Thursday, 12 January 2012

'Stop and Search' Policy; How to cause Ben's bad behaviour!

Ben and his brother Willy are larking around in the lounge. Their Mum's favourite vase gets a direct hit and is smashed to smithereens. Mum hears the crash and comes flying in from the kitchen. "How d'ya manage to do that", she yells, grabbing hold of Ben. "Why pick on me and not Willy?", cries Ben. "Because it usually is you", returns Mum. She is right; it usually is Ben - But could her attitude be contributing to Ben's persistent bad behaviour? Is she part of the problem? After all, if she always assumes that Ben is at fault, then Ben has little incentive to be 'a good boy'. He can't win.

In London, black/Asian youths are six times as likely to be 'Stopped and Searched' (SAS) by the Police as their white counterparts. Remember that the Police do not need justifiable suspicion to SAS; if they just don't like the look of you, they can employ SAS. The, apparently reasonable, explanation offered by the Authorities and in the popular media is that this simply reflects statistical experience of the distribution of crime - A greater proportion of criminality is generated by black/ Asian youths. The Police are simply deploying their resources to where the problem seems to reside. Just like with Mum and her two lads, this sounds reasonable at first glance. But, as with Mum and the lads, could the policy be part of the problem? I suggest that it probably is!

There is no doubt at all that black/ Asian youths are alienated by this skewed SAS policy and many perfectly law-abiding lads complain bitterly of being repeatedly subjected to random and unjustified searches. Additionally, although attitudes have improved over time, racist bigotry is still alive and well in our society and non-whites do not always enjoy equal treatment with their white brothers - Either in everyday life or in the workplace. So why should we expect Ben to improve has behaviour when we don't treat him as an equal and always assume that he is probably the culprit when an offence is committed?

Give him a chance. Get rid of your racist attitudes. Show him equal treatment with his brother. In time, Ben may surprise you.

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