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THE SHOOTING of American police officers has been openly glorified during a black nationalist event held at a Birmingham university, newly unearthed video footage reveals today.
At the centre of the incident is Dr Kehinde Andrews, an associate professor in sociology at Birmingham City University (BCU). He rose to prominence in October 2017 after appearing on BBC’s Newsnight programme on which he claimed the Union Flag was “a symbol of oppression” and the Royal Family “divisive”. Recently appearing alongside comedian Russell Brand, Dr Andrews has also referred to Britain as a “bleary island” in columns for the Guardian and Independent.
As well as his academic work, Dr Andrews is founder and chair of the Organisation of Black Unity (OBU) which says its aim is to create a mass network of black people through membership. The group supports African-American human rights activist Malcolm X who was notorious for advocating the complete separation of black and white people.
On its website, Shy Society can reveal today, a two-hour YouTube video captures a debate organised by Dr Andrews for his OBU group in March 2015. The event is held on the Perry Barr campus of Birmingham City University, where the professor is employed and is framed around a famous Malcolm X speech and the importance of the black community using their vote.
Also at the discussion, and co-chairing the debate, is an African woman called Tamar Francis who announces to the audience of black students that she is the vice-chair of OBU, or Dr Andrews’ second-in-command. Around 20 minutes into the debate, Dr Andrews references a shooting in the United States during the Ferguson unrest whereby members of the black community fired on American law enforcement officials.
Responding to this point, Ms Francis tells the crowd:
“As far as the violence and shooting at the police, I’m going to take this to another area. At the beginning of Malcom’s speech, he talks about Islam as his religion and that’s a personal thing between him and god. But his moral and political and economic philosophy is black nationalism, okay, and he says that to say that when he’s talking about the marching and protesting… and the march that Martin Luther King did between Lincoln and Washington, that’s what we kind of find ourselves doing. So metaphorically we find ourselves here marching between Conservatives and Labour, or we find ourselves marching from town to Handsworth. We’re constantly marching and marching and marching. And just like Malcolm says ‘you can’t sing up on some freedom, but you can swing up on some freedom’ – and what he means by that is the passiveness and almost this pride in suffering mantra that we’ve taken up, and I do blame religion a lot for that as well.
“If he (Malcolm X) was saying it was too much back in the 1960s, it’s 2015, come on, so that’s a natural reaction for anyone. Sometimes I feel like going out there and shooting some police, you know what I am saying? So, I think that’s a natural reaction because what’s going to happen now? This is what happens: we get very euphoric when there’s an incident, we get our placards up, we start marching but what’s going to happen next week? Why do we always have to wait for a headline for some action to be taken? Because nothing is happening constantly, behind the scenes it seems like we’re never getting anywhere. Because every time something happens we’re starting again – we’ve got to regenerate that energy we’ve got to go out into the streets and we’ve got to start again. And it’s pointless. So, it’s not surprising to me, it’s just like when the riots happened. None of those people that were doing those things *INAUDIBLE* they’re just tired of and just having to accept and succumb whatever the system tells us is going on. So, I’m not surprised that’s its happened and I think it’s going to happen even more.
“If we had a more nation building type mentality these things couldn’t happen. And unfortunately, because this shooting wasn’t organised, and it wasn’t something that was orchestrated properly, it’s just going to seem like a one-off effect. You’re going to have people within our own community probably trying to demonise them – not understanding the bigger picture – but ready with their placards to go and march again. And I personally, you know like I say I don’t condone violence, but by any means necessary. That’s what I say (laughter).”
Ms Francis’ remarks remain unchallenged and as the debate turns to the integration of the black community, the deputy of Dr Andrews’ organisation leaves people in no doubt to her position in an exchange with local councillor Paulette Hamilton, another of the panellists.
“I’m not interested in integration, segregation for me is excellent… There has never been any advantage to integrating with them,” she says defiantly. Ms Francis, appearing to take her own advice, had at the start of the discussion urged students to speak their minds because they were “among their own people”.
“So when you’re in this environment you’re free, you’re amongst your people – we speak how we want to speak,” she had told the crowd.
Ms Francis’ comments about shooting police officers, segregating British communities along racial lines, “demonising” criminals, and “orchestrating” violence against law enforcement will no doubt come as a shock to many. Dr Andrews, who teaches the UK’s first undergraduate degree course in Black Studies at BCU, openly promotes his founding of the Organisation of Black Unity on his university website bio.
OBU is funded through membership fees and on a page entitled ‘what we want’ members can be seen calling for “an independent black nation” and for members of the community to “throw away European religion”.
Shy Society contacted Birmingham City University, Dr Andrews, and Ms Francis for comment. None of them responded to our request at the time of publication.
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