race and youth
Obscured by national preoccupation with immigration and new arrivals, the discrimination and disadvantage experienced by Liverpool-born black youths lay concealed and festering beneath the spurious local rhetoric of harmonious relations espoused by politicians and the media. Denied any recognition of their ‘special but not separate’ needs, Liverpool-born black youths were harassed by the police in the moral panic over mugging. While cordial relations between the police and black community leaders came to an abrupt end, black youths reacted more forcefully, rejecting mainstream values in favour of ‘black power’. As academics and professionals working in the field warned the Select Committee on Race Relations, Liverpool was no longer the role model but an object lesson, foreshadowing problems soon to come elsewhere. The riots of 1972 were the siren call, warning of trouble ahead in other cities as British-born black children of the ‘Empire Windrush’ generation approached adolescence, alienation and racial polarisation.
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