Over the past couple of days we have watched scenes in London and across the UK that have struck society with a huge blow and caught both politicians and the everyday you and I by surprise. The rioting and looting has brought under lying problems with our youth to a head and for those who were in doubt about the emotional and moral state about today’s young people, those doubts have been affirmed. Now being a young person myself do not for one minute think that this blog post is about slating and cussing those involved in the trouble. To simply dismiss those involved in the rioting as opportunist thugs is not only incredibly ignorant,but also shows a complete lack of empathy and social awareness.
I have watched the discussions on twitter and Facebook, had talks with friends and unsurprisingly opinion is varied and ranges across all the extremes. Some believe the riots come as a result of black youth feeling alienated, others have discounted colour and attribute the riots to a complete breakdown in trust between all young people and the police, others argue there is no social justification and call all involved mindless criminals. Those looking at the grander scheme of things have looked at the general state of the socioeconomic state of the UK in order to understand why the riots have taken place. These socio – economists have said that the lack of jobs, failing economy, as well as suspicious stop and search methods (amongst other things) are the reason behind the riots. So what do I say?
Whenever something as big as these riots happens it is hard to look at the situation through a single narrow lens and point at one main thing as the cause. The variety in the make up of the rioters in terms of age, ethnicity and geographic location also suggests that there has to be many reasons why so many people have taken it upon themselves to start and join the revolt. In my personal opinion the riots gained such momentum simply because of the opportunity to be involved in something. It is the school holidays, there is hardly anything for the young people to do due to the cut funding , and because of the poor relationship between young people and the police (and the law in general) there was no reason for a lot of the young people to not get involved. The riots presented a window of opportunity for these young people to get free food, clothes and trainers that on a normal day they would have to hustle hard for, and now there is the opportunity for them to have these things for free. Also the rioting and looting is very much a community activity, friends are bbming each other and arranging by phone to go out and instead of sit about outside and window shop, they can now shop for real and free with the added benefit of adrenaline and running away from the police. After the looting and destruction is complete they can then embark on a competition against friends from other areas to see whose conquest was the biggest and who got the most things.
The looting and rioting is probably just another ‘thing’ to do to while away time for a lot of the younger people involved. The fact that there are not many jobs and some feel alienated was probably an after thought for most and a way to justify their actions. That’s the thing about social commentators (we or should I say they) must find a logical reason for why events happen. It is not a good enough story on the news to say that the youth of today find it fun to cause destruction and loot. Instead they bulk the story up with social inequality rhetoric and tales of thugs, yobs and hoodies. It might not be what we want to hear but these “riots” are just another pass time. Instead of looking for ways to paint a good story we should really be looking at the sad fact that these young people feel that to act in this way is a suitable pass time???? Something has gone wrong somewhere right. Back in the day we used to play run outs or knock down ginger, now they play lets kick in and burn Sony and loot Footlocker.