I was shocked and astonished to read Rod Liddle’s Sunday Times article earlier today. His view stereotypes not just black women but the black community as a whole, says we are underachievers, and that if a young black man is stabbed it’s not the perpetrator’s fault but the victim’s mother. Everyone is entitled to their view but his doesn’t represent the world I come from, it only distorts the argument and places race on the agenda.
As a son of a single parent mother, my mum did not ‘scrounge off the state’, she worked various jobs and ensured that it was instilled in me to work. I certainly would not be writing this article, hosting radio shows on the BBC or appearing on Good Morning Britain without the help of my mum. She is a champion, a queen who should be commended for keeping my brother and I away from trouble. Her achievements or any other hard-working Black mother in the UK should not be hijacked by Rod Liddle’s ‘rent a gob’ weekly rant. Liddle has completely misunderstood what single black mothers are all about – they are hard-working, caring and compassionate like any other mother from any other background. They should not be disrespected and blamed for the current problems we are facing on our streets.
Instead, Liddle and every other journalist should be focusing on this: how can we bring our communities together and ensure the madness that has gripped our streets is challenged, and that ensure youngsters can walk around our streets without fear of being stabbed or shot. This debate is not about race, but about how everyone in different communities can bring their sons and daughters up in a decent manner to respect the values of society. Of course some kids from all backgrounds go off the rails but that’s not a race or ethnicity issue, that’s down to what is happening in their lives at home from hardship, abuse or psychological issues, not about being able to interact or connect with their parents or guardians.
The problem we are facing on our streets is deep-rooted in factors which are beyond the control of our authorities, social workers and the police. Times have changed since I was brought by my Mum, but we are still living in challenging times – we need to remember we are living in times where parents are finding it hard to fend for themselves (let alone their kids), opting for food banks, skipping meals to ensure their children have enough money to get to school or most importantly one hot meal for the day.
As a broadcaster and writer it annoys me when middle class, predominately white journalists like Liddle fly off the handle and are quick to place the blame on single parent black mothers, meanwhile writing their article in a leafy, affluent part of the UK free from food banks, crime or hardship. They clearly don’t know what it’s like for single parent nowadays trying to ensure their children are okay. We must support all parents and not stereotype them. It’s up to us to connect with our communities to ensure the madness which has gripped our streets can be put to an end.