Monday, 30 May 2011

Multiculturalism takes a great leap forward. The rise and rise of Black Britons.

NaomiCampbell Crop-2.JPG
Black Britons

The ethnic population of England and Wales is growing according to new figures published by Office of National statistics.
Out of a population of 54 million, black ethnic communities have grown by almost 3 million over the last 10 years. There are now almost 1 million people of mixed parentage: an increase of nearly 50% whilst the white ethnic birth rate has flat lined.
Despite the problems of making predictions, on the basis of this evidence there will be 2.4 million black and ethnic minority people aged 50 and over in 2016 in England and Wales; rising to 3.8 million by 2026 and 7.4 million by 2051.
In terms of the aging nature of black communities there will be just over half a million black and minority ethnic people aged 70 and over by 2016, more than 800,000 by 2026 and that figure escalates to 2.8 million by 2051.
The spectacular growth of black communities will continue and we as a community are going to have to deal with an increasing aged population and all the issues that entails. Resource provision for our elderly will become a big political issue as our community continues to grow and mature.
On the wider issue the debate about multiculturalism in the UK has been largely lead in recent times by the Prime Minister himself. Cameron’s perspective is largely confused and reactionary on this issue. Here are the Prime Minister’s thoughts are on this issue,
Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values.”
He added, “Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism. A passively tolerant society says to its citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. A genuinely liberal country does much more.”
Cameron on the issue of multiculturalism reminds me of one of the greatest British medieval Kings the magnificent King Cnut. Henry of Huntingdon, the 12th-century chronicler, tells how King Cnut the Great set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Yet "continuing to rise as usual [the tide] dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person. Then the king leapt backwards, saying: "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws."
Much like Cnut, Cameron rails against the inexorable process of globilisation and demographic change. The point of such a perspective in my view is to seek to divert attention away from the current cuts to public services and instead focus people’s attention on ‘those problematic black communities” who insist on being obviously black.
Of course from a black perspective the Prime Minister preferred approach of muscular liberalism is not the answer, because its emphasis on individualism suggests that ethnicity and culture are matters of choice. In fact we are born into our culture, which is infused with tradition, history and religion. Of course this culture is dynamic, one that changes and evolves over time, as do all cultures. However the underlying base foundations of a culture will remain whatever the current contempory expressions. Part of the problem or British culture is its inherent tradition of racism.
What is needed in Britain right now is an aggressive assertion of blackness. This had been a universal force for good here in the UK and its expression has led to one of the most socially integrated societies in Europe.
I have a profound and intense dislike of the acute and predominantly white perspective epitomized and expressed by the notion that Britain is a tolerant country and that black people should be very grateful. I don’t want to be tolerated. Further you have no right to see me, as a fifth generation British citizen, as someone that requires toleration.
That this term is the predominant explanatory discourse advanced by many who propose assimilation rather than integration exposes the deep racial qualification that informs the idea of British citizenship. Put simply there is still no black in the union jack.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

No more 'yes massa': Institutional Racism Destroys Lives.

Gregory Lewis meeting Reverend Jesse Jackson
(Rev Jesse Jackson has spoken out against the low number of black students at Oxford) 
Last year I was contacted by a black chef, Gregory Lewis who worked at New College, Oxford University for eight years. He was treated extremely badly and there was clearly racial discrimination involved.  The director of the Race Equality Council in Oxford advised him to take a claim to Employment Tribunal, which he did.  He was unable to access legal assistance. Gregory contacted me because he could not understand why the case, which found in New College’s favour, seemed to have been conducted in a way that seemed to practically ignore the evidence they presented, whilst overlooking lies, inconsistencies and a total disregard for equality legislation on the part of New College.
The legal process has been a long drawn out one. Gregory has been suffering from depression and anxiety caused by the racial discrimination he experienced since October 2008 and the stress of legal proceedings has exacerbated his condition.  
New College staff blatantly lied under oath during the tribunal hearing last July. The HR Officer had no idea of what the specific duties of Higher Education Establishments were under the RRA (amendment) 2000. There was no monitoring in place to ensure there was no racial discrimination in any of their policies, such as disciplinary action, access to training and promotion; the only equal opportunities monitoring with regard to racial group that New College had in place, was a tick box on their application form. 
Gregory Lewis had been interviewed for the role of head chef, after being a second chef at Oxford University for twenty years, eight of those at New College.  There had never been a black head chef at an Oxford University college. At that time, as second chef, Gregory held the highest position of any member of staff. (He was acting head chef for over a year).  There were no black fellows, tutors or managers. They interviewed him along with other candidates, none of whom were taken on. New College management advised Gregory to go on a course to better his chances of getting the still vacant, head chef’s position.  They did not offer him to go on this course before the interview, but during cross examination, the catering manager said that he ‘would not have employed anyone who did not have the qualification already ‘unless they were a Jamie Oliver’, so the interview was a farce unless they believed that a black chef might at any time morph into a white TV chef!
While he was away on the course (and still acting head chef as far as he knew), the college took on a new white head chef through the back door without even letting Gregory know, totally humiliating him in front of his colleagues. The message was clear: the black man does not deserve any respect.  The person they took on had not even made the shortlist for the original interview.
 The original interview notes (received during legal proceedings) made rude comments about Gregory Lewis that were clearly based on racial stereotyping, making him out to have a slave mentality and unable to follow instructions or understand what they were asking of him. This was a chef that had won many awards during his time working at Oxford University colleges and received many compliments in writing from important guests.
New College management embarked on a series of actions designed to intimidate Gregory and force him out of his job. In the end he was too ill to work and they dismissed him on grounds of medical capability.
The judge and lay members at the Employment Tribunal in Reading were dismissive of the evidence given that management had racially stereotyped Gregory, and the judge said that ‘being lazy and stupid is not a stereotype of a black man’. Evidence was provided to show this, but it was ignored. Gregory had a long list of grievances but the tribunal judge and panel skimmed over them and let New College and their representative dictate what was mentioned.  When I met him he was mentally and physically exhausted by the whole process and had lost complete faith in the system that was supposed to protect him from racial discrimination. I told him to keep fighting; the truth was on his side and the law was supposed to be as well! 
I helped him to set up a campaign to highlight the racial discrimination at Oxford University colleges. This was before David Lammy exposed Oxford University’s appalling record on admitting black students and employing black fellows.  Freedom of Information requests uncovered the fact that many colleges were flouting equality laws and were, in some cases, arrogantly unconcerned about it.  EHRC, on receiving the information provided by Gregory, wrote to Oxford University’s Vice Chancellor telling him to remind Oxford colleges, which are autonomous, of their duties under equality law.
When Gregory Lewis received the judgement from the Employment Tribunal in writing, he was shocked to find that not only had the judge disregarded what he had said about racial stereotyping, he had substituted his own racial stereotype, saying that he thought he was stereotyped as a black Caribbean man as being ‘laid back to the extreme’!
At the London Employment Appeal Hearing last week, the judge and panel were not impressed that the Reading Employment Tribunal judge and panel, regularly hearing cases of racial discrimination, appeared to have little understanding of racial stereotyping. (The lay members at Reading had agreed with the judge that being lazy and stupid was not a racial stereotype of a black man).The Employment Appeal Tribunal were also concerned that the case appeared to have been tried as an unfair dismissal case with little regard to the racial discrimination side of the case.
I would like to know what training Employment Tribunal judges and lay members have with regard to equal opportunities and race issues. If they are as ignorant on race issues, as those that conducted Gregory Lewis’s case, it is no wonder that so few people are successful in bringing racial discrimination cases against their employer.  Employment law is a totally uneven playing field, with claimants having little access to legal assistance and employers like those from Oxford University having unlimited funds to fight their victims.  I understand why most of them give up, the threats of costs and the stress is unbearable in a lot of cases. 
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that the case of Gregory Lewis V New College, Oxford University will be subject to a full Appeal Hearing in London.  I will be right beside him.  Nothing will change until we insist that the laws against racial discrimination are upheld. Black people suffering racial discrimination at work should not be experiencing it all over again in the Employment Tribunals and courts that are their only recourse.  
Unfortunately, Gregory’s situation is not unfamiliar.  I have spoken to many black people, who have experienced similar treatment when applying for promotion. We as a people should be long past the stage where, when trying to progress through hard work and dedication, we are regarded as ‘uppity’ and expected to shuffle our feet, say ‘yes massa’, and be grateful for whatever lowly position these institutionally racist employers decide we are good enough for.
 Lee Jasper

UPDATE: Gregory Lewis won his appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal on October 14th 2011. The case is being remitted to be heard in front of a new panel at the Employment Tribunal.
Racism is some Oxford University students idea of fun: Oxford students at a 'safari bop'

Cadbury’s insult Black women: from Operation Black Vote

Cadbury’s insult Naomi Campbell and Black women [1.5217391304348]
The insulting advert from Cadburys

Does the chocolate giant Cadbury’s believe that the First Lady Michelle Obama would like to see Black women being described as chocolate? No, thought not. The same goes for the vast majority for every Black man and woman in this country and the USA.  So we ask the question why have Cadbury’s produced an ad that shows their new chocolate bar ‘ Bliss’ surrounded by diamonds with the headlines ‘ Move over Naomi there is a new diva in town’?
And for those that think this is funny-it's not. Black parents don’t want their children being called a chocolate bar because it's supposed to be funny. We thought we were done with this stuff in the seventies.

This latest insult to Black women comes after one of the countries top universities London School of Economics failed to sanction one of it its lecturers  Satoshi Kanazawa  for using pseudo science and claiming Black women are ugly.

Naomi Campbell: Cadbury refuse to apologise over ad campaign

The chocolate giant Cadbury’s - owned by Kraft - today refused to acknowledge that their present ad campaign that promotes a chocolate bar as a diva, with the strap line ‘Move over Naomi there is a new diva in town’, is offensive to Black women. The Naomi in question is the super model Naomi Campbell.
Cadbury’s executives fail to see that it is both insulting to Naomi Campbell and Black women to be likened to a chocolate bar.

Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote stated;
"Racism in the playground starts with white children calling Black children ‘chocolate bar’. At best this is insensitive and at worst Cadbury’s utter disregard for a community's feelings. Their white euro-centric joke is not funny to Black people."

Valerie Campbell, Naomi’s mother stated;
"I’m deeply upset by this racist advert. Do these people think they can insult Black people and we just take it.  This is the 21st century not the 1950's. Shame on Cadbury's."

Lee jasper of BARAC stated;
"Does the chocolate giant Cadbury believe that the First Lady Michelle Obama would like to see Black women being described as chocolate? No, thought not. The same goes for the vast majority of Black men and woman in this country and the USA."

OBV have called for a full apology and an immediate withdrawal of the advertising campaign.

Naomi Campbell: Cadbury refuse to apologise over ad campaign [1.466275659824]
Naomi Campbell

First published at: 
Operation Black Vote: The home of black politics.

Petition for legislative reform in regard to deaths in police custody.


"We believe that equitable dispensation justice in the UK must be done and be seen to be done if the general public are to enjoy high levels of trust and confidence in the fair administration of justice. Further we believe that all peoples regardless of race, gender, colour or creed should be considered equal citizens under the law. Suspicious deaths in custody and the abusive process of investigation and judication act as a drain on public confidence and cause deep scepticism and resentment in the fair administration of justice. The poor quality and speed of independent investigations conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and an Inquest process that is not fit for purpose both critically fail to protect or support the rights of victims or their families.  

Neither of these statutory processes empowers the victims’ families in their desperate search for the truth. Public confidence and respect for the rule of law are vital. We believe there is little if any confidence in the present legal process of investigation and inquest. Holding to  legal account those institutions and individuals in whom the public entrust the care and safety of their loved ones is essential for maintaining public confidence in the judicial process. 

Where suspicious deaths in custody do occur; transparency, openness and ensuring that the victims’ families are legally enabled to seek the truth and ensure those held responsible are held to account is of critical importance. We have no confidence in the current systems of investigation and inquest. We believe that the vast majority of the British public would support urgent and immediate legislative and policy reform that can restore public confidence in the criminal justice system."

We the undersigned demand that the Prime Minister:

·        Hold an independent public inquiry into all suspicious deaths in custody. We need an urgent inquiry into cases such as those of David Emanuel (aka Smiley Culture), Kingsley Burrell-Brown, Wayne Hamilton, Ian Tomlinson, Mikey Powell, Justice for Habib 'Paps' Ullah Sean Rigg and including the deaths of children in custody such as Gareth Myatt.
·        Introduce reforms that result in the  immediate and routine suspension of all police officers involved in cases of deaths in police custody including  those of David Emanuel (aka Smiley Culture) and Kingsley Burrell-Brown.
·        Ensure that IPCC fast track their investigation into the deaths of David Emanuel (aka Smiley Culture) and Kingsley Burrell-Brown and ensure that in future all investigations of deaths in custody are concluded in a timely and transparent manner.
·        Reform and strengthen the powers and independence of the IPCC. For example ensuring that no member of the IPCC can have worked for the police or any other criminal justice agency where there is a clear an obvious conflict of interest. In addition: introduce independent community investigators that can be utilised in controversial cases where public confidence is an issue.
·        Implement legislation so that any professional who has someone die whilst in their custody and where there are no independent witnesses present, must take a public lie detector test as part of the IPCC investigation

·        Introduce mobile video technology so that all police officers must record arrests using a mobile video device to ensure that there is an accurate account of events.

Petition created by Merlin Emanuel and Lee Jasper:

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

President Obama Sir, Europe has a problem

David Cameron and Barack Obama

I don’t think I will ever forget the election of President Obama. I was celebrating my birthday with friends at a special US election night party as the results came tumbling in demonstrating a huge landslide for President Obama. I had never believed I would witness such an event in my lifetime. I felt moved by the poignancy of the movement representing it did as the culmination for many of one aspect of the dream of Dr Martin Luther King.

The incredibly high expectations of what just one black man, even in the office of President, could reasonably achieve was always going to lead to some level of disappointment. In looking at the President’s first term in office he remains I believe a force for good.

Having said that, I violently disagree with some aspects of his foreign and domestic policies particularly on the unacceptable state racism of Israel and Australia, his failure to tackle the inner city economic apartheid faced by too many poor African Americans.

The President along with the sensational first Lady Michelle begins their European tour with a visit to Ireland the birthplace of his great great grandfather.

In Europe the president enjoys spectacular high approval ratings in most cases higher rating than those enjoyed by European heads of state including our own David Cameron. President Obama is hugely popular in Europe.

So the scene is set for a tour that no doubt will be successful. As the President meets with our own Prime Minister no doubt the issues of Afghanistan and Libya, Syria and Israel and the global economy will loom large on the agenda.

I addition to these issues there are other issues that in my own humble opinion should be up for discussion.
First the frightening reality of relentless increase of racism across Europe. It has to be of concern to the President that outside of his own agenda Europe is witnessing a huge revival in extreme right wing and unashamedly and sometime viciously right wing and racist parties. France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden among others are becoming increasingly antebellum in their attitudes towards black Europeans and Muslims.

Racist attacks and Islamophobia are on the rise right across Europe. Black people are being brutally murdered right across Europe by white racist mobs in ever increasing numbers. Islam as a religion in being driven scapegoated and driven underground by the banning of the building of mosques and the wearing of burkha's.

The President should be concerned that the rights of some estimated 25 Million people of African descent and millions of Muslims are being swept up in a fevered hysteria that passes for reasoned debate on multiculturalism in Europe. The President should condemn the rise of European racism and take on those European leaders who whilst championing human rights of those abroad continue to allow fundamental human rights abuses at home.

The President should reinforce and remind the European leaders that one the most important and progressive aspects of American society is the reality that regardless of wherever you come from you too can be an American.

Here in the UK although Cameron and the nation speaks the words and can articulate the theoretical conception of an inclusive one nation citizenship in reality there remains a strong cultural perspective that designates black people and Muslims as people deeply problematic. Black people and Muslims are seen as being culturally at odds with largely mythical and ever changing notion of “British values”.

Black people in Britain are tolerated whilst in the US whatever else one may say all nationalities regardless of race are accepted as being part of the American family.

He ought to make mention of Cameron’s blindingly white Cabinet and the fact that Civil Service remains essentially white English mans private club. That Black unemployment in 2006 in the UK was 16% higher than that of whites. That figure today, in the wake of public sector cuts and the disproportionate impact upon black women is now pushing 20%. Black youth unemployment is I believe today is 60% on average and much higher in some inner city areas.

He should challenge Europe’s racist and hypocritical response to those thousands of African refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe from war, despotism and poverty. In particular he should address the fact that Italy and France recently left a 61 Africans including two babies who were to starve to death on the high seas despite both nations being completely aware of their desperate plight. He should demand a humanitarian response from Europe and condemn the stinking and violent arrogance of European racism.

He should also point out that whilst not a solution to all of its problems America’s commitment to the principle of restorative justice expressed in the adoption of affirmative action legislation created the conditions where it became possible for an African American to get elected to the office of President. He should pressure Cameron to extend the affirmative action principles enshrined in the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Act to mainland Britain.

He could help by naming and shaming those US based companies who operate in Europe who are fabulously diverse in the US but who leave their commitment to race equality in a briefcase at John F Kennedy airport.

These companies revert to their all white default employment setting on arrival in Europe. He could announce that these firms must adopt serious diversity policies here in Europe.

No doubt the agenda of the middle east and north Africa along with issues that effect the global economy will dominate discussions however the only thing more frightening than the rise of European racism is the American ignorance of problem.

Lee Jasper

Obama in Ireland

First published at OBV: The home of black politics.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Stephen Lawrence: Justice delayed is justice denied

Stephen Lawrence: Justice delayed is justice denied [1.5217391304348]

The news that Gary Dobson and David Norris have been charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 is good news. Having supported the family for many years and having given oral evidence to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry both the scale and magnitude of the failure of the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Services was imprinted indelibly on my brain. Theirs was a failure of epic proportions.

Whilst pleased that some 18 years later justice may be done, this is only partial justice and even this is justice delayed and incomplete. It is for me effectively justice denied.

Of course I am please that some of those thought responsible will be prosecuted, but we have been here before and in my experience the Metropolitan Police (MPS) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are perfectly capable of failing to prosecute this case despite the new evidence they may have.

Lets remember that a previous attempt to prosecute the suspects was brought in July 1993, but failed at the first hurdle after being dropped by the CPS. In April 1994 Stephen’s parents exhausted by the catastrophic failure for the state to prosecute those suspected of murdering their son launched their own private prosecution. This failed after the Police appeared to purposely derail the case by throwing unjustified doubt on the witness identification evidence given Stephens’s friend - a key witness at the scene, Dwayne Brooks.
The MPS subsequently paid Mr. Brooks compensation.

During the public inquiry that followed, Detective Superintendent Brian Weeden said that mistakes had been made during the murder investigation. Weeden, who was head of the murder squad for 14 months, sought to claim that until recently he had not understood the legal grounds on which police could make arrests. This was pathetic from an officer of his experience, and was frankly unbelievable.

I have always believed that corruption and bribery in the MPS with particular officers and local gangsters related to the suspects put an end to any probable prosecution. The BBC in a special investigation named officers it believed to be corrupt. It named officers it believed were involved in taking bribes according to testimony from

Neil Putnam a former corrupt police detective turned whistle blower. Putnam stated that David Norris Sr. was paying a senior officer (whom he named) to obstruct the case, keep him informed and one step ahead of the police investigation.

In 1997 the Police Complaint Authority after a complaint by Stephen’s parents exonerated all the officers involved in relation allegations of racism. Senior Detective Ben Bullock second in command of the botched initial murder investigation faced disciplinary charges and was eventually found guilty of some minor technicality, but acquitted of 11 other more serious charges. Four more officers who were about to be charged with a criminal offence all retired before the inquiry concluded.
In 2006 the IPCC launched an investigation into the alleged police corruption. Far from the “ wall of silence” as reported by the police at the time of murder it emerged there was critical evidence that they failed to disclose. Once again, some three years later and despite strong evidence the IPCC failed to hold anyone to account.

Dr Richard Stone speaking to the Guardian at the time said:
"We were being told that no one was coming forward with information about who was responsible but there was no such wall of silence. There was a large amount of information that the police were either not processing or were suppressing."

He added: "We felt there was a strong smell of corruption. Mrs. Lawrence has to face the fact that maybe there was corruption…”
The reality is we need more evidence to convict all of those suspected of being involved. What we need is an eyewitness account, a solid account from someone who was there at the time. My fear is that without this that any evidence presented will be subject to rigorous challenge by the defence.

There is an eyewitness who has so far refused to speak. This woman saw what happened and could provide the key to an effective prosecution not just of Dobson and Norris but all those involved.
In 2004, the police stated: "The witness who appeared on the right of the scene and walked into Rochester Way with Stephen and Dwayne behind is very important to us. We know who this witness is, she knows who she is, and we know what she knows. She has never made a statement. This witness may have been the catalyst for the attack"

So yes I am pleased and do hope that this time justice can be seen to be done, but until all those involved are behind bars justice will remain an illusion for many black people. Another failure to prosecute would be catastrophic for the parents of Stephen Lawrence and the nation as a whole. Lets hope they can do the job properly this time.

Lee Jasper

(First published at OBV - Operation Black Vote: The home of black politics

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Ali Dizaei - White lies, Black reality

Ali Dizaei - White lies, Black reality [1.6421052631579]

Ali Dizaei, the former Metropolitan Police Commander and one of the most senior black officers in the UK, was convicted of corruption and has had all his convictions quashed in a spectacular judgment by the court of appeal. He will now have to suffer a re-trial while he waits for a complete vindication.

Dizaei who has spent a year - of a four year sentence - in prison suffering extreme abuse and violent attacks was released yesterday. He was a former President of the National Black Police Association.

In a remarkable turn of events Dizaei's wife uncovered the fact that key witness in her husband's prosecution Waad al-Baghdadi and described by the prosecution as a 'man of good character' was in fact a lying benefit fraudster using the name of his dead father to access welfare benefits.

Dizaei has always been a thorn in the side of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) challenging the institutional racism of the organisation Dizaei told an impromptu news conference: "When I clear my name it is my intention to go back to the Metropolitan police and serve my time." That will send shock waves through both New Scotland Yard and the London Mayor's Office. If he were acquitted at a second trial he would be entitled to resume his career as a police officer and no doubt will set the scene for a spectacular compensation pay out to Dizaei. Dizaei, whom I know personally, is a flamboyant maverick, yes a radical anti-racist for sure but not a criminal.

The MPS and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have spent literally millions of pounds investigating erroneous complaints over Dizaei's 12-year police career to no avail. It's time the now discredited case against Dizaei should be thrown out and in my view he should not face a re-trial as it would make a mockery of British justice and constitute a flagrant abuse of the public purse.

There is no public interest and both the MPS and the CPS have failed to prove their case. Dizaei has batted the many serious accusations against him out the park. He should now be left alone and allowed to get on with life. It's these double standards that are generally applied to black people that stick in the craw. We hear all the time that as black Britons we are both citizens and equals, that the UK is a meritocracy and that we are a post racist society. Nothing could be father from the truth.

The UK remains a racist society. Institutional racism results in black people being judged by a different standard. It's reflected in the fact that two first time offenders, charged with the same crime, one white one black. Guess which one is more likely to receive a caution and which one more likely to be charged? I will leave you to come to your own obvious conclusion.

These double standards result in black people facing injustice, discrimination and misery in the workplace and the criminal justice system. When it comes to high profile black people those who challenge racism are targeted and subject to a campaign of denigration by either their employers and/ or the press who are willing to ignore the facts and follow their prejudice when it comes to considering allegations against black people that would otherwise be considered baseless accusations.

Racism produces a culture of suspicion, disbelief and denial and regardless of the bleating whinge of the liberal establishment that routinely denies accusations of racism, black people are not stupid and the facts and their own lived experience speak for themselves. I believe that the CPS understanding the culture of racism of the judicial and jury system in the UK rely on the fact that where black people are concerned that they are more likely to be convicted with a lower standard of proof.

As a former member of the London Criminal Justice Board I can tell you that racism is rife in the system and is left largely unchallenged. It's a racism that ruins lives and leaves to many black people living in a first class democracy but as third class citizens. Ali Dizaei should buy his wife a very large bunch of flowers and treat her to a fabulous holiday. He has her to thank for his freedom today.

Lee Jasper

(First published at Operation Black Vote: The Home of Black Politics.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Smiley Culture - Youth 4 Smiley Culture


The tragic death of Smiley Culture while police went to his home has outraged and galvanised the Black community and their friends.

The Smiley Culture event at Lambeth Town Hall on 24th March was historic and assertive in its atmosphere and peoples demands for justice for Smiley Culture, at yet another death in police custody.

This event seeks to bring this issue to our youth through film, debate and music


Presentation of Smiley Culture music videos


Merlin Emanuel
(nephew of Smiley Culture)

Lee Jasper

Dr Lez Henry

Isis Amlak

Chair - Sukant Chandan (Sons of Malcolm)





- RoXXXan



SPEECHES PART 1 on YouTube, more to follow.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Africans left to starve to death adrift in the sea as Europe looks on

Refugees from Libya reach Lampedusa
Refugees from Libya reach Lampedusa. A warship failed to rescue a boat in trouble – leaving 61 people on board to die. Photograph: Francesco Malavolta/EPA ( from The Guardian)

There are occasions when a media story will hit you in the solar plexus leaving you angry and speechless in equal measure. Monday the 9th May was one such day. The Guardian front page was dominated by a story that simply defies belief, a saga that provides an insight into the reality of humanitarianism, racism and callous indifference. African migrants being left to die is a story that upon reading transported me instantly to the period of transatlantic slavery.
In a tale that reflects the 18th century horror of the dreaded middle passage, 72 African migrants, escaping the turmoil of Tripoli on a small boat and seeking safety and security were left to die adrift on the Mediterranean Sea.
This sickening tragedy took place as NATO ships, planes and helicopters flew overheard and did nothing to save the men, women and children who were dying on a daily basis right in front of their eyes.
They were not subject to a rescue effort. NATO vessels from both Italy and France made contact with the migrants and choose to do nothing.
I believe that those European nations, who were fully aware of the tragedy unfolding, consciously decided to let these Africans die a miserable death of starvation and dehydration. For 16 days these Africans drifted in dangerous seas. Of the 72 who set out to find a new life only 11 survived. At one point seeing helicopters approaching they held up aloft starving babies in a heart rendering plea for help.
European Union government’s contempt for Africans is both visceral and toxic. Racism reduces human beings to miserable states of existence where morality and consciousness are absent, replaced by toxic irrational hatred and callous disregard. Human beings are fully degraded by racism and the foul septic contagion of this evergreen hatred has plagued the world, costing billions of lives and reducing the perpetrators to a psychological strait- jacket of hate and violence.
Slavery, Nazism, Colonialism and now neo liberalism provides ample historical examples of the wretched reality of mans inhumanity to man.
Europe champions the human rights of those in North Africa and the Middle East: however Europe refuses to accept the vast majority of African refugees. This hypocrisy is demonstrated by the fact that Egypt and Tunisia, are currently dealing with over 650, 000 refugees who have fled the conflicts.
I am instantly reminded of the case of the notorious slave ship the Zong. The Zong massacre occurred on a slave ship owned by a Liverpool slave trading firm carrying enslaved Africans to Jamaica. Grossly overcrowded and lost at sea the Captain decided to throw overboard 122 chained Africans into the sea. He later tried to claim insurance for his lost cargo. The case became a cause celebre after a free African anti slavery campaigner Olaudah Equiano raised the issue into a national scandal.
Some of the most vicious forms of racism are historically economic and state sponsored. Some of the most notorious examples of racism can be found during the period of transatlantic slavery. The image of the African slave manacled below the deck of a rotten and festering slave ship during the middle passage remains one of the most enduring images in world history.
That reality has now returned with the scandal that has seen hundreds of Africans migrants sailing from North African ports seeking entry in to Europe die on the high seas.
International law requires that all ships or planes answer distress calls and ensure an emergency response. The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR spokesperson speaking to the Guardian stated,
"The Mediterranean cannot become the wild west," said spokeswoman Laura Boldrini. "Those who do not rescue people at sea cannot remain unpunished."
Italy and France have colluded with racism to commit an act of gross barbarity and inhumanity. Both were aware of the plight of these Africans and both Presidents Sarkozy and Berlusconi who have sanctioned state racism on an unprecedented scale should be tried in court along with those NATO officers who refused to rescue these desperate migrants.
Whilst Sarkozy is being challenged by the racist Le Front Nationale and  Berlusconi’s Italian coalition partner is the equally racist Lega Nord both have willingly condoned racism in their respective countries.
France recently illegally deported French Roma to Romania drawing critisism from Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice, comparing the French deportations to France's treatment of Jews in the second world war. Then there was the ridiculous banning of the veil and the football quotas against African players. Whilst Berlusconi made a notorious deal with Gaddafi in 2009 to deport all Libyan refugees back to the man he now calls a tyrant. His coalition partner the leader of Lega Nord Umberto Boss is a well known virulent racist.
This incident is an example of what happens when Presidential racism infects a nation; a tacit green light is given to behave in a racist way. The example is set at the top and sets the tone for the rest of Government, police officers and the military. Both nations should hang their heads in shame at this incident. I doubt anyone will be brought to account or face sanction.
The fact is that African lives, in the eyes of some European Governments, are worth nothing. This sad fact can be illustrated by the sobering reality that if a boat load of animals were spotted in similar circumstances they would have been rescued of that we can be sure. We are no longer called niggers nor are we slaves: we are however subject to a degree of callous inhumane indifference that relegates our lives as worth less than animals.
Stop press.
The Council of Europe, has called for an inquiry into the deaths, claiming an apparent failure of military units to rescue them marked a "dark day" for the continent.
Mevlüt Çavusoglu, president of the council's parliamentary assembly, demanded an "immediate and comprehensive inquiry" into the fate of the Africans.
"If this grave accusation is true – that, despite the alarm being raised, and despite the fact that this boat, fleeing Libya, had been located by armed forces operating in the Mediterranean, no attempt was made to rescue the 72 passengers aboard, then it is a dark day for Europe as a whole"

Çavusoglu declared.
"I call for an immediate and comprehensive inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths of the 61 people who perished, including babies, children and women who – one by one – died of starvation and thirst while Europe looked on," he added.

View Image
'The image of the African slave manacled below the deck of a rotten and festering slave ship during the middle passage remains one of the most enduring images in world history.'

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Communication Strategy for Connecting the Digital Diaspora - by Mia Cole

Mia Cole sets out a brilliant communication strategy for connecting the digital diaspora.




It's more than 140 has been launched to help ensure that the Black community uses the social media's landscape in the most effective way possible.

There are four major ways that we intend to utilize the system:

1) EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEMS: When there is an emergency in the community such as a missing child, woman, man, acts of immediate violence/brutality, diaster/relief assistance we intend to exercise our right to create a call to action to our networks via the twitter line. We will do so by posting in the forum: EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM following with the actual event that we need tweeted out. We would use the hashtag #BLACKALERT

2) ONGOING SOCIAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS: We intend to continue to use our platforms to counter all acts of racism/white supremacy and acts of brutality and acts of violence (sexism/domestic) in our community. We intend to use our platforms as a method of awareness, including twitter. We will do so by posting in the forum: ONGOING BLACK CAMPAIGN ALERT following with the actual call to action that we need tweeted out. We would use the hashtag: #BLACKAWARENESS

3) THE BY US BUY US CAMPAIGN: We intend on highlighting Black businesses and personal brands such as individual leaders (emerging) that have a product or service that they provide. We would use the hashtag: #BYUSBUYUS

4) CONNECTING THE DOTS TRENDING CAMPAIGN: We intend on connecting one another throughout the diaspora by encouraging us to follow one another so that our topics can TREND faster. Trending is a big deal because all around the world the topic will be advertised (if trended) to twitter's 105,779,710 users. The more people that are connected the more likely the topic will be trended. We would use #diaspora.

Trending topics can vary between
(a) political issue
(b) horrific racial issue that needs to be countered
(c) promoting a good cause/topic and ongoing campaigns - we can vote on the cause per month, we can pick 12 causes per month per industry. This is up for discussion
(d) networking events

This is ongoing and we intend on growing the network organically.

2. ALSO GO BACK ON THE FORUM TO SEE THE UPDATES AND THEN COMMENT TO THE UPDATED ACCOUNTS -- WITH YOUR ACCOUNT. For example, if you see an additional person that has listed -- in the comment section let them know that you will follow them by adding your twitter account. That will ensure a faster connect the dots rate. :D
3. NEED TWEETED: If you need something tweeted, go on the forum with the following subject: TWITTER ALERT (proceed with the above campaigns) and then let us know what we should tweet out.



Here is how we intend on ensuring that each twitter account that is listed gets followed:
**We have set up a twitter account: this twitter account will promote each member and then remind each member who to follow and who is committed to this initiative. The account to also tweet to us at is @morethan140 -- we want to catch you there


Here is how we intend on ensuring that we are on the same page for our campaigns:
**Twitter Chat: we intend on having a twitter chat on a quarterly basis and that twitter event will be called MORE THAN 140 - CONNECTING THE DIGITAL DIASPORA starting in the winter of 2012, we will meet in a room called roomatic:
More instructions will come in the near future for this event. We will also inform and instruct everyone on how to effectively use their social media campaigns on a larger scale.


Here are our projected goals:
***May-November: Growing our group member's getting everyone locked into the system of communication with methodical results. Goals: Members should be more aware of the group and its effectiveness.

***Nov-February: Benchmarking launched campaigns. Campaigns should be starting to be effective/launched.

ORGANIZERS & COUNCIL BOARD: Lee Jasper, Africa Uhuru, Mia Cole, Ingram James, Diane Urban, Norm Bond, Anton Bridges -- each guiding and helping to steer so that we can serve the community effectively.

OPERATIONAL ROLE: Mia Cole/Impact - here to ensure that items above are running smoothly and rolling out in a timely manner. Ensuring that all understand the capacity of social media, and ensuring that all understand how to impact their immediate environment with influence and social media. Will also help with messaging

CAMPAIGN AWARENESS DIRECTORS: Lee Jasper (B.A.R.A.C. EUROPE) and Norm Bond (U.S.) and Samuel Abesi/Hamid (AFRICA)- here to point out what campaigns we should make a priority and what should be effective methods of acquiring our end game and goal.

COLLEGE CAMPAIGN DIRECTORS: Africa Uhuru and Natalie Cooper would ensure that our youth are online and aware of their influence and impact: high school/college.

BY US/BUY US DIRECTOR: Norm Bond (U.S.) and Ingram James (U.K.) would ensure that we are fairly promoting each business owner and personal service provider that is in the Black Community.


ADMINISTRATORS: The following administrators are the guiding beacons of light to help make sure not one new member or existing member gets lost in the process: Lee Jasper, Lillian Ogbogoh, Swaggittarius Prime, Hamid Bundu, Samuel Adebisi
These roles may change depending on time commitment, but feel free to examine each loosely based description so that you can get involved in some capacity.

Welcome events will be posted in the future according to the time line above.


By Mia Cole

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Slavery, reparations: Unfinished business

Slavery has left a legacy of racism, poverty and the notion of white supremacy. The campaign for reparations here in the UK needs to be re-energised, writes Lee Jasper.

Britain was made ‘great’ on the back of the massive profits made from Transatlantic Slavery. Profits paid the national debt and provided the huge sums of cash that kick started the British industrial revolution, financed the expansion of the British Imperial army and the subsequent military domination of Africa, Asia and Latin America, whilst funding the great expansion of Victorian philanthropy in British cities.

The massive accumulation of capital from first slavery and then colonialism provided the jump off point, the continuing cash injection necessary to fund expanded scientific research, the application of that science to industrial mass production and the building of the civic and the domestic and international transport infrastructure of the UK and most of Europe.

Over 500 years of brutal racism, psychological and, cultural and economic rape of African peoples followed and the sadomasochistic brutality used to inform plantation slavery has left permanent psychological scars and a toxic economic legacy of generational poverty for the majority of contemporary descendants of African slavery.

The most corrosive legacy has of course been racism and the notion of white supremacy that ‘justified’ the kidnap, maiming, raping and murder of hundreds of millions of non white people worldwide.

Racism has killed and destroyed the lives of more people than all of the wars in the 20th Century combined. The rise of Hitler and fascism can be traced to the scientific, theological and philosophical myths of white superiority and black inferiority that are the founding cornerstones of the modern concept of racism

The political, philosophical and theological arguments made against slavery informed the modern concept human rights and the adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was a unique gift to the world borne from the tragedy of African exploitation and oppression.

Nearly 10 years ago, a United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance  was put together and held in Durban, South Africa in September 2001.

Although beset by controversy as a result of a coordinated campaign by Western nationals and Israel to discredit the conference and obscure addressing the legitimate demand for reparations and its conclusions, the Conference was nevertheless a landmark in the struggle to eradicate all forms of racism.
The final outcome was two Durban conference documents one the official UN and the other a NGO drafted declaration.

The issue of Compensation for Colonialism and Slavery was addressed in the final Declaration and Programme of Action. A strong international alliance led by African nations and supported by Latin American and Asian bloc countries supported the call for Transatlantic Slavery as a crime against humanity and called for reparations to be paid – but this was quietly buried by Western nations.

The Declaration had managed to establish the principle of Transatlantic Slavery as crime against humanity, but the Declaration failed to legally enforce reparations ignoring the precedents that had been set.

Although both the first and the second Conference in 2009 were sabotaged, another DurbanIII  is scheduled for September 2011, to be held in New York.

No doubt the ongoing fractious political debate will once again come to dominate the agenda forcing into the shadows the legitimate debate about the case for African reparations.

In the meantime though, I believe that the campaign for reparations here in the UK needs to re-energize itself and focus on building the broadest united front in demanding that the UK government and institutions make reparations.

The reality is that as the majority of African descendants of slavery here in the UK live with the accumulated legacy of racism that can be seen playing itself out in black communities today.
We continue to live with the legacy of poverty and racism. Poverty as a result of our fore parents having no real economic assets to leave to their children, unlike those who profited from the trade. We still live with the fact that we are not equal citizens in a nation that likes to portray itself as a beacon of freedom, democracy and equality.That is a lie and whilst the crude racism of the past has been largely eradicated in the 21st Century UK, the reality of institutional racism and the relegation of black people to the status of third class citizens in a supposed first class democracy remains a indisputable fact.

Systemic inequalities are much more wide ranging than known individual instances of prejudice. However such large scale systemic discrimination is maintained by decisions, actions and inactions of individuals, institutions and Government.

Of course the current climate is one that seeks to deny the extent and depth of racism and its effects on both black and white communities. Attacks on the concept of multiculturalism, the dismantling of race equality monitoring and consultation frameworks, the closure of local race equality councils, the decimation of the back voluntary sector and the prohibition by Government in funding specific programs aimed at distinct cultural communities unless they are white British, provides damming evidence of a dangerous level of Government complacency on race issues.

Informing this denial is the notion that racism is an all or nothing concept that either one is a complete Third Reich racist or completely free of racial prejudice. This discounts the possibility that an individual can hold progressive political views and at the same time engages in action or inactions that promote racism.

Today in the UK if you’re pro black your ‘anti white’, if you politically challenge racism you’re a ‘race baiting agitator’ and if you personally challenge racism you have a ‘chip on your shoulder’. All claims of racism are considered politically motivated and grossly inflated. All forms of black self organisation are considered racist and by their very nature hostile to whites and the really interesting thing is that some of the people who sympathise with these generalisations are people who would consider themselves left of centre.

This new phenomena of these left centre neo liberal reactionaries is ably explored in a series of excellent articles exploring new research that sheds new light on the psychology of racism. The publication is a series of essays written by eminent and leading research scientists entitled Are we born racist? New Insight form Neuroscience and Positive Psychology this is recommended reading.

No doubt my approach in this article will either provoke wails of compliant and accusation from certain quarters or be completely ignored by others.

Today’s racism is more sophisticated and therefore much more insidious. Be under no illusion though racism today is just as effective in denying the fundamental human rights of non white British citizens to justice and equality.

The Durban III conference could be a unique opportunity to create a new world vision for the fight against racism in the twenty-first century. No doubt political opportunists and the international conspiracy of silence against racism will ensure that this great opportunity will descend into chaos and farce.

Lee Jasper is co-chair of BARAC

(First published in OBV-Operation Black Vote: The Home 0f Black Politics )