What were the implications of the LA'92 riots, for the black community's struggle against police prejudice in the USA, and what does that mean for London today?
It is currently unclear whether the officer injured in the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan was shot with the gun in that man’s possession, or a police firearm, but peaceful protests about the shooting, and the slow response from the Met releasing information about it, quickly turned into an excuse for gangs of youths to loot and burn countless shops and vehicles across the city over the previous two nights, and it seems to already be starting again tonight.
The worst part of this is that all discussions of the violence continually return to the issue of the legitimate grievances the black community has against the police. Now, it’s nothing like as bad as the States, but profiling does occur and there is a great feeling of disenfranchisement amongst the working-class youth, especially minorities in London. Now, it’s easier to understand and accept the US pop (hip-hop) culture associations of rioting & looting with the need to address discriminatory police practice, firstly because the Rodney King incident was far more unjustifiable, secondly because it was representative of general and common practice, and thirdly because the associations came out of the mouths of rappers.
The problem here is that I’ve heard some self-proclaimed spokesperson for the Black community go onto Radio 4 (which is all about serious political discussion) and start going on about how marginalised the Black youth feel, and how there is a great pent up frustration with the police. Now the interviewer was doing his best to separate the two issues, and stop her from shooting herself in the foot, but she persisted in relating the violence to ‘legitimate’ grievances.
Now, I’m no spokesperson for the Black community of London, but I feel very strongly that, if I were struggling against police prejudice, the VERY LAST THING IN THE WORLD I would want anyone to do, is to go onto the most serious radio show in the country, and start telling everyone that these thugs are mindlessly destroying their own communities, because of their ‘support’ of my cause, and I’m almost certain if you ask the vast majority of the Black community, they will agree that, whatever they have against the police, burning down all the local shops and setting fire to buses serves no purpose in addressing these issues, because it is simply opportunistic thieves and thugs, and I’m sure they’d want to distance themselves as much as possible from those people.
This violence has been caused by abysmal education and lack of opportunities for all young, poor people, not because of police prejudice. I suggest that it is absolutely crucial, if we want to realistically address both of these issues, that we keep them clearly distinct.
How do the Brits feel about this?
How does anyone else feel about this?
How do the Americans feel about this, compared to LA ‘92?
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