The Ashford schoolgirl racist attack in Britain By Nigerian Guardian Editorial Board

The video footage shows a fight outside the school (Image: Twitter)

A few weeks ago, precisely February 6, the world was shocked by the brutal attack on a black girl who is a student at Thomas Knyvett School in Ashford, Surrey, United Kingdom. The teenage girl, repeatedly punched and kicked in the head, was injured in a violent altercation that resulted in free-for-all fight that saw a ‘mother’ and her children unleashed violence on the helpless black girl. Disgustingly, the so-called mother was seen dishing out orders to her fighting horde, “kick her in the face”.

The incident happened at the junction of Salcombe Road and Stanwell Road, Ashford with no intervention from passers-by to halt the violence that was being unleashed by a gang of racists against the teenager. This incident is horrible, shameful and smacks of outright racism. It is condemnable and it is proper that the Members of Parliament including the MP representing Ashford, have condemned the assault on the teenager who was hospitalized and whose parents are demanding explanation.

While the mayhem lasted, no one intervened, not even passers-by in an expression of perverse individualism. However, the British security waded into the matter afterwards. The action of the police in arresting those suspected to be involved in the unfortunate attack is commendable. Indeed, the police took steps to confirm the welfare of the victim as well as prevent sharing video of what they described as “distressing incident” which has already found its way into social media.

Also, a 39-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl, a 10-year-old girl, and a 43-year-old man have been arrested in connection with this incident on suspicion of attempted infliction of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm (GBH). A statement credited to the Surrey Police noted among other things that, “We are aware that this incident will have caused concern among students, parents, and staff at Thomas Knyvett College, as well as the wider community. We would like to reassure you that an investigation is underway, five arrests have been made in connection with this incident, and we are working closely with Thomas Knyvett College as we investigate this matter.”

The statement of Inspector Maxine Cilia, Borough Commander for Spelthorne in Surrey, further underscored the concern of the police, who expressed disbelief to the extent that she “was shocked to see some of the video footage of this fight and the level of violence from young people outside one of our local schools. Every school child should feel safe in the local community and not the target of any kind of violence as they leave school premises.”

The world is plagued by many problems ranging from wars, climate change, natural disasters and economic crisis and diseases, the Ashford incident has again reminded us that racism is alive and blooming, especially among the Anglo-Saxons. The scourge is by no means over. It shrouds social relations everywhere and in effect a relation of power. Despite official efforts at frowning on acts of racism through forms of criminalisation, it is not going away. Race and race relations have remained current in public debate in the context of physical and structural violence that they engender. Apartheid South Africa was infamous for their racist exertions. While apartheid was transformed into a rainbow society by dint of the liberation struggles, the United States has remained in the eyes of the storm for the country’s racist atrocities that have continued to draw global attention, and are sometimes the point at issue in electoral campaigns to win the votes of the minorities such as the black and the Hispanic communities.

While racial stereotypes and profiling have continued to endure, the genetic explanation of racial slur has been debunked by biologists and must be perceived from the way the phenomenon has been exploited for class privileges and domination. The blacks have particularly been at the receiving end of racist attacks. The equality of the human race is not in doubt and every race have contributed significantly to the development of human civilization.

While it could be said racism exists in Britain despite equal opportunity measures, to our knowledge, there has not been any major racist violence in recent times to warrant this global attention assaulting the sensibility of sentient humanity. Those stuck in the racist cocoon are still hemmed at the pedestal of prehistory. This is basically what the Ashford ‘mother’ and her children exhibited by beating mercilessly, a black teenager.

It is unfortunate that despite the emergent reality of multiculturalism, that sections of the white population in Britain can degenerate to levels of abhorrent racist behaviour. The action is capable of igniting a huge racist rage and war in that country that will only bode ill for race relations in a society already at the tipping point of multiculturalism. The British state actors and security apparatuses must wake and ensure this type of incident does not repeat itself. This can be partly achieved by visiting appropriate punishments on culprits. It is condemnable as it is shameful. This should certainly not be the direction we should be headed in the twenty-first century world that is now a global village.


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