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Our response in the UK to America's racist police killings should be to protest the same thing happening here


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Just a few days ago, hundreds of people took to the streets of Britain in support of the US 'Black Lives Matter' movement, a resistance group against police brutality and, specifically, the unlawful, seemingly targeted killing of black people.

The latest shootings of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling have acted as the catalyst for this fresh wave of demonstrations which have now spilled over to the UK.

Black Lives Matter protest

In a stirring show of solidarity, UK crowds chanted phrases such as “hands up, don’t shoot” and “no racist police”.

The shootings of Castille and Sterling bring the tally of black people killed by the police in the US to a whopping 138 this year alone. In the US young black men are nine times as more likely to be shot by the police than other citizens.

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement is a human concern and takes a moral position; the UK’s stance with the US on this, is both poignant and progressive. History tells us that, in order for most positive changes to come about, there first needs to be an amalgamation of people who share the same goal.

With that said, there is no shortage of targeted police brutality cases within the UK, though our context is fundamentally different from those in America.

Seldom do demonstrations take place surrounding justice for victims; media coverage and extensive social media commentary on such matters is minimal. When similar tragedies strike overseas, the response is different.

Across the last 25 years, over 500 Black and Minority Ethnic individuals have died under suspicious circumstances in the UK while under state detention. Studies by the Institute of Race Relations reflect that the majority of these deaths have happened in prison, for which no officials have ever been convicted. This is a huge problem.

Here’s the thing: in the UK, racism and discrimination have a modern legacy of being more covert than the US; it’s discreet and institutionalised here.

Add that to the more rigid gun control within the Metropolitan police force and you’ll have the general consensus to deflect these issues (as demonstrated below) or worse, ignore them altogether. It is quite normal, to believe what is seen; the perceived flagrance of the US Police and readily accessible footage of the plight of many of their victims is as compelling and audacious, as it is unacceptable.

With that said; transatlantic unification is great. Awareness is powerful, but more of that is needed, right here.

Now, there have been a few occasions where a greater sense of awareness of targeted police brutality appeared evident, such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstration which took place in Birmingham last Saturday which was largely about Kingsley Burrell (2011) on what would’ve been his 35th birthday.

Some demonstrations took place when UK reggae legend Smiley Culture (2011) died under suspicious circumstances while being detained by the police.

When Dorothy ‘Cherry’ Groce was unlawfully shot by the police in 1985, this sparked the infamous ‘Brixton Riots’.

Mark Duggan’s shooting sparked the London riots in 2011 which started out as a genuine response to the situation before morphing into displays of thievery and opportunism in wider parts of London.

Aside from the above and other similar examples, the deeply pretentious stance of all too many Brits – particularly the BAME community – has reigned supreme.

It is my thought, however, that the UK’s current, increasingly anti-immigrant and racist climate and post Brexit rhetoric such as ‘take our country back’ heralds a rude awakening for all, including those who may not acknowledge the crises of racial and social inequalities and all of its manifestations – including targeted police brutality.

Stormzy made an astute and eloquent summary of the matter as it pertains to both the US and UK on his social media pages last Friday: “Don’t be the stupid idiot who thinks because we live in the UK that black people don't experience racism from the police, don't be so flipping naive.”

I wish I had the answers to solve the fuckery that's going on right now but tbh I don't have a clue...all I can do is urge everyone to do more, that's what I'm gonna do. Protest, march, donate, speak out, call out bullshit, build within your community, help those in need etc. whatever it is that needs to be done. And don't be the stupid idiot who thinks because we live in the UK that this isn't an issue for us to take on, don't be the stupid idiot who thinks because we live in the UK that black people don't experience racism from the police, don't be so flipping naive. We have black brothers and sisters dying in the states and we'd be cowards to just brush it off, this is all of our problems. That could easily be me or my lil brother or my sisters, I ain't waiting for this poisonous, weak, racist, trigger happy mentality to spread around the world before we do something. Stop killing my fucking people smh, I won't even lie, when the first series of police killing black people sprung up I thought smh this is fucked and had a passive attitude towards it but as times gone on you have to just think...are these racist Feds just gonna wake up everyday and kill innocent black people? Like'm gonna kill a black kid and get away with it've lost your fucking mind mate. We ain't having it anymore, fuck that. This isn't a black vs white thing either, don't let them twang you into thinking it's that, but what I will say is that no one should be sitting back and watching this. If you choose to turn a blind eye to this you're a part of the problem, regardless of your skin colour. This isn't me speaking out because it looks politically correct or because it's the right thing to do coz I proper couldn't give a flying fuck tbh. this is coming from Michael a black man who has had enough of racist dickheads thinking they can wake up and kill my people. You can't, we ain't having it no more. Do your bit. Enough is enough mate, I ain't waiting till a fed kills one of my bredrins before I rise up. And please stop thinking this is a strictly American thing you dumb fucks, Feds have been violating the mandem for YEARS. Smh.

A photo posted by #MERKY (@stormzyofficial) on

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