The murder of Stephen Lawrence and the strange case of the missing Wikipedia entries
Wikipedia, as is often the case, summarises the story with admirable lucidity:
“The Stephen Lawrence case became a cause célebre and one of the highest profile racial killings in UK history; its fallout included profound cultural changes to attitudes on racism and the police…”
But here’s a funny thing. As I was looking at Wikipedia’s Lawrence entry, I tried to compare it to Wikipedia’s treatment of other “racialised” killings. Like that of white 19-year-old Gavin Hopley.
Ten years ago, Gavin Hopley, who worked as a security guard in Oldham, was hoping to get a late-night taxi with two friends. They approached a number of cars, in the Muslim area of Glodwick, which had seen serious racial tension in preceding months.
Suddenly they were surrounded by at least a dozen Asian youths, armed with lumps of wood. After a vicious scuffle, where he was kicked in the face, and clubbed with fence-posts, Gavin was left unconscious in the road. His friends escaped. A few days later Gavin died from his injuries.
No one was ever convicted of Gavin’s murder, though several men served a few months for “violent disorder”. Hopley’s family said they felt “let down” by the justice system.
It’s not hard to see parallels between the cases of Lawrence and Hopley. Both killings were brutal and, it seems, motivated by race. Both suffered from imperfect police investigations. Years passed, as both crimes went unsolved, and those responsible for their deaths walked free. So what does Wikipedia say about Gavin Hopley?
That’s right, nothing. There was, in the past, a Wiki article on his case, but it isn’t there, not any more. However, the Wikipedian debate surrounding the removal of the Wiki article can still be seen.
This is a flavour of that debate. “The very fact that it has been ignored by the national media shows it isn't suitable for inclusion.” “I don’t see why we need an article on every murder”.
You see what happened there? Because no one was talking about the murder, that was a good reason to remove the entry on this murder from Wikipedia. And yet, one reason Gavin Hopley’s case is little-known is because it has been removed from Wikipedia. The editorial decision was circular, and self-fulfilling.
To add to the intrigue, the same fastidious editors who deleted “Gavin Hopley” also removed entries relating to several other savage murders of whites by non-whites: Richard Whelan, Mary Ann Leneghan, Charlene Downes, etc. Here are some of the Wikipedia comments on those deletions: “Sad to say, murder is far too common to confer notability on its victims”; “We really don’t want articles on every single crime”.
The debate on the deletion of the ten-year-old Charlene Downes case (she was allegedly killed by an Asian grooming gang, and the murder is still unsolved despite claims that her murderers were involved in cannibalism) is spectacularly revealing: “nothing particularly notable – unless there was an uproar over the girl being served in food”. Personally, I’d say a case involving race, sex abuse, murder and alleged cannibalism in Blackpool Lancashire is about as notable as it gets. But maybe that’s the tabloid journalist in me.
So what’s going on? Is there some vast, anti-white conspiracy at work in the Wikipedia labs? I doubt it. I suspect this is more a case of people hating the Far Right so much, they will redraft history, in order to deny them “helpful” publicity.
And yet it is difficult not to sense a deeper injustice, when you compare the silence that governs the Hopley case, and those like it, with the furore surrounding Lawrence.
In modern Britain it seems there are racist killings, and racist killings. And some are deemed very important. And some are “non-notable”.