Racial Hatred

Racial hatred is an ugly, wretched blight on our society.

It comprises many manifestations of bigoted and discriminatory behaviour, some of which have been quietly ignored, unofficially tolerated or actively encouraged, by various groups and organisations at different times throughout our history.

The true extent of this ugliness has been brought into sharp focus once again this week with the sentencing of two men in connection with the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence, a mere 18 years after the event.

It is widely documented that had the relevant police authorities taken the appropriate action at the time, and not made certain misguided assumptions, it would never have taken such a long time to bring two of the gang to justice.

This has been an outrageously disgusting story.

One of the better outcomes of this despicable case is that significant changes were made to the policing and criminal justice system to prevent similar situations arising in the same way again.

Institutional racism was challenged in a way it had never been challenged before.

This can only be a good thing, provided that it is not short lived and that there is a real and honest ambition to eradicate racial hatred from every facet of our society.

My concern is that there will always be individuals who have been brought up outside the rational space of responsibility and consequence that the majority of us inhabit.

There will always be individuals who find themselves in situations from which they believe they will never escape, except through a life of crime and violence. If indeed they have any desire to escape it in the first place.

Their space is often full of irrational hatred of others, particularly those who do not suit their mould or fit their image.

This suggests that racial hatred, just like religious hatred, will remain with us for as long as we hold the political, economic and social frameworks in place that created their possibility in the first place.

The Stephen Lawrence case has been described as a watershed in British society.

But the worrying thing is, no matter how high profile this case has been, it won’t change the deeply held attitudes and beliefs of the majority of people who already think and behave in this vile manner.

Tomorrow morning they will wake up and still think and feel the same. Their hatred won’t disappear and it will impact the rest of us at different times and in different ways.

Until we completely overhaul the unjust, elitist economic, political and social frameworks that have created the backdrop of many of our beliefs and attitudes, their irrational space of no consequence will continue to exist, and inevitably spill into our space again and again.

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