Thursday, June 04, 2020

We are in a time when the issues of Racism & Justice are to the fore ……………

We are in a time when the issues of

are to the fore ……………
I share::

A fight had started in the Youth club and I had known it was coming.  
The atmosphere had been tense all evening.  
Included among the 200 teenagers present we had a large group of older teenage boys who were out to prove themselves. 
They stood in a large group in a dominant area overlooking the disco and social area. 
Their only form of communication was foul language and a kick for anyone who was passing. 
There was bound to be trouble sooner or later.

You can’t just ‘police’ in a hostile environment like this. 
Your emotions are stretched, you try to keep your eyes everywhere and yet you need to seem relaxed and active. 
This was my position when the fight broke out. 
An Asian looking boy had come into the club with two white girls. 
Asians normally never enter the club, but due to the extensive publicity we had lots of new teens. 
One or two had started coming and we had been pleased to welcome them. 
Normally they didn’t stay long because of the racist abuse and harassment that we were unable to manage.

Then it started ….
My full-time colleagues and myself were into the melee instantly and it stopped briefly 
before more violent kicks and punches were thrown at the badly bleeding and shaken visitor. 
He was taken to my office while the other workers tried to deal with the violent and bitter racist atmosphere. 
‘We were only pulling other off him,’ said the four club members, grinning sickly. 
We had got to know these boys over the previous five years, 
loved them, prayed for them and yet they were still violent, aggressive teenagers.

In the office I tried desperately to relate to a young man who was highly agitated, 
insulted, bitter, humiliated and covered in blood.  
A worker was bandaging him; he was bleeding badly from a head wound caused by a pool ball. 
I tried to apologise, explain, express our hurt, 
before he was driven away to hospital in a quickly in our minibus. 
The bitter racist atmosphere was still evident in the club. 
There were laughs from both sexes. 
‘Did you see him bleed? his blood was black!’ ‘
'The next best thing to a dead dog is a dead Paki!’ 
It is impossible to express the immensity of hurt and hate evident that evening.

During his journey to the hospital we found out that the young man’s nationality was 
South American!
It didn’t matter to the attackers - He looked like a Paki! 

The club continued but we knew quite well that we would have to stand with this young visitor against our members. 
Justice meant our standing against any racist attack and this justice was instantly offered to the visitor.
The next day was even worse. 
There was two probation officers in my office when the four boys were concerned with the attack came round, 
having heard that the police were after them, 
and realising our obvious involvement as witnesses.
 Threats were directed at me with such ferocity that it shook me to the core. 
Inside I was shaking. I am certain that if the probation officer hadn’t been there 
the attack would have been physical, and I felt protected by their presence. 
‘We are coming to smash the place up Sunday,’ were their parting words.

All this resulted in some horrible days. 
The members concerned were known to be going through a very violent time of their lives. 
It affected me deeply. I was unable to sleep for two nights; 
I was afraid to walk the streets; 
I was scared for our kids, my wife was waking up in the middle of the night and retching in the toilet. 
The tension for my family was so great – yet it was second-had tension all being passed on from me………………………….

Other real life situations include how supported young offenders when they were in trouble.
The teens being wrongly abused and arrested unjustly by some police officers.
Another story ……………..