Prologue: Facing Up 1

More than a Woman

…Ours is a society fragmented by our individual selfish interests. This fact explains why a ‘white’ woman who complains about discrimination in favour of men can be a racist; a ‘black’ man who complains about racism thinks it is okay to beat up gays; and some Muslims who complain about lack of equality before the law think it is okay to force girls into arranged marriages. Our young people refuse to continue to live with the repression and oppression. Black boys stabbing each other can be seen through another lens as giving the ultimate cry for help; white working class children hanging out in groups, drinking, smoking and taking dope are probably saying: “If you don’t care about us why should we care about us?” Even politically radicalised Muslim boys, who are reportedly plotting to blow us up, are screaming out for equality, fairness, respect and understanding.

In facing the challenges ahead we are going to have to make some choices. We can continue to bury our heads in the sand and hope that we can contain our children in the way British yobs are contained through policing and espionage as Jack Straw, the Minister for Justice, clarified on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show recently. We can continue to blame the experiences of our young people on bad parenting by the poor and disenfranchised; or we can face up to the causes and effects of the crisis facing our young people…

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