Kill The Black One First

Kill The Black One First The title of Michael Fuller s memoir Kill the Black One First is a startling statement as it s meant to be This was something which was shouted by the public while he was the sole black police officer in a group of white officers trying to keep the peace during the Brixton riots in 1981 an infamous confrontation amidst racial tension between police and protesters in South London that led to many injuries and widespread destruction The phrase epitomises the dire dilemma Fuller found himself in for much of his life working for the Metropolitan Police where he was often subjected to racism from within the predominantly white police force on one side and suspicious anger from sections of the black community who labelled him coconut on the other Fuller recounts his life from his beginning growing up in a care home in the 1960s to eventually being appointed the first black chief constable in the UK in 2004 This is the story of a diligent, bright and sensitive individual who cares passionately about justice Being a good conscientious police officer was his primary motivation in life But, because of the colour of his skin, he faced innumerable obstacles which would have deterred many from pursuing this profession or abandoning it Fuller highlights how few black police officers made a career at the Met due to feeling so isolated His journey is utterly inspiring and it powerfully illuminates the dynamics of racial conflict in England over the past fifty years from someone who was in a very unique position Read my full review of Kill the Black One First by Michael Fuller on LonesomeReader Really good The prose is unadorned, even simple, but that s no bad thing because this would be a great book for young people to read I don t read much autobiography, but I was impressed at how well Fuller takes something as sprawling and disjointed as a life and manages to fashion it into a story that feels cohesive He does that by focusing on three things his personal growth, his career, and his experiences with race and racism The end result is an honest, fair story, and one that explains quite simply some of the thorny problems the UK still has with race, not least the ease with which white people dismiss black voices when they don t want to hear them As Fuller s story makes clear, not intending to be racist is not the same thing as not doing things which are racist, and not standing quietly by while others do them Fuller s description of his psychology in dealing with incidents of racism in the force was incredibly relatable, even as someone who has rarely experienced anything quite like it The tendency to second guess and make excuses, to want to smooth things over, felt very familiar to me A big part of the story is about how Fuller found a way to balance the conflicting desire to challenge injustice and to be accepted That s a good lesson for anyone. Well, this is quite some book At a headline level it is the autobiography of Mike Fuller, Britain s first Black Chief Constable So potentially a story of black lad does good but it is so much than that trite view Yes Mike Fuller is black and yes he does do very well indeed This is the story of his journey, those that influenced him and in turn those that he himself influenced in a long and distinguished career.The book is dedicated to Margaret Hurst, in charge of the children s home that he grew up in and she does come over as an astonishing young lady, sadly dying in her 30 s but not before changing the lives of those in her care Wisdom beyond her years set Mike Fuller on a path of wanting to be the best and with an intelligent and inquisitive nature He joined the Metropolitan Police Cadets and then became a full PC working the streets of London This started a career that ended up with him in the top job Along the way he had to deal with the racism of his colleagues and the challenges of the job itself This is not a boastful book, it pegs the attitudes of a time and a place but also shows that improvement has been made with regard to race and attitude.As an aside, my Dad and his partner lived next door to the Fullers in South West London for many years, although I never met him during my visits, I assume he was very busy keeping the people of Kent safe.So this is an interesting and moving book on many levels, in my opinion this was written less as an autobiography and as a tribute and in memory of Margaret Hurst She would have been beyond proud. Brilliant and thought provoking memoir of a black police officer in London during the blackest part of the racial intolerance scandals Kill the Black One First was a phrase shouted by rioters at Brixton as the police officers formed a barrier to control them Michael Fuller selected it as the title for his memoir of life in isolation Brought up in care, the only black kid the bright boy in school can t be right , say the teachers a black policeman on the beat what s he doing from both sides.Michael Fuller was lucky enough to be given sound principles from a remarkable housemother in the 60s 70s When he first started to realise he was different , she helped him understand why, and gave him his guiding principle Stop, think is it you or a generic slur Only then decide whether you have something to say on the subject or to let it ride Many of us could usefully use this technique without half the provocation heaped on this boy Yet it helped him become one of the most senior police officers in London s notoriously racist Metropolitan Police.The young boy is threatened with homelessness at 16 just one of the penalties of being a child in care in the 1970s Having admired the police from the start, with tv shows, and then a burglary at the home, he spots an opportunity He becomes a police cadet at 16, with live in accommodation This will also give him the chance to become a police officer and be sponsored through university Self reliance started before even this, as he tell us about a school project.People who have lived in the London area from the 80s onwards will find themselves pushed back down memory lane It will be from an unexpected angle On the front line at the Brixton riots Dealing with stabbings on Shepherds Bush Green Separating the lonely from the wealthy down Vine Street and Soho Experiencing the breakdown in policing in Streatham, and the almost cosy welcome in the outwardly similar area of Lambeth, right next door.And every now and then you get an insight into Jamaican immigrant culture The difficulties of second generation Windrush immigrants the white world turning on their generosity and hurling it back in their face.Sensitively and powerfully written, and thought provoking from start to finish This is a brilliant book. This is the extraordinary account by Michael Fuller of his epic rise, against all the odds, from a child in care, to become Britain s first black Chief Constable.The racial abuse he suffered from white police officers and the black community was truly shocking.I listened to the audio of this book, read by the author, and was riveted by his story and his achievements.We can all learn something from reading the memoir of this remarkable man, I know I have. Michael Fuller grew up in care, and from an early age knew he wanted to join the police Though he faced discouragement and outright opposition in some cases, Fuller went on to rise through the ranks and become the first ever black Chief Constable of Kent This is a powerful and fascinating read Giving a personal view of the Brixton riots, the Stephen Lawrence murder case, and Operation Trident, Fuller doesn t hold back in describing both the personal and institutional racism that he had to endure from some of his white colleagues, and the hatred from some sections of the black community for joining the police As the author says, he felt as if he didn t belong anywhere Some parts of it were shocking, with the brazen displays of racism shown, and the failure of others to speak out about it Other parts were truly uplifting Definitely a recommended read.Thank you to NetGalley and publishers, Kings Road Publishing, for the opportunity to review an ARC. A Story About Race, Identity, Belonging And Displacement, Kill The Black One First Is The Memoir From Michael Fuller Britain S First Ever Black Chief Constable, Whose Life And Career Is Not Only A Stark Representation Of Race Relations In The UK, But Also A Unique Morality Tale Of How Humanity Deals With Life S InjusticesMichael Fuller Was Born To Windrush Generation Jamaican Immigrants In , And Experienced A Meteoric Career In Policing, From The Beat To The Brixton Inferno, Through Cutting Edge Detective Work To The Frontline Of Drug Related Crime And Violence On London S Most Volatile Estates He Took A Pivotal Role In The Formation Of Operation Trident, Which Tackled Gun Crime And Gang Warfare In The London Community, And Was Later Appointed As Chief Constable Of Kent Kill The Black One First Is A Raw And Unflinching Account Of A Life In Policing During A Tumultuous Period Of Race Relations Throughout The UK Really interesting. An honest and enlightening memoir which highlights the changing attitudes within the Metropolitan police and the wider community The book also challenges assumptions often made about children who are looked after and accommodated within the care system Michael Fuller has certainly forged a interesting career and I m glad that he chose to document and share his experiences with the world A recommended read, particularly for any young person who feels isolated and excluded. This book blew me away I found myself so invested and wowed by the treatment Michael endured, how he dealt with it so rationally, and how he continued to strive to be the best version of himself The writing is impeccable as is the timeline and the story it tells, and I urge anyone who has ever underestimated the underlying racism of our society to read this An important and necessary read for 2019.

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  • Kindle Edition
  • 320 pages
  • Kill The Black One First
  • Michael Fuller
  • English
  • 27 March 2019

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