Posted by: griot | 12 April, 2007

The Slaughter

I’ve never known a year like it.  Knife crime and gun crime are both increasing on the Britain streets with devastating consequences. Young Black males being killed by young Black males on London’s streets has now become a dreadfully common occurence.  What’s it all about? Territory? Poverty? Lack of role models or as PM Blair says “a  distinctive Black culture”?

All of the above play a role, in my opinion, although I’m uncomfortable with agreeing with the Prime Minister, because I feel we are likely to be coming from different places even if the headline may be the same.  The particular Black culture that is being glamourised and promoted on media outlets that are not Black owned, so its not just our responsibility.  The Black community has to go to Government for the resources which are necessary to address this complex issue, so the Government cannot just increase Police patrols to deal with the aftermath, the causes have to be identified and addressed by society as a whole.  Although, the vast majority of the victims are Black, it is the same madness that resulted in the senseless and brutal murder of Tom ap Rhys Pryce, so it is not just our problem.

I believe that there is one thing that should be included in any serious discourse about the destructive and violent thread running through the Black youth culture in Britain’s streets, yet is, for the most part, absent.   In my opinion, any honest discussion on the greater propensity of Black youth to kill each other than other communities, would have to consider the affects of chattel slavery on the Black psyche.   Having a common enemy, and in our case that should be racism, is usually enough to bind a community together however tenuously.  It doesn’t do that, for young Blacks, even though they share a greater likelihood of being excluded from school, being unemployed or imprisoned.  I refuse to accept that we are genetically predisposed to be this way, but instead its something we learn, we learn that our greatest enemy is someone who looks just like us and is just as low on the foodchain as we are.

I am including a link to a brilliant short film that will give you an insight in the self loathing that Black people have, that contributes to Black youth killing each other so readily.  I know this is an American piece and that it focuses on young females, but it is equally relevant to Black people (males and females) in Britain.

Lets get that discussion going.


The Griot



  1. I like the blog Griot. The world seems to be getting smaller and smaller – and in a sense it is – as some of the same issues that you bring up happen to be at the very center of debates going on over here.

    One thing that has always surprised me, and you do well to bring it up, is the little emphasis in discussions laid upon culture, specifically rap and gangster rap culture, in the development of young men. I think we are only fooling ourselves if we believe that young people can successfully mimic the manner, style and dress of ‘musicians’, down to the the last article and accessory, and yet not in some way act out that which is glorified – thug violence – by way of the very same cultural vehicles(rap songs and videos).

    I don’t know if you have heard over there, but the recent comments of a White, nationally syndicated radio and tv dj(Don Imus), have caused a storm over here. He called the predominantly Black female athletes, among other things, “nappy haired ho’s”, using the lyrics of rappers as his defense. The latest is that he lost his job yesterday. Also, it’s early days still, but the dj’s words seem to have galvanised the Black community into action where they were previously getting little traction with the big record execs. If only …


  2. This is a topic that has been burning in me, especially over the last month or so, how many more stories of our youth destroying each other – physically as well emotionally,will we wake up to?
    The knock on effect of what is seen is endless and the invisible, crippling.

    When I think about what is happening, I think back to the political climate back in the eighties? I recall as a child, young girls having babies to entitle them to be housed by the government, I saw this in my own extended family. Are we not now seeing a product of that time?

    Babies having babies without a family structure or responsible, experienced figurehead within the four walls. Was this not just the script being prepared for the scene that’s being played out today? These babies are now killing each other and so we continue our campaign of self destuction to feed our critics.

    I have a nephew of that time that has been to prison and another about to be sentenced. Thank God they’re alive but what an alternative to be grateful for!

    It’s been scripted and yes, I believe government policy has played a significant part in it and now the horse has bolted.
    I don’t have complete answers, however I do think we can improve our situation in small ways by being actively involved with our youth. If we can help them to have a sense of self worth and deeper knowledge of who they are and who /what they could be. Surely we can write a new script.

    Those of us with business experience can certainly help. Tap into local groups to see how you might engage and make a difference. Local schools, police stations are good places to start and we all know where to find these establishments. Just ask the question – “I want to help, what can I do?” We CAN change the climate by creating positive images of who we are as a race, we may not see the difference now but in 20 years time, I’d like to feel that someone can look back and reflect on a this time and say that our generation helped.


  3. I like your blog. I know what you mean about agreeing with Blair but at the same being annoyed at the fact that he has actually said something about it.

    For me, it goes harks back to the same old argument: are we Brits or not. If we are, part of the community, then is it not a problem for the community at large? Are we expected to solve this overwhelming problem(s) by ourselves with the other communities just standing by, looking on while we self destruct?

    I hate the way we becoming more and more fragmented to the point that I even wonder: is there a black community? But that’s another story.

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