Bring in the army! Bloody looters! Yobs! Deport them! Shoot them all like the dogs that they are! I’m sure many of you will be familiar with phrases such as these. Twitter and Facebook have recently become the therapy ground for those sitting watching, from the confines of their living room, the bedlam that has mastered itself splendidly across England’s capital. However, all of these terms were documented as having been said by White Americans during the Watts riots of 1965. A staggering 46 years later and the same sentiments are being shared with little consternation.
Following the shooting of Mark Duggan by police on Thursday 4th August in Tottenham, what originally had begun as a peaceful protest has since proceeded to escalate into an anarchist-driven theme park. Many of those now engaged in the looting of shops and homes are so far disconnected from the main cause of the protests that it is unwise to assume that these individuals are the same ones who marched in the name of Mark Duggan. What has subsequently erupted is the inevitable. As I stated a few days earlier a key psychological factor to any form of social disorder is essentially a group of socially invisible people making themselves forcefully visible. Now before I proceed, by no means am I trying to prescribe anarchy as a means of gaining the recognition of a nation. In the long run this only plays to a peoples’ detriment and helps to reinforce those ill-bred stereotypes ardent bigots possess then unhesitatingly set free once given the chance. I believe with all my being that a collective focus, which incorporates the faculties of both intelligence and leadership is what is needed to overcome the social obstacles laid out before much of Britain’s youth today.
Those living in the privileged sectors of our society will undoubtedly look upon the lootings as imprudent acts of vandalism. The opinions being voiced across the social network stadiums are all similar in nuance and weight, yet we fail to recall that all those involved in the pillaging are young, vulnerable people who our society carefully raised. So why is it that the same anti-social behaviour is unable to occur in London’s more affluent divides? This has unequivocally exceeded the precarious branding of a ‘race riot’ and even the malevolent treatment of Mark Duggan adopting instead a new uniform, one that contains all the properties of a dispossessed class. What we are having problems digesting is that we ALL sat obliviously in front of a voiceless generation who we encouraged to feed off a diet of misanthropic music and film, receive intellectual and scholarly neglect from both the education system and their government, as well as being constantly haunted by the media edifice with the term hoodie, chav and hood rat. If a society holds its young people in such low esteem how then can we demand their respect and cooperation?
It must be noted that the atmosphere is now set for closet racists to abandon their political correctness and hurl their tirade of liberated racial abuse at those they feel are responsible. If only we would learn from the blood that soaks our history. As always we deceive ourselves into believing that these young people live outside our idea of reality, that they are exempt from feeling and emotion and instead deserve the rough end of a heated bullet, or noose, or whip. The irony being that these same bigoted people are so far disconnected from the reality of these young boys and girls that this is most likely the first time they have ever had to acknowledge them in a serious light, so as in past times a persons skin colour becomes the point of aim as we know nothing more about them apart from the fact they are Black or Brown. In places such as Croydon, Wood Green and other parts of East London the looters were predominately Asian, Cypriot, Turkish and White yet our inherent racism prevents us from acknowledging that this is a rebellion of Britain’s lower classes, not its ethnic grouping.
From where I stand there is an emerging danger that far left organisations will now begin to rowel up impressionable Black and Brown men as a means to help carry out their work against the government. This will undoubtedly become the racial imputes that far right members have been waiting for so now more than ever community leaders need to intervene in order to prevent a class uproar becoming an unfathomable attack on Britain’s ethnic citizens.
There is more to be said yet I feel those ominous nights are far from sleep. I will conclude by saying that before you turn in disdain at the masked faces in tracksuits ask yourself how much do you know about their reality? When was the last time you stopped to find out what their every day life consists of? How often do you see wads of police officers stopping to search young Black and Asian boys in the street? Think back to when you were young and how authorities treated you. If we continue to stigmatise and undermine the infinite genius of our young people how can we expect them to act any other way? This is our mess, as any parent will tell you if you bring up a child with hate and scorn you can be guaranteed that when the child grows he will inherit that same language as his own. As someone who works closely with young people and who was once just as impressionable as they are today I ask you to understand their condition, to reacquaint yourself with the empathy you might espouse if it was your son or daughter in the flames and to lose the myopia that this is just another case of young Black boys who have been left to go wild. The last few days are not the result of another Black man being killed by police but rather the volcanic surge that smashes through the social borders of an unequal city only to scream from inside the flames, ‘I’m here, I’m powerful and I’m your problem!’