When being a ‘robot’ is the better alternative

The tragic and brutal murder of 16-year-old Kodjo Yenga in Hamersmith reminds me of an infuriating interview on the Today programme last year – one of those (many) occasions when I found myself shouting at the radio as I got ready for work. The debate was about black gang culture and the guest in the studio was a young woman who worked with local black communities. At one point, after being asked about why these young men chose gang membership instead of pursuing qualifications and a career, she rather haughtily dismissed such a suggestion and asked: “Why should they be forced to be robots?”

Robots? To respect other people and the law, to get a job, to provide for a family, to settle down and be a responsible father… that’s being a robot?

And what incensed me more than anything was that this young community worker was, inevitably, being paid out of the public purse. And this is the quality of advice she’s being paid by the public to dispense to her charges.

I rather suspect that the family and friends of Kodjo Yenga wish his attackers had chosen the lives of “robots” instead of gang membership.

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