, where they are on the defensive, to one of law and order, on which public opinion will be on their side.
So no more statue toppling, please. As argued in the previous post, where it doesn't already exist we need a democratic way of settling who should be memorialised by peaceful discussion, which will have the welcome bonus of being highly educational.