London as an island of peace and tranquillity is experiencing a makeover. Black temper, that disjunctive and ugly birth mark of all black people is accelerating the black community and their children to an early death. We are in the throes of a mournful slippage from the Olympian height of moral, cultural and social regeneration to barbaric and brutish butchery through blade attacks that is driving the black community into real despair on a massive scale.
This black madness, this black anarchy, this black nihilism, this black rebelliousness, this black against black killings signalled the end of our racial credibility in a cynical Europe that has not hidden its stereotype of the black man as an eponymous human apparition, a Nilotic beast, an uncivilised nincompoop and the despised migrant with no education, history, culture and manners. The ‘knifefest’ which the black British teenagers are celebrating with juvenile pomp recalls that jungle syndrome which is at the heart of every abhorrent racial narrative of black stereotyping. The British media, both print and broadcast have taken on the mantle of prejudiced arbiter and are daily refashioning territorially reductive polarisation of us and them syndrome which further lead the British society into an arcane realms of racial tensions, dehumanising comparison and stronger repressive prescriptions.
The trust and credibility mileage gained over the years by older black members through the rejection of rebellious, offending, macho, aggressive and confrontational attitude against written white ethos and Anglo-Saxon cultural values are now under demeaning re-evaluation by the same white conservatives who have characteristically pile blame on the damaged foundation of black family values. Some of their denunciations of black family values may be trenchant but the validity of their truth is unquestionable.
The emergence of black underclass discourse, an aberrant in a continent of plenty, started to gain prominence in the USA during Reagan years and later its powerful argument waltzed across the Atlantic into the United Kingdom. Underclass evangelist, the heavily bearded Marion Magnet wrote a seminal book on the subject called, The Dream and the Nightmare. I read this book in my Fort Knox one-roomed retreat in Ijaiye Ojokoro three years ago. Magnet’s argument, despite hoary liberal protestations, is that underclass exists and is disproportionately composed of inner city blacks. He reasoned that “inner city children grow up in households of single welfare mothers who are incapable of teaching them the cultural values of hard work, thrift and individual responsibility—the very values needed to climb out poverty.”
To me his radical retelling of the cultural emptiness of black family values which ship into mindless crime and orgy of violence may touch our anger nerves as black fathers and mothers, but to say otherwise would have given comfort to political correcting band of liberals who mainly blame race as the root of black crime.
In Britain, the culture and dress code among black youth is derived mainly from what I will describe as Jamaican “downtown” attitude and “bashment” style. The socio-economic backgrounds of those pioneering, “Windrushed” arrival of the Fifties is rural underclass. In the inner city enclaves of Battersea, Brixton, Moss Side, Peckham, Plumstead, Stratford, Streatham and Norwood, what still rules heart and mind are the norms and codes of working class Jamaicans. They lead in territorial gang membership, single motherhood, absent fatherism and rule the underground gun cartel. Guns began to bob up in the black community in the Eighties and early Nineties, mainly to protect the powerful “yardie” drug outlaws and enforce their British cocaine operations. Since then the proliferation of guns in this small island has not let up.
This subversive culture and the overpowering influence of counter culture of MTV Base, the R&B, hip-hop, garage, raga that so many black youngsters watch created a predominantly illusionary gangster culture of bling and the deification of gun as a badge of macho. The mean-looking posters of Tupac and 50cents are hung on unsupervised room as a reminder of who rule their young and gullible world. Black teenagers have been accused of embracing cultural nihilism with their obsession for rebellious music of rap lyrics. They have been pilloried for listening to rap and aping the mannerisms of black rap artistes to gain respect for ‘street cred’.
Then small time criminals began to re-educate black teenagers on the futility of acting white which means a rejection of Western education and their cultural ‘superiority’ for a more urban, no fear, hard, rebellious, niggardly, knife totting ‘rudeboy’ image idolised by the girl next door and respected in sink estates turf battlefields. London has now become the epicentre of this battlefield. It is the new mortuary where black parents go to identify their children caught in turf knife action. Young, black blood now flows freely in the inner city tributaries of tranquil London. In homes, offices, pubs, lounges, and shopping malls, the murderous deaths in the black community is the talk of the town. London is under siege from the brutishness of black British blade madness.
The neo-liberals, conservatives, psychologists, child support agency, sociologists, psychiatrics, Police, career counsellors, self-appointed black leaders and even grave stone designers have proffered opinions ranging from the mendacious to brutal truth. The British Daily Telegraph, Mail and Evening Standard, all racist sheets, have denounced the aggressive genetic fault line of the black race. In their characteristically uncharitable tone, they accused the blacks of pandering, at the drop of a hat, to demonic rage which leads the possessed to commit murder. Also, a macabre racist undertone of the unwanted barbarians is gaining ground. They are now saying that since our teenagers are still chained to genetic barbarity of rural, pre-modern Africa, it is time to get lost to our old jungle.
It is sad that as ambassadors in foreign land, the black race have fared worse. In fact, a 1996 study by Ceri Peach of Oxford University predicted with clinical accuracy that, whereas the Asians in Britain could look forward to a future of accomplishments, blacks however faced a bleaker future. Twelve solid years after Peach’s prophecy, the black community is still mourning ‘heroes’ who died standing. Fresh names are competing for space on gravestones in London graveyards. Our black teenagers need to re-engage and embrace the values of hard work, obedience to law and order, respect for parents and teachers and above all a rejection of cultural nihilism coded into rap music.