Race and gender and violence and reporting

Not cycling, but still important.

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Joan
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Race and gender and violence and reporting

Post by Joan » 3 years ago

Something made me think about this today 😉

Back in 2002, a colleague told some US coworkers "Murder is very rare in London." I asked how he knew and he replied it would "be in the papers". I challenged this, but he was convinced. A few days later I happened to be talking to a serious crime detective (in a quad rowing boat, not an interview room!) and asked him how many murders there were in London, and he told me several hundred a year. I remember estimating that there was only a report every one or two weeks. The victims were almost always white and often young, photogenic women. It was the time of the Soham murders. Most of the murders were of young, black men. To confirm this, a friend witnessed two incidents in Hackney where she lived: one time she got home but couldn't get inside because there was police tape and a chalk outline outside her home, and another where she witnessed out the window of the same flat a man walking up to another man in a car and putting a bullet in his head. I searched for both crimes in online newspapers, and found nothing.

This has two nasty effects. First it erases those violent crimes against black men, making their lives as meaningless as their deaths. The second effect was the blanket coverage of any assaults on young women meant that a reasonable person would believe that being a young white woman was the highest risk of murder, and thus placing irrational restrictions on women's freedom and autonomy.

Yeah, I can see that too: I seem to be saying this was worse for the white women who weren't murdered than the black men who were. That's obviously not true, but I have experienced the former and not latter, so I am more expressive about that.

I once heard a local police sergeant say "crime figures would be dropping if we excluded youth-on-youth crime". I asked aloud to no one, why should we do that? Why not exclude adult-on-adult crime? The figures would drop even lower. I just got the feeling that deep down, people are almost exclusively concerned with the crimes that might impact them. That would explain the lack of convictions for rape compared to crimes that affect men.

Disjointed rant, sorry. If it triggers discussion, I have more to say on the subject. If not, it will rest in infamy amongst the unanswered topics
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