A lot of the discourse surrounding the recent riots has focused on a very individualist perspective: bad people, wrong people, criminals. This analysis is at the expense of examining systemic problems–the role of poverty and deprivation, provocative policing, rampant consumerism.
Then there is this article: “How our race taboo makes us colour blind to the truth” [clean link; this does not deserve clicks]. Here, the author examines systemic causes and concludes that what we need is more racism and more patriarchy. The whole thing is enough to leave one shaking with rage. It is a torrent of hate, a portrait of pure prejudice. It’s also completely wrong. The author appears to exist on a completely different plane of existence to reality.
Perhaps the most astounding element in the television coverage of the riots over much of England has been the steadfast refusal to mention the race of most of the rioters.
Except everywhere. The television and the news reports perpetually make reference to race, both in dog-whistle terms and overtly, gratuitiously mentioning “a mixed-race girl”, “a black boy”.
They are clearly, and overwhelmingly, Afro-Caribbean, the descendants of immigrants, though such has been the utter British failure to integrate so much of the immigrant population that many have retained something of a Caribbean accent. Admittedly, not all of the rioters are ‘black’: clearly, some white youths have joined in.
According to the writer, young white people are being lead astray by the bad immigrants with their strange way of speaking. The casting of white people as passive rather than active agents is clearly deliberate: the writer is so hell-bent on pushing the race angle that he needs to handwave away the existence and participation of white people in the riot.
After this, there is a brief anti-feminist, sexist interlude:
An astonishing number of young males in London are the sons of single mothers. They have been raised without the presence of a male authority figure to impose familial order and, furthermore, and most vitally, to promote the patriarchy.
Contrary to what the feminist mantra of recent decades has proposed, the patriarchy was not invented to oppress woman, but devised by Abraham to control men.
Let us ignore the batshit notion that rioting is caused by Not Enough Patriarchy for a minute. What I suspect the author is driving at here is the notion of children obeying their fathers, which is what is proposed in the Bible. This is, strangely for the Bible, actually not gendered. Patriarchy was devised to control. Not to control men, but to control everyone. And it does.
The riots, though, I do not think can be blamed on the patriarchy–presence or absence thereof. Gender and gendered oppression does not seem to play as much of a role as poverty here.
Adolescent males, without an imposed order, are as feral as chimpanzees. This is why all societies have adopted rigorous means of imposing authority on teenage boys.
Recall that merely a few paragraphs ago, the author was blaming the rioting on race: now he is comparing rioters to chimpanzees. The use of this word, again, is likely deliberate: a piece of dehumanising language typically applied to people of colour. The second sentence is thoroughly unreferenced, and I doubt that the author is an expert in comparative anthropology. Certainly, this effect is not considered a cultural universal.
Using logical leaps, the author then continues his tirade against single mothers, declaring them to be “incentivised” by benefits and asserting that it is wrong that women can bear children without being married. It is a hate-filled assertion, thoroughly steeped in patriarchy; consciously so. The author believes patriarchy to be the thing that was missing in the world.
Following this, the author bends reality to suggest that the immigrants coming over here and taking our jobs is another problem which caused not just rioting but also the financial crisis. Once again, this seems to be all a thin veneer over personal hatred: it is not backed up by evidence, simply by assertions.
In short, what happened here is an attempt at a systemic explanation of what happened this week which bends everything towards hate. In the author’s world, black people are feral, and the Polish are somehow to blame. In the author’s world, feminism has won and broken everything. It is nothing but bigotry, this article: these claims carefully flutter on the covert side of prejudice, yet are riddled with it.
It must be hard, being the person who wrote this article, with such hatred for all but white men.
One thought on “A lack of oppression is not what caused the riots”