It was only last night that I finally heard about the Riots in London. It was the weekend so I was off doing my own thing. I was completely caught off guard because we watch Channel 4 News and the Today show religiously and yet there was NO mention of the London Riots. That speaks volumes about the role of mass media and just what is considered newsworthy. If asked, I am sure the ubiquitous they would say that the declining stock market and ongoing debt debate pushed this out of the limelight but I think that’s a bunch of BS. People matter more. Under it all, I think the powers that be consider the uprising of the disenfranchised right across the pond to be incredibly alarming and would like nothing better than to downplay it for fear of inciting a similar response here at home. Considering the ongoing foolishness coming out of DC they are right to be afraid.
It was only when I got on Twitter that I actually saw the multitude of comments and immediately began following commentary by UK residents and went to YouTube and @RT_com (Russia Today News Source) which was tweeting continuous live updates.
What I saw was horrifying and sobering. The video coverage shows how bad it has gotten in a very short period of time in a way words could never convey.
For the intelligent few, the reason to riot encompasses Mark Duggan and many other social injustices.
And in spite of my horror, I am a firm believer in the right and effectiveness of public dissent.
For the faceless masses of the disenfranchised there is little choice but to strike with a bludgeon at the heart of those in control, they will not listen otherwise. People will disagree with this and say that it is an uncivilized response and I agree wholeheartedly that hurting innocent people and tearing down your community is not the way forward. However, rallies don’t do much because as one person so succinctly stated on Twitter, “500,000 people marched against the gov’t cuts in the UK (of all races I might add) but they went through anyway.”
It really is a no brainer to see that once the wealthy and powerful are in control their consideration for the less fortunate is negligible. Who willingly gives up power? Right.
I believe in MLK and Malcolm X’s philosophy and have great admiration for both of them. If peace will not work then “By any means necessary” becomes your only choice.
It is very easy for people of non-color to point the finger at minorities and say they should only use legal channels to invoke change. It’s easy because they are not the ones who live a life marred by the effects of racism, institutional and societal. They don’t live under a constant cloud of suspicion. They probably also don’t notice that while rates on unemployment continue to climb the highest rate is among minorities directly affecting their quality of life. Nor, do they have to live with the fear that their brothers, fathers or other male family members will at some point be arrested and possibly terrorized and beaten by the people we pay taxes to protect us. I live with that feeling everyday and am a law abiding citizen for whatever weight that carries which is none.
All the people who sit quietly by while social injustices continue unchallenged are, in my opinion, just as guilty as the abusers. What reason do they have to stir themselves to participate in what is at its base a public outcry? They have a moral obligation.
This is not the first time we have heard of a black, unarmed man being shot while under suspicion. Need I mention Amadou Diallo?
As quoted from Wikipedia on Amadou Diallo, “The event spurred subsequent social psychology research. Eberhard and colleagues (2004) conducted experiments with police officers which revealed that they were quicker to decide to shoot an unarmed black target than an unarmed white target, and were quicker to decide to shoot an armed black target than an armed white target.” Absolutely and that is not exclusive to NY, LA, UK or Africa…
It’s such a common occurrence, this pattern of abuse and harassment, that most minorities harbor a deep fear and hatred of police officers. We are convinced by their actions, not anomalous but commonplace, that they devalue us as human beings and the natural response to that is RAGE.
Apparently, the rioters are mostly young people and that is also understandable. Young people do not have the advantage of maturity in order to channel their anger productively. In a society which glorifies violence in movies and video games and the like, coupled with the recent example of Egypt would you really expect them to take any other course of action? What they really need is a leader to unify and direct their efforts not rabblerousers and mindless criminals polluting the message that needs to be sent.
Of course, the opportunistic have landed and criminality is raging out of control. Sadly, it is par for the course. Mark Duggan is lost among the din and that is truly horrible but the underlying causes should be considered.
I am praying for a cessation to the violence and I am hoping, perhaps naively, that something good will come out of so much pain and horror but I know the likelihood is slim.
All in all, my heart is heavy today and I am saddened that things have come to such a sorry pass. Will it ever change?