Rod Liddle, Times of London, June 14, 2009
Perhaps it will come as a vague consolation to the parents of Ben Kinsella that he was not murdered for racial reasons, but simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as they say. Ben, aged 16, who was white, was stabbed to death by three black men near a nightclub in north London; there was no apparent motive for the murder.
If you were a cynic you might argue that if a black kid had been stabbed to death by three white men in an otherwise motiveless attack then the community centre would already have been built by now and the grieving parents recognised in the honours lists.
It is good that we are quick to become enraged by violent white racism, that it appals us and makes us examine our society, claw away in an attempt to discover those subterranean causes. But what of this, apparently, non-racist murder? Just as much brutal honesty is required to confront it, I think. Maybe more.
The truth is, violent white-on-black crime is a rarity in Britain, by comparison–although white-on-Asian crime is rather less so. The overwhelming bulk of violent street crime in London is committed by young black men, and in numerous cases against white people, although one would not impute a racial motive; the statistics suggest that young black male criminals are quite happy to stab or shoot anybody who hoves into view with either a bulging wallet, a mobile phone or an assumed reflection of disrespec’ in their eyes.
Apologies if this offends–but that’s how it is. At most, the African Caribbean population of London is about 12% of the whole. But black males are responsible for nearly 60% of arrests for robbery–and the overwhelming majority of gun crime, most of it black-on-black violence.
We skirt this issue, mostly for decent, if deluding reasons–that a proportion of young black males is more likely to commit violent crime than other sectors of the population. It is a form of racism, though, to assume that the problem is simply a given, and unalterable–but we have been hamstrung in our attempts to deal with it for reasons of political correctness.
The propensity of some young black males to underachieve at school and later commit crimes of violence has been seen for too long as a roguish expression of cultural diversity, exacerbated by our own inherent racism and economic oppression; in other words, it’s not their fault. Indeed the culture of violence, misogyny and epic drug abuse, exemplified in rap music, has been lapped up by a bovine liberal white culture that finds the vibrancy and “edginess” of gangsta rap something in which we should all exult and indeed emulate.
At the same time, we are reluctant to draw attention to the fatherless families in our black communities, the absence of male role models and teachers, even though we know that this is not a good thing, as we increasingly realise it is not a good thing for white boys either. We have been shy of condemning this demeaned culture for fear of being branded racist; too quick to make excuses when the education statistics arrive and show black males right down at the bottom, even below poor whites. But not black females, note; they do well at school and are high achievers later on too. This is only a racist thing if you make it a racist thing.
There is a horrible symmetry to the case of Ben Kinsella. He foresaw, in a school essay, that he might one day be stabbed to death in the street, although he was too nice a kid to suggest that the perpetrators would be black.
His assailants, meanwhile, quite incapable of writing an essay, had demonstrated their own commitment to the eventual murder by having previously been variously convicted of extreme, nihilistic violence, robbery and selling drugs. All parties were set on a trajectory which was to end in Ben’s death. In his last moments, Ben asked of the young men wielding the knives why they had picked on him. No sentient answer was forthcoming, apparently.