Tag Archives: riots

Blog#16: “Reading the Riots” – Supplement reading of Merton

I learned about the riots that were going on in London through the videos that were shown in class. Personally I do not get involved in riots that might endanger me because it is a move towards what I think people say radical. I am a type of person who does not go to the spot light and try to be behind the scene and see what will happen – the outcome of the event. The reading about “reading the riots” states that this report is a focused study of what is not previously experienced in “nature, motivations, attitudes, and experiences of those who rioted across London and in Brminham, Manchester, Salford, Nottingham, and Liverpool.”(pdf pg., 2).

There were 270 people that were interviewed because they were directly involved in the riots in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, and Nottingham. These interviews were confidential.  There were more adults from 18-25 involve and up to 30 percent of teens were involve. But the majority ethnic people that were involved were African Americans. (This is not surprising because people of color in any place in the world are being oppressed and denied things from their home.) This report is very important because they focused on who was involved in the riots and what were their Mo vitiations as any other people wanting to get involve.

One of the motivations of the people in the riots was the treatments they were getting from the police it is 85percent the reason the riots had happen (which in the 2 videos shown in class stated). Also in the interview they state that police lack of respect and anger and due to the stop and search they were targeted most unfairly (pdf,pg.4). There were 185 interviews in long and 3 in Nottingham. The majority of the people where students and unemployed and I was surprised to find out that most of the people who were rioting are the poor people of the country. I actually interested in the polls they have created for the protesters believe what was the cause of the riots (on page 11). In addition to the people that were involve in the riots there were more men than women. There were 79percent of men a 21percent of women in the riots which people who got involve in the riots states that was the amount of women involve in the riots.

So the riots unfolded as a small-scale disorder in Tottenham in August but the protest went sour when the police shot a local black man two days earlier and this event caused an uproar of violence which was presented in future protest. The first day of the protest in August the family of Duggan wanted to speak to the senior police officer but tensions grew and two thrown police car was set on fire. Later in the evening to the night the looting in the streets which the next day in Enfield another breakout had occurred was another looting but in the stores.

However it does not matter where the riots occurs it is the reasons why they are doing these riots and one the reasons is that the “police is the biggest gang out there” and the word gang in these is “people who try and intimidate members of the public” (PDF pg.18). I find it a new phrase that the police is like a gang because I feel that the police are corrupt politicians. I have taken a sociology course called sociology of social movements. In addition some rioters wanted to have their revenge against police

I understand that these people want to hurt the police but making the riots become more than what truly was (friends and family trying to speak to the chief police officer of the killing of Duggan. But even if it was only about him the riots became more than hearing out the chief police it is about the repressed people who have to take the abuse of the police. Sadly 81percent of the people believe riots would happen again, and my opinion and what have had happen or yet to happen would occur someday.

Overall I believe what Merton trying to say is that people finds a way, in deviance action, to show the world what is going on and this is what is happening. Also as mentioned the majority of the people that is being involve in the riots are people who are unemployed and they seek the help of the government and not the being repressed by the police for being what/who they are. I think in certain situations violence is the only thing people are willing to use to show the world the sick reality and show that the people who are rebelling are rejecting the values in society and its goals but they are trying to show the world there has to be some type of change (similar to innovation).


Reading the Riots: Investigating England’s summer disorderImage


Merton and Music for The LA Riots



Uprising: Hip Hop and The LA Riots – watch film here

The documentary made by Mark Ford, explores the topics on how hip-hop music during the time of the LA Riots was used as their way of communicating their message to the world of what life was like living in the ghetto of LA at that time. Hip Hop music by artists such as N.W.A, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, was the voice of all of their struggles, issues with police corruption and also with how they are treated in their society.  When watching this documentary it reminded me of the video we watched in class about the riots in England. I found that the rioters in both documentaries were rioting and looting for the same reasons and feeling they didn’t have a voice.  Ford explains that his film, “shows how powerful music can be, what it can do and what it means to people. I hope what people really take away from it is for us to pay attention to the suffering going on in our society. It just so happened at that time, hip-hop was about the only place you could hear the messages being told.” The music was made 20 years before the LA riots took over that neighborhood, but these songs were used as a theme song or soundtrack for the Riots.  Everyone on the streets had these songs blasting in all their cars with lyrics like ” F*CK the POLICE” clearly showed the anger, and resentment towards the police and the system. I watch this film thinking about how Merton’s ideas can be applied. But I think Merton can explain that the music and the way in which the public reacted to to as an Innovation adaption. The music is something they created to get their message out to the world, and they succeeded by it spreading to people of all races in which the film explains. Music with these lyrics wouldn’t be allowed on the radio, but they eventually got extremely successful to over power that.  But the violence that broke out in these LA riots, and the destruction of buildings, and cars were an example of the result of what happens when the police backed out and left the crowd getting more hostile towards everything. Merton would explain this as an rebellion adaption.  They weren’t secretive about it, they were rebelling publicly and looting just like the rioters from England and all for the same reasons which is why I think these videos closely relate to each other. 


Race and Violence

It was astounding to see the historian blame the London riots on the “black culture”. That goes to show that anything deviant that does not pertain to the roles mandated by the authorities and high class, ‘white’ society will be blame on the minorities of color. Now that I see why the riots occurred, it is baffling that it is even suggested riots being a consequence of ‘black/urban culture’. They are social issues, not racial ones. This is not limited to London, here in the United States it is extremely visible with how crime is portrayed in the media. White killers are always attached to some mental illness or temporary outrage, while any other race is immediately thought of as “evil” or “influenced by their culture” (poverty, stereotypical ‘urban culture’- for lack of a better term). In the Dominican Republic, Haitians born in the country are not granted citizenship- due to their darker skin tone (there’s a history of discrimination in the country because of racism), human rights organizations are outraged. The treatment of race in the media and the government only adds to the racial profiling of people in all aspects of society.


(In this tweet by comedian Katt Williams, he clearly differentiates between the handling of crimes in America according to one’s race/ethnicity- stereotypes are powerful if given constant attention).

Post 1: Response to Darcus Howe BBC Interview- London Riots

It is very clear by listening to Darcus Howe speaking to this reporter that he is utterly fed up with what is going on in this country regarding stereotyping and for good reason. People are being stopped and frisked on the street solely because of the color of their skin. I think this is a clear example of what is wrong with this world. To assume someone is a criminal because of what color they are is not only ignorant but completely wrong. Color has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you are more prone to commit a crime or be a bad person. I agree completely with Howe in that I do not condone riots which involve violence and force. However I do believe that there comes a time when something needs to be done in order to make a statement and stand up for what you believe in. These people that are being targeted for no reason felt it was time for them to revolt and hopefully put a stop to this wrongful treatment.

Blog 3 merton

Blog #3 Merton
The Government’s downfall
When referring to Merton’s article “Social Structure and Anomie” he describes tendencies that people exhibit that are innate “biological” drives which are not under the control of what is socially acceptable. What Merton is discussing is a very important issue throughout our society that many people overlook. When reading this article I could not help but think “What is deemed a socially acceptable response?” Merton refers to “social control” in which he states incorporates managing impulses and appropriate social processing when dealing with tensions or conflicts. According to Merton these impulses that arise do not exhibit these two aspects of “social control” and are biological rooted. I do agree with this notion of impulses or non conformity being rooted within a biologically primitive reaction. We could directly relate this to conflicts and tensions that are implemented by the government and the violent reaction that is conveyed by its citizens. Particularly this can be seen in the English riots on police and government due to cutbacks in benefits, education, and high unemployment rates. The government’s blatant disrespect on the English citizens was seen by when the police were terrorizing pedestrians in the streets by searching, harassing, and violently abusing their authority. This consequently leaded into the riots of people fighting back for their rights. These riots are a prime example of Merton’s social theory of people acting on impulse that does not adhere to “social control” due to conflict caused by the government. I do agree with Merton that it is our human nature that leads people to react in an extreme impulsive socially unacceptable ways when dealing with tension exhibited by a higher power. In order to make a change one must make extreme decisions for extreme outcomes in order for the point to be made and recognized. Unfortunately this tendency in which is biologically rooted causes for extremely emotional and inadequate responses that lead only to rioting and violence.

Post #5 – Starkey vs them

Starkey comes off as very strong minded, and angry. He’s angry at the invasion of black culture, and the fact that it’s being embraced in England. He feels as if it doesn’t belong here, and he’s very vocal about the fact that they should be referred to as, “they” or “them”, and others as “we.” He believes that white people are more willing to embrace the black culture, and that  “gangster” has become a fashion. Even the interviewer tells him to explain with facts, because he’s making offensive generalizations. Starkey speaks about rap music and the fact that it glorifies the London riots. The riots stand for the people having a voice, and although they are handling it differently and not the ideal peaceful way, it is easy to place blame or try to target the black culture for having to do with it. It’s pathetic that there are still people who think in this manner, and even worse that somebody took the time to interview him.