Arrests made for racially-aggravated attack on black NHS worker
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday August 25 2020
Earlier this month, two teenagers were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following what was described as a “hit-and-run” attack on a black NHS worker in Bristol, which left him with a broken leg, nose, and cheekbone. The police are treating the attack as racially-aggravated because of the language used by the suspects during the incident.
The Black Lives Matter movement cast light not only on the unacceptable deaths of Black people at the hands of the police across the globe, but also the wider injustices they face throughout society. This recent attack highlights the pervasiveness of the threat faced by Black communities in the UK. It also illustrates the need for both a reassessment of the protections available to protect minority communities against abuse, as well as the need for increased emphasis to be placed upon educational initiatives aimed at ensuring future generations are given the opportunity to develop identities centred on the shared histories and shared legacy of the vital contributions of all in society.
However, it remains difficult to ignore the section of political and media commentators who use their platforms to polarise society and obfuscate the significance of Black Lives Matter, as well as the contributions of and challenges facing the UK’s BAME communities. Nigel Farage, is one such example who described a peaceful procession calling attention to the atrocities of the British Empire as: “terrifying scenes in Brixton today. A paramilitary-style force marching in the streets. This is what the BLM movement wanted from the start and it will divide our society like never before.” This attempt to militarise minority community identities and present them as physical threats to public safety follows his previous comparison of Black Lives Matter protestors to the Taliban.
It is of paramount importance that such narratives are not allowed to gain momentum and contribute to the continuation of racialised stereotypes centred around the alleged ‘threat’ and ‘aggression’ of BAME communities.
Meanwhile, unless people are educated about the contributions of BAME and Muslim communities, people who come from these backgrounds will continue to face hurdles and setbacks in a society which stem from the ignorance and subsequent intolerance of others. People should be the taught about the contributions of those such as the Jamaican-born army nurse, Mary Seacole, who funded her own trip to Crimea and established the “British Hotel”. This hotel served as a place of respite for soldiers in need of medical assistance.
Another example is John Edmonstone, a former slave who went on to teach at Edinburgh University in the 19th century, and was a significant figure within the history of scientific research, counting Charles Darwin amongst his students.
Celebrating the historical contributions and presence of Black people, and incorporating this into a decolonised curriculum, can dispel stereotypes and serve as a means of educating the public that minority communities are an integral and inseparable part of our society.
Without the right educational initiatives in place, agitators such as Farage can continue to easily manipulate and feed public ignorance and distorted perceptions in order to fuel hatred and stereotypes, thus opening minority communities to abuse.
MEND calls on policymakers to commit to supporting academic freedoms and initiatives to decolonise education, whilst giving greater emphasis within the national curriculum to shared histories and the contributions of minority communities in building our society.