Brian Richardson

Royals remain out of touch

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The rich man at his castle,/ The poor man at his gate;/ God made them high or lowly./ And ordered their estate.

That was one of the verses of a popular hymn we used to sing when I was a child.

Exactly one mile away from my primary school is a real castle and it was here that Henry Charles Albert David Windsor married Meghan Markle on 19 May.

A More Beautiful and Terrible History

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“Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama’s running so we all can fly.” Rap mogul Jay Z’s words reflected not just the “Yes we can!” optimism of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, but also the orthodox view of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM).

Most commentaries present us with a series of episodes which are celebrated as part of the glorious history of the United States.

How institutional racism survives

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A quarter of a century has passed since the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence led to greater recognition of institutional racism. But how much has really changed since, asks Brian Richardson.

"What, what nigger?” Those were probably the very last words that 18 year old black student Stephen Lawrence heard as he waited for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Well Hall Road, Eltham, on 22 April 1993. Seconds later he was attacked by a knife wielding gang of racists. He tried to escape and managed to run some distance before collapsing in a pool of his own blood.

We Were Eight Years In Power

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is currently one of the most sought after black writers in the US. He is a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine and his previous book Between the World and Me (see November 2015 SR) won the National Book Award for Non Fiction. He has also turned his hand to fiction, writing a series of Black Panther books for Marvel Comics. More importantly, his work brought him to the attention of Barack Obama and he became one of a group of journalists invited to a series of off the record sessions during the latter’s presidency.

Drugs: It’s time to stop and think

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In discussions about stop and search, racism and young people, there is an elephant in the room. Brian Richardson says it’s time to end the "war on drugs".

David Lammy is clearly a man who has been liberated by his removal from the rigours of high political office. This year he has raged with righteous anger about the horrific Grenfell Tower fire, demanding corporate manslaughter charges against those responsible for the deaths of dozens of people including his friend, the 24 year old artist Khadija Saye. In addition he has spoken with passion on Stand Up to Racism platforms and published a government commissioned review into racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Here we go again?

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The Football Lads Alliance made its shocking appearance in June with a 10,000-strong march against Muslim “extremism”. Brian Richardson looks at the history of football and racist organisations.

Those of us who are football fans invariably approach the start of a new season with a mixture of optimism and trepidation. The hope that our team will win a trophy sits alongside a fear of relegation or failure to qualify for a prestigious competition. As the 2017-18 season began, however, there was real concern about a significant development that has emerged during the summer and away from the stadiums.

#grime4corbyn caught a mood

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One of the most remarkable aspects of the general election was the extent to which young people rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn. Approximately 250,000 registered to vote on deadline day alone and two thirds of those who cast a ballot voted for Labour.

That electoral surge included the frankly astonishing sight of the decidedly uncool Corbyn being hailed by a host of young black musicians including Akala, Riz Ahmed and JME. Moreover that support coalesced into a movement, #grime4corbyn, and a range of activities including a campaign rally in north London.

Damn

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Two years ago Kendrick Lamar delivered one of the landmark albums of the decade. To Pimp a Butterfly combined the brilliant, imaginative musicality of artists such as Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus and Thundercat with Lamar’s sharp observations about the “post-racial” society that Barack Obama’s presidency had supposedly ushered in. One of its stand out tracks “Alright” quickly became one of the anthems of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

Cressida Dick lands killer job

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The appointment of Cressida Dick as Metropolitan Police Commissioner will have sent shivers down the spines of many Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Londoners. Walk past Stockwell underground station and you will understand why. Immediately to the left of the entrance is a mural with the inscription “INNOCENT Jean Charles de Menezes…Shot dead here 22.07.2005 Sadly missed”.

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