I remember as a teenager shouting at the TV as politicians and police representatives discussed the Stephen Lawrence murder case during a programme of BBC’s question-time with Dimpleby, four years after Stephen was murdered. I was so angry at the complacency of the Police that I emailed the programme to ask for answers on what steps were being taken to re open a case because of fundamental errors in the original investigation, errors caused by outright racism. I remember thinking what an amazing woman she was to have coped with the loss of her son and find strength to follow her conviction that the police did not do all that they could to bring her son’s killers to justice.
Now 21 years later an enquiry has finally confirmed Mrs Lawrence’s (now Baroness) suspicions. One of the DS’s working on the case admitted to having corrupt connections with the father of one of the killers (who was finally convicted 19 years after Stephen’s death). We still have a problem with racism today and the only way that issue can be tackled is through education, so if a child has racist parents, these views are at least counter-acted at school.
My parents are racist and so are my in-laws, sadly they are of the generation that caused them to be ignorant of other cultures, mainly due to poor education (regardless of state or private education). It can not just be put down to age, the lady across the road from me was born in the same year as me but her views date back to the 1800s. She says that she would hate to have a ‘half caste baby’. I try to limit my interaction with her to zero for obvious reasons.
At work ( which is a business in the luxury sector), I could count the number of black people on one hand. They are currently seeking a deputy CEO and I am hoping the person they select is a) a woman and b) black, just to make-up for the fact that the rest of the business is a weak representation of modern UK society.
Stephen Lawrence did not die in vain. It is a sad fact in the way us humans operate that action is very often preceded by tragedy. In this case there were multiple tragedies, beginning with Stephen’s death and ending with the number of years it took for his family to find justice. But if Doreen had been a weaker mother and wilted under the pressure, Stephen’s killers would still be free, racism would me more entrenched and more murders would have been committed. Stephen, Doreen and their family have made a lasting impact on society and empowered others who feel wronged to stand-up for their rights, no matter how long they have to wait for justice.
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Thanks for reading.