We as a community particularly the millennial’s need to take a step back, perhaps even a few steps and analyse the root causes which drive some of us towards indulging in crime. 

Based on figures from the Lammy Review 41% of under-18s in custody are from minority backgrounds. These figures also showed that young black men are nine times more likely to be in youth custody than their white counterparts.

Shocking isn’t it? This lead me to want to understand more about where it all starts from, and the wider impact it has had on the black community in particularly in regard to its men.

In the past it was often presumed that offences related to gun and knife crime were gang-related issues, but it is now estimated that 75% of those caught have no connection to gangs, indicating that there is a plethora of factors outside of gang culture such as poverty and a failure to matriculate through the education system contributing to the rise in violence.

 Others have suggested the problem is one which is internal. It has been suggested that young people lack purpose and as result fail to see their worth. Undoubtedly social media is a large contributor to this. With the youth being constantly bombarded with an image of what they are supposed be like many feel forced to confirm to that image, which undoubtedly leads them down a downwards spiral of repeat petty crimes. 

While this article was of course triggered by the recent actions surrounding J Hus’ arrest for carrying a knife, that will not be the focus point – nor should it be. The picture is much bigger than that.

While there is no room for condoning the offence, the why in situations like these is extremely important for us to look at. While for most people it is not cut and dry but rather a combination of factors, there are several reasons why people may feel obligated to arm themselves.

 Often the feeling of needing to be armed, is in relation to feeling threatened. This is often in relation to ongoing discourse within a particular community or group of people. Young people find themselves in circumstances where they feel that their fists will not help them and as such turn to weapons out of fear.

Taking steps to understanding why something occurred does not take away from the acknowledgment that an action is dangerous but may however aid in preventing the act from reoccurring in the future. Which is exactly what we should all aim to do!

While things are slightly different in the US, the principle is exactly the same. Meek Mill and his probation sentence is a primary example. Probation is a court-ordered form of criminal justice supervision meted out for both felony offenses. While it is unnecessary to go into the intricate details of the Meek’s case there are some important elements of his situation synonymous with many black males who find themselves caught up in the prison system whether it is in the UK or US. Ridiculously strenuous probation terms and high revocation rates.

 Both Meek and Jhus while from different sides of the ocean have the commonality of being well known public figures. With the government constantly trying to blame the music for being a contributory factor to gun and knife crime it would not be hard to fathom that the justice system would be out to make an example of Jhus considering the nature of the offence. While this issue is not always black and white, it appears that in some cases the justice system in addition to major companies take a firmer stance against these particular individuals. A prime example of this being wireless. While Jhus was released on bail, wireless released an official statement announcing that he would no longer be performing.


What Now?

 So, the question that remains is where do we go from here? Recent events have highlighted that regardless of celebrity status this is an issue that many of the youth continue to struggle with. What steps can be taken to begin tackling this issue? Tweet us @online_MCM and let’s keep the conversation going.

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