Submitted by Yardbroom
A 29 year old black man Mark Duggan travelling in a mini cab was stopped by the Police in Tottenham. In the ensuing confrontation Duggan was shot by a member of the Metropolitan’s Police CO 19 Unit. This incident is being investigated by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) but there are allegations that a weapon converted to fire live ammunition was found in the mini cab.
As is often the case rumours spread quickly; however Duggan’s family decided that adequate information was not forthcoming from the police and a march was organized. Within this peaceful march, elements of society who consider themselves disadvantaged decided to confront the police. It should be said at the outset that the family of Mark Duggan have condemned the subsequent riots as has the black Tottenham member of Parliament David Lammy who appealed for calm.
Over a period of four days riots spread across the UK, where young people hoodie attired and faces covered, broke into properties, stole goods, burnt buildings to the ground and there were the inevitable fatalities. The resultant court appearances confirms the fact that both white and black were involved in the riots and theft in the main, were in areas with sizeable black populations.
Why the confrontations with the police?
There are “some” young black people who live their lives bottled up in a few square miles of some UK cities where they were born. Investing their time in a sub culture of drugs and gangs, a culture which is unacceptable to the wider society. They have become almost unemployable because of lifestyle and social mores which are acceptable to their peer group but are frowned on by wider society.
To put matters in perspective there are hundreds of thousands of black people in the UK who lead successful lives and have no connection with these groups but are bound by colour. These young people have become alienated even from members of their own families, they do not know what causes offence and if they did I am not sure they would care.
The question must be posed why confront the Police. Over time “some” over zealous police officers have used every opportunity available to search, question and in some instances harass these young people. I am not suggesting these young people are without fault – because they are not, their attitude is a magnet for conflict with authority.
Now that the embers of burnt buildings are still warm the wider society is incensed and it is left to the Justice system to reflect the mood of general society. No doubt prison sentences will be imposed on those caught where there is evidence. The sentences will be “exemplary” to send a message and many young people, some even first time offenders – depending on the offence – will be imprisoned. Voices will be heard saying the sentences are disproportionate to the act, perhaps they might be but rioting and looting can never be accepted as “ordinary” in an ordered society.
May I remind you that in 1958 when mobs of white youths set upon black people and beat them up in the Notting Hill riots. The judge then passed “exemplary” sentences on the white youths. Nine youths received 5 years in prison each and also had to pay £500. Those sentences were severe it is true but the message was sent mobs of white youths cannot go around attacking black people because they feel like it. Exemplary sentences are sometimes justified.
Some sections of wider society have given up on these young people, who stab each other, shoot rivals dealing in drugs and cause mayhem much to the consternation of decent black people who live amongst them. The recent riots have certainly brought home to people that containment of these groups will not work in the long term. The behaviour they have inculcated will break out to the disadvantage of wider society.
This is not the time for mealy mouthed measures there must punishment, and rehabilitation. It is not acceptable that rioting, burglary and looting should be excused, that is the road to anarchy in any society.
Help in the form of addressing social behaviour should be now. Reasons can be given as to why it is necessary to change behaviour. The misguided idea that you want people to be white is nonsense, and should be exposed for what it is. People can be successful and be black through education, support and a change of lifestyle so that their children can be successful – the best role models should be in the home. You cannot fully participate in a society when you do not have the social skills to do so. Bravado as a mask to hide insecurities must be stripped away, we must have the courage to tell our black youth they are wrong if they are. To use our colour as a cloak to continually fail to speak out, or use it only to speak of past injustices – and they were many – is a futile exercise.
It cannot be acceptable that these young people are allowed to stab, shoot each other and deal in drugs under an umbrella of containment in a few square miles of major UK cities, sooner or later they will break out and we will have a problem. These young people are without fault – because they are not, their attitude is a magnet for conflict with authority.