Young Adult

Knife Crime Is Not a Black Boy Problem

Knife crime is a problem but it’s not a black boy problem despite what the mainstream media would have you believe.

It’s also laughable that the mainstream media focuses on grime music as being a catalyst for youth violence when violent music is a result of the social enviornment that these kids are living in.
Youths were stabbing each other in the 19th century and I’m quite sure grime music didn’t exist back then.

So, let us take a quick look into the past so we may understand the present.

White gangs that emerged from the 1890s such as the Peaky Blinders or the Scuttlers often fought with knives. They were also fiercely territorial and many of them also initially fought for status rather than profit.
Many of them were also from working-class neighborhoods and experienced some form of poverty.
Sound familiar?

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Today, youth gangs are also protective of their postcodes. They are more concerned with street cred rather than making a profit and they come from families situated in and around working-class neighborhoods.

But what feeds gang culture and how can we fix it?

In the 1880s, offenders were jailed in the hundreds but this still didn’t solve the issue which is why Boris Johnson’s plan to come down hard on offenders with tougher sentences and chicken boxes is unlikely to deter someone who is already willing to stab someone to upgrade their street cred.
It seems that the best interventions, back in the 19th century, were local lads who formed clubs equivalent to today’s youth centers and by getting kids into activities such as boxing, football or plain honest work they were able to cut off the recruit supply chain to local gangs.

The truth is that while we can try to save those who have lost their way we may be more productive by focusing on the kids who have yet to be sucked into gang culture.

WHAT IS STEAMFUNK?

Steamfunk is defined as a philosophy or style of writing and visual aesthetic that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or  steampunk fiction and cosplay.

Steampunk has the power to rip open the 19th Century’s belly and examine its clockwork guts – and to rearrange those guts in new ways – but most Steampunk authors – and indeed most Steampunks – choose to avoid the issues of racism, sexism, classism, colonialism and imperialism.

Steamfunk authors – thankfully – choose to address these very same issues, for we know that to avoid them – especially since there is such a wealth of Steampunk tales to be told from a Black perspective – is to perpetuate the Big Steampunk Lie.

Yes…lie; a lie by omission; also known as the ‘suppression of evidence’.

This type of lie is more subtle. It has the advantage that you can’t get caught in a lie, because everything that you say is true. You just fail to mention all of those bothersome little facts that do not support your point of view. Should someone point out one of those annoying – and unmentioned – facts, you can feign innocent ignorance, or claim that the fact is really just an unimportant, trivial detail, not worth mentioning.

Thus the Victorian Era / Wild West are represented in most Steampunk as merely an age of exploration and invention. A renaissance, if you will. A very interesting – and deceptive – way of describing an era in which the “explorers” who at best unintentionally – and at worst, and far more often, very intentionally – brought with them the forces of colonialism and imperialism throughout the world.

The “Wild West” of North America systematically robbed the indigenous people of their lands and murdered them wholesale while also oppressing and vilifying Asians. In the South and East of North America, people of African descent suffered horrors under the yoke of chattel slavery and things did not get much better after the Civil War. To romanticize such an era; to paint such a dystopian reality as a rose-colored (well, various shades of brown in Steampunk) utopia is the ‘Big Steampunk Lie’ of which I speak.

Now, I am not saying all Steampunk stories should be dark and foreboding. However, we should tackle issues of race, sex and class in our stories to some degree. So many incredible and thought-provoking stories are waiting to be told…if we care to tell them.

Written by Balogun

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Baba_Balogun

Website: https://chroniclesofharriet.com