The video of the debate between David Starkey, Owen Jones and Dreda Say Mitchell was a great example of adaptation of anomie and stereotyping. The riots were a direct result of the people’s frustration with their government. But the death of a local man at the hand of the police served as a catalyst for the riots. David Starkey insisted that the riots in England in 2011 showed that the “whites were becoming black”. Starkey explained the riots by saying that whites were just adopting “black culture”. By this he meant that black people normally resolve their frustration through deviance and violence and because white people in England were participating in destructive and criminal behavior they were kind of just a product of their environment. He made it a point to say that it had nothing to do with race but instead the mannerism associated with black people or their “culture”. He made it seem as if all black communities were homogenous and all black people act the same exact way. The points that he made about “black culture” were very stereotypical… He referred to “black culture” as “destructive…nihilistic gangster culture”. What a way to categorize the mannerisms of an entire race! And then he went on to say that whites in England were adopting these habits because it was becoming “the fashion”. Owen Jones addressed the fact that white people were upset with their government and these riots were going to happen eventually. He also pointed out that the people felt that rioting would be the only way to get their point across to the government. Dreda Say Mitchell made an interesting point when she pointed out that the looting done during these riots had nothing to do with “black culture” but more so with the fact that we live in a very materialistic world. People became fascinated with the idea of being able to obtain material things that they could never afford even if it meant obtaining them in a criminal manner. Starkey gave the word “black” a very negative connotation while preserving the image of whites. I felt that when he read the text from the young lady who participated in the riot he only did it to equate “black culture” with being uneducated. He made excuses for the behavior of whites by saying that they were only “acting” that way because “black culture” was becoming more prevalent in England at that time . It’s interesting to me that he made it seem like “black culture” was more responsible for these riots than the government was and when he was asked that question he was not able to give a direct response. Owen Jones’ explanation of the reasons for the riot were most closely related to Merton’s theory of adaptation to anomie. The feud between the people and the government was an issue ready to explode and the people ended up taking their fate into their own hands & taking a stand against the government. They didn’t conform to what the government would have liked them to do but instead they used rebellion and innovation to get their point across.
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- Nicole Hala