Saturday, 13 August 2011

The August Riots

David Starkey hits the nail right on the head with this. It is rather unfortunate that he was shouted down by the other two debaters, but it doesn't change the fact that he's right.

Starkey's contention is that it is 'black culture' which is responsible for the riots, but I think describing this in terms of race is a little too simplistic. As demonstrated by the pictures of the rioters, who, it has to be said, the majority of which appear to be black, it is certainly not an exclusively racial issue, as there are many white offenders as well.

The term 'black culture' is somewhat of a misnomer. A better description would be 'gang culture'.

Of course, there is no question of where this gang culture has originated - the faux Jamaican patois its followers adopt, the glorification of violence, the vicious tribalism that permeates it, the adoption of hand gestures as salutes to militarise its members, some imitating firing a gun, the deprecation of women to the status of chattels ('hoes' or 'bitches', simply possessions to be owned), and the blind dedication to overt dispays of material wealth ('bling') have their roots in the Afro-Caribbean community.

That is not to say that all Afro-Caribbeans are followers of this particularly poisonous subculture - they are not. The vast majority of them, like anyone else in this country, are decent, law-abiding, moral people. But as we can say that the tendency to 'lager-lout' culture, with all it entails - the contempt for foreigners, the hijacking of nationalism as an excuse for violence, the misguided notions of English superiority - have its roots in Britain's imperial past, so does this gang culture have its roots in the Afro-Caribbean community.

And herein lies the danger, for in the public psyche, this gang culture is very often deeply associated with the black community, to the extent where some people may regard them as one and the same. Which, of course, they are not, as Starkey illustrates in the above video - referring to David Lammy MP as 'sounding white'. Of course, he does not really sound white, but he does not affect the infantile patois associated with gang culture, and therefore also with the black community, and so he is assumed to be white.

Stereotyping the entire black community like this is very easy to do, but it is also critically dangerous. Nevertheless, the issues we must resolve require walking perilously close to this line, and so we must walk it, but we must tread carefully.

This gang culture has extended its reach beyond the black community, and many of its followers are now white. As such, the argument cannot be pursued along racial lines - regardless of people's sensitivities towards race, it is simply inaccurate. Gang culture crosses racial divides, and has done for some time. Popular culture has even mocked this with Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G character - a white Jewish man dressed in a yellow tracksuit professing everyone's prejudice against him with the scream, 'it's because I is black, innit?!'

This gang culture, this moral abhorrence, this social cancer, is what is responsible for the riots over the last week - an immoral subculture which puts materialism above all else. No wonder they went out stealing tracksuits, trainers and TVs. Its spread has many causes - the policy of multiculturalism, the ghettoisation of coucil estates, the ballooning of the welfare state, fuelling a sense of 'entitlement', the breakdown of the family unit on a most basic level.

The solution? I have no idea. There can be no one solution, no panacea, to solve this problem which has infected our society, crossing racial divides and uniting all law-abiding people, black, white, or any other skin colour under the sun, against this common enemy - a violent and despicable subculture, whose creed is chaos and anarchy, whose gospel is materialism, viciousness and spite. What I do know is that we must do something about it, and quickly.