Friday, February 05, 2010

"I'm in the global justice squad, and we've been working on human rights in Burma"

I suppose the only surprise is that it's taken so long to get there. Perhaps "citizenship" had to be made compulsory first.

"It is easy to become complacent about equality and diversity, just ticking the boxes," he says. "The Stephen Lawrence Standard takes monitoring very seriously, constantly checking on students' involvement, the work going on and its results."

The original award was quick off the mark after the 1999 Macpherson report recommended such strategies in all education authorities, but Edwards points out: "Quick is a relative term. Remember Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993."

There are 12 criteria in the toolkit all schools are now being urged by Balls to adopt, including mandatory anti-racist training for staff and governors, a written equality policy, and individual checks on successes and setbacks for minority pupils. The system has three levels, from standard 1 to the top, standard 3.

There'll always be room for initiatives like this in schools, but don't expect to see any like this over here, btw :

The study appears in the February edition of Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. It was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and involved 662 black children in Philadelphia. The students were assigned to one of four options: eight hour-long abstinence-only classes; safe-sex classes; classes incorporating both approaches; or classes in general healthy behaviour. Results for the first three classes were compared with the control group that had only the general health classes.

Two years later, about one-third of abstinence-only students said they had had sex since the classes ended, compared with about 49%of the control group. Sexual activity rates in the other two groups did not differ from the control group.

Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Programme, said she hoped the study would revive government interest in abstinence-only sex education. The research was led by psychologist John Jemmott III, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who has long studied ways to reduce risky behaviour among inner-city youngsters.

(My views on the undoubted evil of racist murder are here. I need to post this for the benefit of any readers who might presume, quite reasonably, that the MacPherson enquiry had good cause to declare the Met 'institutionally racist'.

In fact, no credible evidence of police racism was brought before the MacPherson enquiry, which was precisely why they invented the hitherto unknown concept of "unconscious or unwitting" institutional racism.

The MacPherson report was the high-water mark of liberal white idiocy in relation to race. Never before have so many educated English breasts been beaten for so much non-existent racism. It's not as if there's a shortage of the real thing.

I'd recommend people to take a look at the paper "Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics" by Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi, available as a pdf download from Civitas.

It's top stuff, well-written and an easy read. I'll just quote the summary.

The public inquiry set up under the chairmanship of Sir William Macpherson sometimes had the appearance of a judicial proceeding, but in many crucial respects it departed from practices which have traditionally been regarded as essential in English law. Rules of evidence were modified and witnesses were harassed, both by the members of the inquiry team and by the crowd in the public gallery. Representatives of the Metropolitan Police were asked to ‘confess’ to charges of racism, even if only in their private thoughts. They were even asked to testify to the existence of the racist thoughts of other people. It is part neither of the English judicial process nor of English public inquiries to put people on trial for their thoughts. The proceedings bore some resemblance to the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s.

However, no evidence of racism on the part of the police was ever produced. There was no attempt to show that the Metropolitan Police Service was racist in the sense of being formally structured to put members of ethnic minorities at a disadvantage. Nor was any evidence produced that individual officers dealing with the murder of Stephen Lawrence had displayed racism, unless one includes the use of words like ‘coloured’ which are currently out of favour with professional race relations lobbyists. No evidence was produced to indicate that the police would have handled the investigation differently had the victim been white.

In spite of this, the Macpherson report found the Metropolitan Police, and British society generally, guilty of ‘institutional’ or ‘unwitting’ racism. This claim was justified by referring to ‘other bodies of evidence’ to that collected at the public inquiry, including a list of publications consulted which in many cases had nothing to do with the Lawrence case, and sometimes nothing to do with the UK at all.

Some of the Macpherson report’s proofs of racism were circular and self-reinforcing. To question whether the murder of Stephen Lawrence was a purely racist crime was, in itself, adduced as evidence of racism. This was despite the fact that the suspects had been accused of violent offences against white people and were heard, in tape recordings made of their private conversations, to express violent hatred against white people. The tape recordings were quoted selectively, and this crucial fact does not appear in the Macpherson report.

The Macpherson inquiry, unable to find evidence of racism, produced a definition of racism that at first glance absolved it from producing any. It switched attention, in one direction, away from racist conduct and towards organisational failure. The ineffectiveness of the police had (purportedly) been demonstrated. That ineffectiveness concerned a racist crime. Therefore the ineffectiveness was due to police racism. It switched attention, in the other direction, away from observable conduct, words or gestures and towards the police officer’s ‘unwitting’ thoughts and conduct. But how could the Macpherson inquiry know what was in an officer’s unconscious mind—except through the failure of the police to be effective in the investigation of a racist crime? This definition puts charges of racism outside the boundaries of proof or rebuttal.

The Macpherson report has had a detrimental impact on policing and crime, particularly in London. Police morale has been undermined. Certain procedures which impact disproportionately on ethnic groups, like stop and search, have been scaled down. The crime rate has risen. Nevertheless, the Macpherson report has been received with almost uncritical approval by pundits, politicians and academics. It is still routinely described as having ‘proved’ that the police and British society are racist.