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The Week That Was: Racism Uncovered

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On Easter Sunday, as we celebrate new beginnings, Britain appears gripped by attitudes of a bygone era.

It has only been three months since the Stephen Lawrence trial finally ended, bringing to a close nearly two decades of pain for his family, and along the way uncovering a culture of inherent racism within the British Police Force.

After the guilty verdicts were handed down to Stephen's killers, Gary Dobson and David Norris, the courts, media and to an extent, the British public were all guilty of patting themselves on the back, and believing a great step had been taken forward for race relations within the UK.

If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is that this was wishful thinking at its best.

From the recording uncovered by the Guardian of a police officer verbally abusing a 21-year-old black man during last summer's riots, to the tweets placed by student Liam Stacey as Fabrice Muamba lay on the pitch after suffering a heart attack during his match against Tottenham in March, it is clear that Britain's issues with racism are as prevalent as they have always been.

The rise of social media is giving the great and good an easy scapegoat, with the chief prosecutor in the Stacey case, Jim Brisbane, claiming the student's 56-day sentence should "serve as a warning to anyone who may think that comments made online are somehow beyond the law". If this was the case, YouTube's users missed the message. As HuffPost UK reporter Michael Rundle discovered this week, racism is rife across the website.

Damning this practice and the publishers and owners of such sites makes for great headlines. However, when it comes to light that the Met police knew they had a crisis "waiting to happen" some eight years ago, and were being urged to take immediate action but did nothing, it is clear that rogue trolls on the internet are merely the easiest racists to criticise. It is those who mask themselves with the uniform of the establishment who should be most ashamed.

Earlier in the year, Stephen's mother Doreen Lawrence accused David Cameron and his government of not doing enough to address issues of racism in the UK. "There is a lot they can do. People take their lead from the government. If the prime minister said 'this is what I'd like to see happen in our society'... people will try to work towards that," she told the Guardian. "At the moment, I'm not sure exactly what they are doing around race."

After the past month, it is going to be difficult for this government to look the other way for much longer.

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