A leading equality campaigner, Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote (OBV) told the Voice newspaper that race relations have been set back ten years because of the riots. He says that the rioters have only made things worse for themselves and the black community.

“The initial protest in Tottenham was a peaceful one and asked legitimate questions. They were faced with another death at the hands of the police, with another set of shockingly conflicting reports of what happened. The hijacking of the initial protest in Tottenham will undoubtedly set race relations back possibly a decade,” he said.

He added that the police will be given stronger powers to deal with not just the looters but with criminals for a long time after this dies down, and he fears the focus will fall on the black community. Ethnic minorities are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by police so black youngsters were already working at a disadvantage.

I agree with Simon Woolley, there are ways to fight for equality and this is not one of them. What this has done is proven the stereotypes that were already branded on the foreheads of black youngsters. They say they’re fighting for respect, how can you expect to gain any respect when you act like fools? They say they’re fighting for justice, where’s the justice in destroying the livelihood of innocent people? They say they’re fighting for Mark Duggan, when his own family speak out and tell you to stop but you don’t listen, how can you expect anyone to believe you’re fighting for him?

I don’t know about you, but I think these rioters have just given more ammunition for far-right political parties to openly advocate racism, and you know what? I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a rise in the number of decent-minded people who adopted these views just because of the stupidity of a small number of people.

What do you think? Do you agree with Mr Woolley’s comments? Or do you think Londoners have moved past using black people as scapegoats?

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