Instead of the usual round up of stuff. We have a variety of statements to ask (directed at noone in particular).
They are often unpalatable questions mainly about religion but one is cultural and regards demographics in my local area. We'll split them over a couple of posts so you don't get bogged down.
I hope you don't take offence but in case your all fired up to take offence, take a look at this video first and then come back with an open mind.
If Stephen Lawrence lived and died in the same circumstances today, due to demographics, he would be more likely to die in black on black related crime than as a result of a racist attack.
There is a current, ongoing court case, based on new DNA evidence found through new sequencing techniques, which means that this is headline news again. I can't point fingers or accuse but what I will say is this, in true CSI style we will let the evidence decide if they are guilty or not and leave it to the lawyers to bicker over whether its legitimate transfer evidence or contaminated in storage.
For those uninitiated with the incident, the original crime took place in Well Hall in 1993, and was a totally unprovoked racially motivated crime. Stephen was stabbed twice with a 12" knife, and despite there being several eyewitnesses, the case collapsed and the main suspects were acquitted. The Daily Mail calling the main suspects murderers and threatened them to sue for defamation. There is a plaque set in the ground to commemorate where he eventually collapsed and died. It is under video surveillance and woe betide anyone who messes with it.
Fast forward 18 years and a lot has changed. For once the BNP isn't as strong as it was here, thanks mainly to the closure of the BNPs bookshop in Upper Wickham Lane. I've blogged about this before, but mainly it wasn't a landmark to the right for local folk, just a squalid little house with blue shutters that took up space that could be used for regular housing or retail. I'm not sure how or indeed why it was closed in the end, I have memories of seeing a news report that it was structually unsound and had to close, but that could be just a bad memory. Anyway in the prevailing 18 years our demographics have changed completely.
When I was little, there was precious few non white people here, and those that were were almost exclusively asians. There was a largeish community of Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis something that wouldn't change to about mid 2000's, and only a few folk from the Afro Caribbean community. To be honest, Stephen Lawrences murder wasn't the only racially motivated killing in our area. There was also Rolan Adams* and Rohit Duggall, but these have been largely forgotten about and are never mentioned, ever.
In about 2004 - 2005 we started seeing more Africans appear along with Eastern Europeans. Lewisham always used to be the place where there was a large Afro Caribbean stronghold and over time they moved into the surrounding suburbs especially Thamesmead and Plumstead. We also, due to this change in demographics, got a lot more black on black crime, with a few kids murdered in gang related crime. There are probably still some racists here, you'll never totally eradicate that sort of mindset, but they are definitely less of them around. As an example, most of the places I new as a kid including the Coronet Cinema in Woolwich, are now Evangelist churches, which shows how much the population has changed over time.
So in short, due to population changes, Stephen Lawrence would, if he was a teenager today, be more at risk from black on black violence than racist attacks.