Mother of Slain U.K. Teen Stephen Lawrence Alleges Widespread Racism

Doreen Lawrence says British officials are missing critical chances to address the country’s race issues and are sliding back toward the intolerance of the past.

Posted: 12/20/2012 11:24 AM EST
Filed Under England, U.K., Global News

Doreen Lawrence

Although her son died at the hands of a group of white men in 1993, today Doreen Lawrence is upset as ever about how racism still seems to impede justice in the United Kingdom.

"Race is definitely not on the government's agenda,” she told British newspaper The Guardian. "I don't really understand it because we all want a society in which we can live safely and live freely and to have police officers doing what they need to do on the street. But when it comes to race, they feel as if they are doing us a favor rather than doing what is right."

Lawrence is referring to a series of legislative snubs that many in London's Black community feel will reverse the gains of the past and allow room for future injustices to flourish.

In May, home secretary Theresa May cast doubt on the country’s once lauded public sector equality duty, which requires public agencies to publish reports detailing how the agency is working to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities. Advocates like Lawrence say the law keeps agencies accountable, while May and other opponents in government say the requirement is merely a superfluous appendage of Britain’s ever growing bureaucracy.

"With the new government in, the whole thing around race has changed completely," Lawrence said, warning that the country risks backsliding on race policy if swift action isn’t taken.

"I think sometimes people are so blasé because it doesn't affect them. It doesn't affect their lives or their family lives and so they don't think about others. They have no understanding about what their measures are doing to other people."

Lawrence’s son Stephen was killed at age 18 after he was attacked while sitting at a bus stop in south east London. His killers, Gary Dobson and David Norris, weren’t brought to justice until Jan. 2012.

 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor)

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