Question: when is a racist attack not a racist attack?
Answer: when the BBC reports it.
On Saturday 16 February 2002 at 12:44 pm BBC Online reported breaking news that: “A white teenager severely beaten in an alleged racist attack in Oldham, has died from his injuries.”
Two hours later though someone had carefully edited the story. Instead of being described as “racist” the assault was simply characterised as a “street attack” and buried halfway down the page, beneath a story about England’s cricket defeat. Any mention of its racial overtones had been edited out, even the fact that the victim was white.
Despite the fact that the incident took place in Oldham, an area of simmering racial tension, the BBC seemed at pains to minimise its racial implications.
Now contrast this with the way the media tried to maximise the racial element in the killing of Stephan Lawrence. As we pointed out in the first issue Lawrence’s killing was not primarily racially motivated: it was a gang initiation rite whereby prospective members had to stab someone in order to prove themselves. They had indeed stabbed a white guy on the same street the previous month but he failed to press charges, being intimidated by his white attackers. This fact was largely glossed over in Macpherson’s report on Lawrence’s murder and totally ignored by the mainstream media, who went out of their way to emphasise its racial connotations.
All of which reminds this writer of the comments of a young cousin visiting from Zimbabwe. Like this writer of mixed race, she returned one night from nightclubbing in a state of shock: “Why were white English women throwing themselves at black men”, she asked?
“Because”, answered her Asian fiancée, they had been “conditioned to behave that way.”
In other words: outsiders can see it, but Britons are blind to how brainwashed they’ve become regarding race.
Last updated 05/09/2003