It’s easy to dismiss the rioters as “scum with nothing better to do” but there are much deeper problems here. As a young, male, ethnic minority in the inner city myself, chances are, I probably know some of these people. I can relate to the feelings of helplessness. I’ve been fortunate enough to be successful as a musician myself and been able to create my own positive future, but these kids rioting don’t see themselves having a future at all. They have been failed by society as a whole, they’ve been failed by the government cutting arts funding and closing youth centres, unemployment is rife to the point where even the ones desperately trying to seek work simply can’t find it, and the boiling point to all this (Mark Duggan events) is a situation that is VERY REAL. I myself have been stopped and searched many times by police for no given reason. They raided my apartment at 6.30 in the morning once while my wife and I were asleep claiming they’d had reports of a disturbance. I’ve been questioned for gang activity that I had no part of, because of how I look and where I come from. It’s simple racial profiling, and whilst that is NOT an excuse for the behaviours of rioters, the sad fact is that it happens.
We live in pretty desperate times as a whole, and the inner city youth are at the bottom of the barrel. So whilst this behaviour IS disgusting, try and have some compassion and relate to fellow human beings who literally feel hopeless and don’t see a way out. When you think about, the right emotion to feel in some of the cases is just sadness and pity – kids robbing a flat screen TV when they see an opportunity to… because they know they’ll never be able to afford it. Is a kid robbing some trainers that different to a corrupt politician fiddling the expenses accounts, or corrupt policemen and journalists taking bribes (as we’ve seen in the phone-hacking scandals?). So what kind of example are those people setting?
Remember, most of these kids looting ARE just opportunists. It’s only the really violent ones smashing the windows, the rest just go in after them and take what they can. I have faith in humanity and I don’t think that most of these kids are bad people. I really don’t. They are the lost ones, neglected and marginalized, in many cases without the basic education to understand that there are better ways to go about life.
(Image Credit: BBC)