A drama about a student murdered in a racist killing shows “the harsh reality of pain of loss”, his mother says.
Anthony Walker, 18, was attacked with an ice axe in Merseyside in a killing that shocked the nation.
Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. It may also mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity. Modern variants of racism are often based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. These views can take the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities.In terms of political systems (e.g., apartheid) that support the expression of prejudice or aversion in discriminatory practices or laws, racist ideology may include associated social aspects such as nativism, xenophobia, otherness, segregation, hierarchical ranking, and supremacism.
While the concepts of race and ethnicity are considered to be separate in contemporary social science, the two terms have a long history of equivalence in popular usage and older social science literature. “Ethnicity” is often used in a sense close to one traditionally attributed to “race”: the division of human groups based on qualities assumed to be essential or innate to the group (e.g. shared ancestry or shared behavior). Therefore, racism and racial discrimination are often used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of whether these differences are described as racial. According to a United Nations convention on racial discrimination, there is no distinction between the terms “racial” and “ethnic” discrimination. The UN Convention further concludes that superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous. The Convention also declared that there is no justification for racial discrimination, anywhere, in theory or in practice.Racism is a relatively modern concept, arising in the European age of imperialism, the subsequent growth of capitalism, and especially the Atlantic slave trade, of which it was a major driving force. It was also a major force behind racial segregation especially in the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and South Africa under apartheid; 19th and 20th century racism in Western culture is particularly well documented and constitutes a reference point in studies and discourses about racism. Racism has played a role in genocides such as the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and genocide of Serbs, and colonial projects including the European colonization of the Americas, Africa, and Asia as well as the Soviet deportations of indigenous minorities. Indigenous peoples have been—and are—often subject to racist attitudes.
Racist murder drama 'part of victim's legacy'
Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter. Manslaughter is killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness.
Most societies consider murder to be an extremely serious crime, and thus that a person convicted of murder should receive harsh punishments for the purposes of retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, or incapacitation. In most countries, a person convicted of murder generally faces a long-term prison sentence, possibly a life sentence; and in a few, the death penalty may be imposed.
The BBC One drama, titled Anthony, tells the story of what his life could have been like if he had not been the victim of the racist attack in 2005.
His mother Gee hopes dramatising it for TV will become “part of Anthony’s legacy – to honour him”.
Racist murder drama 'part of victim's legacy'
“It’s one of the most painful things I’ve done since losing Anthony, but I think it was important for the story to be told,” she said.
Mrs Walker approached writer Jimmy McGovern with the idea to show “Anthony’s unfilled dreams, his potentials and the many lives he would have impacted on”.
“I’ve always thought to myself there’s nothing entertaining about grief and pain of loss,” she said.
“I want him to show the harsh reality of pain of loss and I couldn’t think of anyone better to express it than Jimmy.”
Anthony died after he was chased from a bus stop in Huyton, Knowsley, before being struck with the ice axe.
His killers Michael Barton, then 17, and Paul Taylor, then 20, are both serving life sentences for murder.
“Racism’s a disease because what it does is it kills, it destroys. This is my last-ditch attempt to get the message across,” said Mrs Walker.
“Stop. Stop it. It’s killing. It’s a disease and you’re perpetrating that.”
Anthony is on BBC One at 20:30 BST, then on BBC iPlayer.
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