chapter  6
28 Pages

The Stephen Lawrence case: An exception that proves the rule?

The key driving force behind advances in the rights of minoritized groups is minoritized groups themselves. In England every notable development taking forward antiracist education has arisen in some way as a direct result of action by minoritized people. Often the catalyst for change nationally is a major protest or public injustice, frequently involving bloodshed, even death. These are typically presented, by policymakers and media commentators, as if they arise randomly, when some fluke occurrence exposes a problem and action is taken to rectify the anomaly; one more step on the steady road of incremental advance towards ever greater inclusion and social justice. The most notable example in recent British history was sparked by the racist murder of a Black teenager, Stephen Lawrence. Over a period of several years the case grew to occupy a place in British cultural politics at least equivalent to the O.J. Simpson trial and the Rodney King case in the US.