Did Jaden Moodie die after being rammed off the expensive but stolen moped he was riding, and then being stabbed repeatedly in the back, because he had offended the drug gang he was alleged to be tied to? Was Jaden a drug runner? Was he into drug paraphernalia? He was photographed holding wads of cash, despite being only fourteen years old, making gang signs, photographed on the stolen moped he was illegally riding; and he described himself on social media as a “trapper kid” (drug dealer). He was also excluded from school, and had moved from Nottingham by his parents for a ‘new start’.
I suspect that the first thing many of you thought when you heard that a 14-year-old boy, Jaden Moodie, had been knocked off his moped and stabbed to death in east London — the first thing after the wave of utter revulsion and pity at a young life wiped out — was: what is a kid of that age doing out at night illegally riding a moped?
And then you may have checked yourself, feeling slightly ashamed. A mean-spirited question. Who the hell are you to know? East London is a world away, and they do things differently there. And yet, as is often the case, your first response would have been the correct one, surely. A question that none of the authorities or community leaders has the stomach to address.
And so it will go on. The stabbings, the shootings. A 10-year high in fatalities last year in the capital, almost all black kids not very much older than Jaden. Many of them scarcely reported at all.
Poverty and racial inequality are the comfortable answers always given when something like this happens. It’s rot, PC rot. Usually the Labour MP David Lammy then complains about a lack of policing in problem areas, having previously criticised the police for stopping and searching black youngsters, a policy he described as racist. So he wants the police there, but not to do anything. More convenient rot.
However, the lack-of-policing argument struck a chord when I asked a friend of mine about Jaden’s death. Dr Tony Sewell runs a charity called Generating Genius, which has (very successfully) dragged poor black kids out of the ghetto and got them into Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities. He’s also a member of the Policy Exchange think tank and happens to be the son of Jamaican immigrants.
“Lack of policing is the answer,” he told me. “Not by the police, but by the parents, if the kids have any at all.” Sewell gets very agitated about this business, rightly. “Why are we making excuses regarding the absence of the fathers from these families?” he asks. At least 50% of black children have no dad living at home. “The problem is nobody wants to go there, for political reasons. The police don’t want to go there; nor do the social workers, the politicians or the black community itself, which then complains that it is being victimised. And so it is never, ever addressed.”
In a sense, then, the death of Jaden Moodie and all those others is a little like the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: the root causes cannot be addressed because the various authorities are beholden to an ideology that precludes coming to a conclusion that could be construed as “racist”. Sewell also blames the myth of the brilliant African-Caribbean mum. Some black mothers do, indeed, work wonders despite the absence of a father; but not all can, and neither should they be required to. It is a culture that needs to change, for the sake of the children.
Then there’s the gangsta rap videos, posted on YouTube. “When there are interventions with problem black kids,” Sewell said, “it’s so often getting these youngsters to glorify gang culture by making rap videos. Isn’t this, you know, racist? The idea that all black kids have great rhythm and could be brilliant DJs? Is that all we have to offer?”
Little Jaden wasn’t filmed making a rap video — but he was photographed making the usual fatuous gangsta moves with his hands, and earlier seen posing holding wads of banknotes. The scumbags (not that much older) who knew him wanted him dead. It wasn’t an accident, a case of mistaken identity.
Fourteen years old. Born into utter hopelessness, with few prospects, because of a culture that another culture — the dominant, white, liberal culture — insists must not be gainsaid. You look at that kid in the photographs and think: where was Mum? More to the point, where was Dad? If we don’t ask those difficult questions, are we not complicit in these harrowing deaths?
So, just another black kid who lived by the tokens of drug and gang life? Yet another statistic up on the whiteboard walls of Metropolitan Police stations?
One would assume so, but a letter to the Sunday Times, scanned by the author; attempts to provide a different perspective:-
Now I read the article written by Rod Liddle, referred to in the above-copied letter. Liddle’s writing is amusing, acerbic and direct, and I would argue with a great many of the sentiments expressed within this letter, written (allegedly) by a classmate of the dead youth.
I agree with his (Liddle’s) statement that many black youths suffer from the absence of a father in the family, and as they don’t have a role-model to copy, or at least emulate, they drift into criminality as the ‘next, best thing’. Many Afro-Caribbean families are in this category, and the single mother status of most is a problem faced by all is one which can be fought and overcome, but more often than not, the lure of quick cash, obtained through either carrying or selling drugs, or other means of criminality; is too great to be overcome, even by a protective mother who is all too aware of the dangers immediately outside of that single-parent home. The reasons why the overwhelming numbers of black fathers drift away once their sexual urges result in children are too complex and perhaps too opaque to be discussed and examined; but it is a fact that an alarmingly large proportion of single-parent black young men graduate to the criminal element. The ‘bling’ element is one, perhaps because the flashy clothes, the gold ornaments and rings, the souped-up cars: all cost real cash, and if that is what attracts the young black man, how is he going to achieve the possession of all these expensive gee-gaws except by the process of easy cash; obtained by the only avenues available to criminals, the drugs; the selling, the distribution, and of course: the enforcing of debts.
As for Master Tanner Reid-Brady, I would have just a few words of advice. It is not ‘ignorance and prejudice’ to relate what is objectively obtained through official statistics. It is not ‘ignorance and prejudice’ to state what is reality, that an alarmingly high percentage of young black men occupy resident status in Her Majesty’s prison and justice systems. It is not ‘ignorance and prejudice’ to relate how he sees the world of young black men who exist without a role-model father.
There is just one final point which I ask young Master Tanner Reid-Brady to perhaps amplify on. Where on earth did he get the notion that his and other races have been ‘subjugated’ by Europeans? With literally hundreds of thousands of black and indeed brown people planning, wishing, hoping and indeed dying to get into Europe, where’s all this ‘subjugation’ been happening? Slavery was abolished over two centuries ago, and the only Continent where chaos routinely rules is Africa, the homeland of the Black man, independent of all colonial ties for decades.
I reckon he’s been listening to, or being taught by, or even prodded into action by; a Guardian reader!