Tory advisors blame family breakdowns, crime on black women

// 25 October 2006

Black women are responsible for the high numbers of young black men in jail, because their independence from men sends out the wrong message, according to advisors to David Cameron.

The BBC reports that a number of organisations that advise Cameron gave evidence to a select committee hearing on young black people and the criminal justice system blaming women.

Camilla Batmanghelidjh, from a charity called Kid’s Company said:

“I actually think the mothers are hugely responsible because they have created a culture where they can get rid of the adolescent boy.

“They can get rid of the male partner, they can survive on their own.

“Often people think it’s the males who are the culprits, the irresponsible people who actually come along and make these girls pregnant and walk off.

“And they underestimate the level of rejection and cruelty from the females towards the males.

“I actually think the males are really vulnerable and it starts in adolescence.

“The minute the adolescent boy begins to look slightly like a male and behave like a male, often the mother wants that young male banished from the house. A hate relationship often develops.

“I really think we underestimate the vulnerabilities of young black men.”

And Uanu Seshmi, of the Boyhood to Manhood Foundation, said:

“Men have a place. At the moment our men are like bees. Once they reproduce they are of no use – and they are dying.”

The message seems to be that black women – by asserting independence and successfully bringing up their families on their own – are dooming their sons to a life of crime. Although their proposition may appear to be reasonable on the surface – men should be more involved in bringing up their children in order to provide good role models, in actual fact these organisations have put a toxic spin on the argument.

It seems to refer mostly to teenage mothers and fathers, and it seems to suggest that a) it is the woman’s fault if the father walks away, and b) even if it’s not that particular woman’s fault, it’s another woman’s fault – i.e. the man’s mother, and c) mothers should just shut up and stay with a man they don’t want to be with if they get pregnant, otherwise their sons will grow up as a plague on society.

The group Boyhood to Manhood Foundation also called for stronger government policies supporting marriage. Surely it doesn’t need restating, but marriages held together by government action are hardly the best environment to bring up children in either. From their website, the group appears to do some excellent work in my local community of Southwark, but from the stance taken at this select committee it seems like they would be better off sticking to arranging camping trips.

As Jennifer Drew posted on a the London Feminist Network discussion list:

As always, one group are being singled out and blamed, which in this

case are black women. However, the situation is never that simplistic.

The stereotype of black women as being dominant and primarily single

mothers has been around for decades. Such stereotyping is not only

dangerous it also promotes a blame black women for the still embedded

racism and sexism within our society.

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