Another black kid died on Boxing day. Stabbed in the heart by one of his peers after an argument over sneakers. Pointless, but someone saw fit to pull out a knife on Seydou Diarrassouba on the busy side-walk of Oxford Street.
If reports that he may have had gang affiliations prove to be true, it’s a case of living and dying by the sword, something that too many young urban black males in the UK are becoming too familiar with.
Why? The code of the streets? Poverty? Poor families at home? A poor educational system?A prevalent Hip Hop culture? I have heard all of the excuses and possible causes, and yet the senseless violence continues and we are no closer to a solution.
During and after the summer riots, I watched as one after the other, so called “black leaders”, representatives, youth workers, politicians and even self-ordained “bishops” wax lyric and spout hot air. As predictable as clock-work, some came out to get face time in the media. They spoke out against government cuts in social programs, that directly affected the youths in areas that needed them most. While I don’t believe we should look to anyone other than families to take responsibility for their children, these programs when ran correctly go a long way to make differences in the life’s of deprived inner city youths.
Still, programmes, youth clubs and social workers or police officers will never take the place of a caring and responsible family for these youngsters and that is why I’m beginning to think, we may have already lost a section of a whole generation to a beast. The beast is the nihilism and warped culture of the streets, and how it feeds into and off of the ranker elements of black pop culture. I don’t want to give up, but on days like boxing day, part of me did for a moment.
And here is what I find even more frightening. They will go on to be parents themselves, how do we save the generation coming after? I don’t have an answer and I don’t know if anyone has.
Again I point at homes and parents it all starts there. You have to know where your children are at all times, you take an interest in them, meet their friends, set guidelines, after all, if humans don’t care about the lives of children, then children won’t care about the lives of humans.
Seydou Diarrassouba was no saint and it’s emerging that he was part of a South London street gang who had set out to go on a shop lifting spree that day. Court records show he appeared in court last week on a robbery charge and was facing a trial this year, after he was arrested for robbing a 16 year boy for his Blackberry.
To hear his family, Seydou was the golden boy. Part of their public statement read: “Seydou kept us upright and now we feel weak as we have lost a very special part of us. Life seems meaningless without our special son and brother.”
I like to believe every child is precious to their loved ones and that their love is unconditional, but at one point does a family stop being in denial and start to be proactive in the lives of their younger ones? When do we Black people as a race stop blaming our problems on others? Take a pick, we hear it all the time. It’s the white man, the government, the councils, bankers, Conservative party’s fault. For heavens-sake even the looters during the riots blamed everyone-else for their criminal acts. It has to stop!
It’s like everybody is waiting for some fairy godmother to sprinkle stardust and change the parents, make black fathers stay and young black women either use contraception or keep their damn legs closed.
Growing up, my parents always knew where we were. They knew our friends and in most cases wanted to know their parents. My dad did take it a bit too far on some occasions and I remember him deciding a young Chinese boy from Hong Kong, was not good enough to be included in my younger brothers circle of friends, because not only was his mother a single parent, but she wore her skirts too short. He begrudgingly agreed to the friendship, because of my mothers influence. Ironically my parents were to divorce years later and my mum became a single parent. But even then, there was very little we got away with.
Family dysfunction is not a cause for murder, if that was the case, there would be a lot more. Our children have no one to count on. There has to be volunteers for programs to exist and there has to be more black male adult participation.
Sure a few programs such as 100 Black Men of London already exist. The mayor’s Black Boy Mentoring programme was formed last year but has been dogged with controversy, stemming from the left by it’s detractors. Hackneys, very own Dave Hill has become the head mayor chaser at City Hall, in his quest to hunt down Boris Johnson any which way and perpetual angry black dude Lee Jasper, appears to have a bone to grind.
Listen, the whole set up of the Black Boy Mentoring programme sounds dodgy to me, it smacks of cronysim, self interest and the Etonian school tie, but you know what, I don’t give a damn or have I become so jaded with politics, that i just assume they are all out for themselves. I say support it and volunteer. Anything is better than nothing especially at the moment, when funding for social programmes is so thin on the ground.
And why is funding so thin? Because it’s young black men killing each other? Because the goverment assume most of them weren’t going to be productive members of society so they are disposable? They claim to be keeping us safe from Al Qaeda, but not not children in this country from each other? Nice one Dave.
And Seydou Diarrassouba and gang members? Try as I try I won’t lay all the blame on these wannabe bad asses, They live in a f*****d-up world where black is white and white is black, and where there is all kinds of grey in between. Our elected politicians help themselves to as much goodies as they can and they don’t keep their promises to us, so I guess it’s easy for them to rationalise away morality and basic human decency when everything around them is driven, by shallow consumerism and a live for the moment ethos. In their minds the future is now.
There is no long term education plans, no career, wife, kids, and a two up two down terraced house anywhere in their dreams. Just joining their home boys, hanging around or hoping that their mother’s don’t cry too much at their funerals or court trials.