“I have a grandson, he’s an angel; and he began to think he was coming of age when the police slapped him up against the wall and searched him…” – Darcus Howe, writer and broadcaster, UK
I don’t know if many of you have seen this, but I first saw it a few weeks ago and I was astounded. No, smh, this certainly will not be televised. The prophecy lives on.
The police blew a guys head off???
***Justice for Marc Duggan NOW! Read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/08/mark-duggan-profile-tottenham-shooting ***
I had a nice conversation with an old classmate from college on FaceBook about the riots. It went like this:
Friend: “stupid kids…i seriously doubt most of the participants knew anything about the political reasons it sparked from. it should have remained a peaceful protest. but people just jumped on the bandwagon to start crap. riots raise eyebrows and let people know something is wrong…but i don’t believe riot participants care about the problems that started it. they just want to destroy stuff. i bet searches and racial profiling is about to get worse…
and i can get with what he’s saying. but what happened is not the way to gain respect. just fear. and ignorance comes from fear”
Me: “I agree that there is definitely a bandwagon effect. But I would give humans more credit to say that thy would steal before they just destroy. While they may not be aware of political jargon and details, they know that their lives are different from their white counterparts.
The masses of people will always riot because they know that no politician or public policy will address the attitudes of racist white people. Hence they take matters into their own hands. Frustration runs deep when you’re peacefully marching and being criminalized anyway.
There has never been a peaceful revolution, hence why the Civil Rights movement did not achieve its goal, but made great progress.”
Friend: “i just will never understand destroying your own community to bring a point across. something came of slave riots, but these people had nothing and attacked their oppressors. i can’t get behind riots in these modern times where you are destroying your own communities. what does that really do? attack the right people if you want to get violent.”
Me: “I agree. I could never participate either. I don’t see the point. I honestly don’t think they do either. People need another option. It’s just sad when they aren’t presented any. That’s why militia in Ghana (I believe it is) are taking arms over oil pumps because when they did respond peacefully, their leader was assassinated. Same story different day.”
Friend: “i guess it’s not really the attacking i have an issue with. it’s attacking the right people. i don’t understand when militia terrorize their own people either like what goes on in Congo, Sierra Leone, etc. i can understand fighting against an oppressor.
hopefully at the end of it all, something good comes of it and people who didn’t deserve getting their livelihood destroyed and burned can pick up the pieces. but you know what…when we all can get along, that’s the end of days. so it is what it is.”
Me: “Yea… So true. Makes u really wonder what the best option is. I don’t wanna just think about myself.”
You know, what’s also sad about these riots is that these places that are being destroyed are the dwellings of the same people who may be rioting. But this new-age, SmartPhone savvy rioting is a different story. People appear to be coming from all over, organized, coming and leaving at specific times of the day.
When you think about the word home, your bed comes to mind. But for some, that is truly a far away place. I live this double-consciousness everyday. The more I thirst for knowledge of my ancestry, the more I feel detached from any one place in particular. Not having land to call home is an awkward feeling. (see: Images and Facing Mirrors: retelling black history from a black feminist perspective)
So I ask, is London the home of these rioters? I think that’s a personal question.
Why do they destroy their city? Is it their city to begin with? I’m beginning to believe it’s at least partly because they have no ancestral memory to the land. While it is temporary yes, we all have an ability to pick and move from one place to another and not feel homesick, save for the one place we truly grew up, or truly came into ourselves. I have no experience of knowing a home in another country. I do not have immigrant parents.
For a lot of us, home lies in the senses. Home is territory. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that gang life persist.
I wonder if Mr. Howe’s grandson felt at home when the police officer threw him up against the wall? Certainly, Howe identifies as West Indian, not British.
How we identify has a lot to do with the riots phenomenon. You’ve never heard of any riot that occurred with natives on their own land. If so, please inform me.
I am warmed by Howe’s affection towards his grandson and he says a mouth-full, “Something very very serious is going to happen in this country.” Something serious is going on here too Mr. Howe, and in so many places as you’ve so eloquently pointed out. The “insurrection of the people” will definitely go untelivised in the US of A.
The day will soon come when we all demand as a people for better human rights and a global blockade of neo-imperialism. The people want their shit back. Get your own money.
They also want respect for their histories and lives. The men want to honor their manhood. The women want to their womanhood back.
It’s sad when your manhood is acknowledged by the oppression you encounter for being black and poor. This is a global epidemic. What does it mean when young men of color come of age by ritual police brutality? Our identity is at stake.
That’s alarming to me.
It’s alarming when a 24 year old black male pretends to sell weed so that his former customer doesn’t know he’s not a dealer anymore. It’s alarming when young black men steel cars and sell them for “the fame” of it all, even though they come from good homes and strong families. True story.
Black British boys are going through it too, I would presume. Check out what David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, and others have to say about our culture as they address Parliament: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14493059
When We don’t talk about it, They do:
“We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets. and we will do whatever it takes to restore law and order to our communities.”
“Of course these are acts of individual criminality. But we all have a duty to ask ourselves, why are their people who feel they have nothing to loose and everything to gain from wanton vandalism and looting?”
“Evidence that part of British culture is sick.”
“This not about poverty. This is about culture, a culture that has no respect for authority and says everything about rights and nothing about responsibility.”
Well I’ll be damned.
The men I’ve encountered even in my short 24 years all have a dance that they do for other men as well as a dance that they do for women. But I was surprised to hear about the “fame” this black man was talking about; and the alarms rang again after hearing the thoughts of a white man on poor black people.
Youth have a shortsightedness about oppression. People of the diaspora are young in many ways.
So how long will the riots be isolated? Well if manhood is continued to be bred this way, I don’t suspect very long.