Akala speaks on knife crime in Channel 4 interview

Parris Walters

By Parris Walters

Parris Walters

5 Mar 2019

Rapper, author and activist Akala sat down with Jon Snow of Channel 4 news for an interview in which he gives his insight on the causes of knife crime and how institutional racism within the our society contributes to this.

The interview begins as Snow makes reference to Akala’s 2018 book
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire. The book has often been cited as ‘polemic’ and ‘biographical’ in its nature as it confronts readers with the long history of the politicisation of race in Great Britain through the eyes of an author who has grown up “poor, mixed race and politicised”.

Akala goes on to examine the current issue of youth violence in Britain through a sociological lens, stating “This is not a new problem. Every generation pretends gang crime is a new problem” and how by doing so this creates a sense of ‘moral panic’ and further sensationalises the issue.

The activist goes on to explain the social indicators that are associated with gang violence, leading him to express that the statistics do not support the argument that blackness is a ‘common demoninator’ of violence. Akala proposes that there needs to be greater prioritisation of the well-being of disenfranchised youth as opposed to simply increasing the number of police of the streets.