I am not an expert.
I don’t work with children.
I don’t live on the streets.
I cannot lay a claim to the full knowledge of street or gang culture.
But what I know is that I am an African mother who is tired of seeing a heartwrentching number of African kids being butchered on the streets of London, and I simply want it to stop.
The so called experts have been spewing their knowledge and “Operational Talks” and showing off their experiences for years. But they have not given us a solution to this epidemic. Where are all these experts when deaths by knife stabbings have increased by 23% in just 1 year and more African kids are not just victims but also perpetrators of knife killings!??
And while we are at it, how many of these bereaved parents do these experts really know – or visit to console after or during the bleak and painful period after the untimely death of their child?
These experts will seat on their cushy backsides and blame single parents, absent fathers, the government, the police, local drug lords, video games, rap music and and even patents who smack or flog their kids…..
And taking the moral high ground, as these so called experts are so fond of doing, over the way some folks chose to train and instil discipline in their kids, is in the least arrogant as well as ignorant.
I am not an advocate for violence or corporal punishment but I was born (in the UK) and raised by African parents in an African setting, and I am well aware of the preferred African parent’s form of discipline developed and taken literally from the Biblical proverb which says “If you spare the rod, you spoil the child” . This might sound highly horrific in certain quaters and I can just about hear the shrieks emanating from some throats – but many successful and high performing African men will tell you it was their mum’s or dad’s flogging that saved them from going down the slippery slope they were headed for.
Fortunately, I never had any serious discipline or behavioural issues with any of my kids that a stern telling off, a gentle smack or a kneel down, hands up for 10 minutes did not address. But I never had to resort to violent corporal punishment.
I realise and recognise the fact that corporal punishment is not only frowned upon but more importantly illegal in this country. Therefore, I reiterate at this point that while I believe in justifiable corporal punishmentin in very limited and extreme cases, I am not advocating, advising or campaigning in support of it.
However, rather than demonizing it, why not admit and accept it as a way that might work in certain circumstances. Afterall, the “Lets not abuse our kids, let’s respect their rights, let’s be their best friends, mamby-pamby tread softly around them, don’t let’s hurt their feelings” approach has very obviously not worked – otherwise, deaths by knife stabbings will be an issue of the past and African parents will not be burying their baby boys….or seeing them thrown in jail for 20 years!
And do not let us forget that the kids that are being killed are not the problem – but those kids who are so unruly and so hardened to the point of believing that taking another kid’s life at the blade of a knife is the best way to score a point or settle an issue. I’m sure that behaviour or attitude did not start at the point where they picked up that knife and thrust it several times through another boy’s heart or abdomen.
It started from the point where the kid started to demonstrate aggressive and unruly behaviours at home or at school. Such behaviours will have been exhibited through bullying, shouting at the parent (s) or teachers, storming off and banging the door after him whilst being told off, squaring up to the parent or teacher and daring an action or reaction, unaccountable absences from the home or school and keeping late nights on school days or simply being reported of being seen with the wrong crown (gangs). These are all the types of serious behavioural traits that need nipping in the bud and can result in more violent actions if not dealt with sooner.
Kids from many African homes will tell you that the first time they shouted back or squared up to their dad – was the very last time they tried it with the parent or anyone else for that matter. The life LESSON they were dealt that day ensured that.
Whether or not we disagree with this form of discipline, many African parents albeit outside of the UK, believe in it – and many still dish it.
Unfortunately, many parents are either too strict or too soft on their kids and both of these each have their own downsides.
Parents that are simply too busy being their kids “”bessie mates” forget to set boundaries and lay down laws or parameters of discipline for their kids. Many adults are still so childish that they do not realise that they are not only older as the adult, but also wiser, more experienced and more knowledgeable. They allow themselves to be led, directed, dictated to, instructed and guided by the kid instead of the other way round.
Others are too strict that their kids are so fearful of them and cannot sit down to talk with them especially if they have issues worrying them. This unfortunately, is the trap that the “good kids” find themselves in and this painfully, is what lures them to seek inappropriate company outside of the home and inadvertently, into the path of danger or dangerous actions.
We can contradict each other, blame or point accusatory fingers at each other till the Rapture happens – but whilst we are doing that, what we must not lose sight of, is the fact that somewhere on a street in London – possibly just yards away from his home as I am typing, or as you are reading this, a kid is being stabbed to death by another kid.
All the legal and lawful approaches within the UK laws towards dealing with this matter are not working. Let the police stop and search all they like. Those smarts kids have devised another way round this. They simply don’t carry knives on them any more. They hide them in bushes and under park benches near their schools, public playgrounds and parks to be picked up at a moments notice if someones needs to be “sor’ed”
There is no scarcity of conferences, report, seminars and lectures about Gangs and Knife Cultures – but all these events have done successfully so far, has been TALK!
The time for talking is over. We need a different approach.
It is now the time to ACT.
My Baroness J’s Sistas and Divas (Fun & Fundraising) Evening comes up on the 24th of June 2018 with the theme: “African Mothers Against Youth Gangs And Knife Crime” and leading up to that date, we are fronting a campaign to resentisize parents about this painful issue – and take the “DROP THE KNIFE” message directly to our kids and.
We need to engage with the kids, talk with them and show them different ways. But first, we need to persuade them to down the knives and stop killing each other.
Be a part of this campaign.
To find out how, please call 07946 126561.