I do not get out very much these days, but the glorious weekend weather persuaded me that I should spend a pleasant afternoon watching people stabbing each other at our annual celebration of stabbing, the Notting Hill Carnival. I go most years and enjoy the street food, the music and the sight of white police officers with fixed rictus grins ‘getting down’ with some vast-mammaried semi-clad mama, their helmets askew and rivulets of sweat running down each crisp white shirt. And of course the violence, the violence. I am delighted to say that in this regard 2016 did not disappoint, with more than 400 people arrested and five stabbed — and all for the very reasonable cost of just £7 million to the taxpayer.
I was slightly surprised that the new campaigning organisation ‘Black Lives Matter UK’ has not yet called for the carnival to be banned, as it seems to pose a rather more potent threat to black people than sitting in a police cell or being carted off to the nick in the back of a paddy wagon. It is true that a disproportionate number of black people suffer these latter two fates and a disproportionate number again are assaulted in both places. But not surely at such a rate— and the police rarely stab their victims, much preferring to punch them, strangle them or electrocute them.
The silence on this important issue from BLMUK seems to me a bit of an inconsistency, I have to say. But then inconsistency seems to be their watchword. Their first public action was to set up a blockade of major roads leading to our largest airports, but I am not sure how many black lives this saved in the end. Aeroplanes do crash from time to time and it is statistically likely that when they do so, some black people will be on board, but I am not sure that this is a racial injustice per se.
A better target, I would have thought, would be black-on-black crime — but it may be that the organisers have convinced themselves that this does not really exist. Six years ago I got into trouble with the Press Complaints Commission for a blogpost in which I stated that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of violent crimes in London were committed by black males. A few months after I was adjudicated against for purely political reasons, a Freedom of Information request by the Sunday Telegraph revealed the actual police figures and they concluded that I was ‘largely right on some of [my] claims’.
The majority of violent crimes committed by males in London were indeed committed by black males — 54 per cent of street crime, 59 per cent of robberies and 67 per cent of gun crime. I suppose you might quibble about my use of the word ‘overwhelming’, but not much else.
More to the point is the fact that black people suffer disproportionately from these crimes. In 2006 the Metropolitan Police Authority reported that 79 per cent of gun-crime suspects and, crucially, 75 per cent of the victims of gun crime, were from the ‘African-Caribbean’ community. Isn’t this where a Black Lives Matter campaign should begin — if not in the schools where a respec’ for gang culture thrives?
The story on the other side of the pond is much the same, if not worse. In 2012, the FBI’s figures suggest black males committed about 5,000 murders and white males about 4,200. Black males represent 6.6 per cent of the US population, white males 38 per cent. That is by any measure a huge disparity. And again, black males were disproportionately represented among the victims of murders by black males. More to the point, while an average of 120 black males are killed — justifiably or otherwise — by the US cops, the number killed by other black males is, on average, 4,472. Chicago’s death toll of black-on-black murders almost matches the total number of US servicemen killed in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The right-wing website Breitbart somewhat provocatively (you might argue) suggests that just one year of black-on-black murders easily eclipses the total number of black men lynched by whitey between 1882 and 1968. But still, Black Lives Matter gains traction with the authorities because it is politically too difficult to oppose. Even when BLM activists celebrate, with great jubilation, the murders of policemen in Baton Rouge, as happened recently.
A black Florida cop called Jay Stalien recently addressed all this business in a rather moving blogpost which quickly went viral. He had been motivated to join the force because of the carnage wreaked within his community by his own people, and the Black Lives Matter campaign appalled him. Stalien concluded: ‘I realised the African American community refuses to look within to solve its major issues, and instead makes excuses and looks outside for solutions. I realised that a lot of people in the African American community lead with hate, instead of love. Division instead of Unity. Turmoil and rioting instead of Peace. I realised that they have become the very entity that they claim they are fighting against.’
It is a trope for our times. Any organisation which, however speciously, claims victimhood status cannot be gainsaid by the politicians and the authorities. It does not matter how absurd or unjust their complaints. They will be listened to, they will get grants and their moment in the sun. No matter how misguided or blind to the real causes for their unhappiness.
Incidentally, the campaigning organisation ‘White Lives Matter’ has recently been designated a ‘hate group’ in the US. Mind you, they do seem to comprise exclusively of angry, shaven-headed bayou-dwelling crackers who have still to understand that white sheets are best deployed on a divan, rather than over one’s head.