The convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris will be bitter-sweet vindication for the family of Stephen Lawrence who have fought an 18-year campaign for justice.No family has campaigned as this one - taking their own evidence to the police, bringing a private prosecution against the alleged killers, demanding and getting a public inquiry which culminated in landmark changes to the law and the redefining of racial incidents. And yet, despite all their efforts, the hideous fact is that since Stephen Lawrence's death, at least ninety-six people have lost their lives to racial violence - an average of five per year.
For politicians the issue has been dealt with in the Macpherson Report of 1999. However our research shows that the main parties are in denial about the extent and severity of racial violence, and interested in rightwing extremism only when it challenges them electorally. And yet it is the policies and pronouncements of mainstream politicians, on a range of issues from terrorism and foreign wars to cohesion, criminality and immigration, which create the insidious popular racism in which such violence foments.
The sad fact is that such murders hardly make news. The names of victims will barely be known to any but their immediate families.
The IRR, which records all deaths with a (known or suspected) racial element has found that since the death of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 that at least ninety-six people have died in such attacks...read more