Back in June this year, I wrote about the damming disparity in media & public attention when it comes to Black people being murdered comparatively to their white counterparts.
Take the haunting murder of Dea-John Reid, aged 14, in a crime that is tantamount to Stephen Lawrence’s horrific murder in 1993. Five white men & boys hunted Dea-John down like an animal, purely based on the colour of his skin and killed him in broad daylight in May 2021.
The media noise was scant to say the least. The Black community mainly picked the story up on social media. Nor were the family supported in any capacity, by any professional agency, whilst expressing the pain of their son’s death, on National TV. To this day, I’m not sure any convictions have been reported.
If we are looking relatively to the awful and brutal murder of Sarah Everard, who went missing on 3 March 2021, with her body found a week later – a quick google check showed that even as far as the 8 June the Independent were continuing to report on her murder. You will find at least 6 pages of related search articles on the BBC.
Now the full and frank story of how Wayne Couzens deliberately and meticulously planned Sarah’s murder is out, the public outrage is at prolific levels. And so, it should be. I’ve read her mothers impact statement and every single word was a visceral hit to the heart and brain.
However, this very outrage, this very hearty public protest is simply because Sarah is white. Because white people do not normally experience the back end of the law in this way. They are not murdered by Policemen, lives snuffed out apropos of nothing.
It also throws up deep societal issues on gender-based violence, and the fact that the onus is still being placed at the feet of women to navigate male crime and perpetrators.
North Yorkshire police commissioner Philip Allott even went as far to say that women should be more educated and streetwise on where and when they should submit to arrest – you know just in case a murderous police officer accosts you, it’s your responsibility to know your rights. The epitome of a blame shifter.
Clearly, systemic racism is what Black & Ethnically diverse people have been dealing with for years upon years, and the systemic racism across the media and institutions is becoming more and more obvious. I would even go as far to suggest that current efforts are backsliding.
The story of two Black sisters Bibaa Henry & Nicole Smallman hits particularly hard. Murdered on Monday 8 June 2020, the two sisters were found in a park in Northwest London, having been repeatedly stabbed.
As the BBC reported ‘Their bodies had been lying behind a line of trees at Fryent Country Park in Wembley, north-west London, since the very early hours of Saturday’. The reason why they were there that long is because when they were notified, the Police simply didn’t act, they did not care. So much so, that the family took it upon themselves to do the Met Police’s detective work. It was Nicole’s partner who found their dead bodies.
On top of this, two police officers have been prosecuted for misconduct for taking “non-official and inappropriate photographs” with their dead bodies. Gaslighting by the very institution that is supposed to protect and serve.
Still the public outrage was dim, very dim. With media coverage scant.
Their mother Mina Smallman, a former archdeacon, later said:
“I think the notion of ‘all people matter’ is absolutely right, but it’s not true. Other people have more kudos in this world than people of colour.
“That’s what gives me purpose – if their lives make a change in the way women are viewed, and black women in particular.
“In the pecking order of things, we are the lowest on the ladder.”
The dial isn’t shifting. Even in death Black women, their friends, family, and people are still fighting with their chest to be heard.