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He said: “Sir, if all the images of black males shown to me are negative, therefore my perceptions of black males are negative, how am I supposed to succeed?” I shrugged my shoulders, shook my head and replied: “That’s entirely up to you, son.” I had lied. Last week, after another heated discussion with my wife (who calls me a ‘reverse racist’ because I point out subtle, yet profound, incidences of racism), I decided I’d had enough. So using the Friday, May 31, edition of London’s Evening Standard I carried out a piece of analysis based purely upon face recognition.
Across every front page, of every daily newspaper, the image of Michael Adebolajo– cutlass in hand – was seared into the collective consciousness of the British public.
(Should I add, coincidentally, all the women shown were light-skinned American singers?
) Not one, solitary, image of a UK based woman of colour. Someone not paying council tax and a black teenager killed from stab wounds as a result of gang violence. I looked at the picture for a moment and recalled the words of the young pupil. I, for one, will no longer touch – let alone read – a copy of a paper that refuses to acknowledge the humanity, diversity and richness of its own reality.
The results were both stunning and depressing, especially for citizens of the greatest city on Earth. And upon closer scrutiny, these figures reveal a very disturbing vision of our city by the folks at the Standard.
The scores between men and women were neck and neck right down to the start of the sports pages where the victorious white males romped away to win comfortably over the white females. According to the Census, almost 40 per cent of London’s eight million plus population is non-white. This group is bigger than the UK’s second largest city.