Monday, 5 September 2011

The August Riots

What Really Did Cause The August Riots

You are probably by now will have picked up on the reasons for the riots that saw many areas of England burnt and damaged and resulted in the deaths of some people. At least the ones that groups or politicians or experts in different fields have disseminated in the media. But how accurate are these explanations? Are they just assumptions and widely held beliefs into the social causes of these things? Is the social fabric breaking down? Are thus those that took part just bad people, or even evil in their ways? Do we blame it on poverty and economic conditions, or parents, racism, the police, lack of discipline, soft line on offenders and all the others quoted in the press, TV and from members of the house of parliament, for the riots?
We can all wait of course for the official explanation, which will be put out in a report by somebody appointed by the UK Government to look into the cause of the riots. However I can tell you now whatever its conclusions are it’s wrong. Because it’s has been flawed in its conception, since it won’t look at one area which is fundamental to everything connected with the riots. And that is how we develop into adults in this country, or for that matter throughout the world.
First look at this picture from the riots in London:

I would say it’s typical of what happened. However when you delve into it you find that those taking part are roughly the same age. They are clearly all have the same dress sense – the famous hoddie – though most are black, some white people can been seen. With the fact that they are clearly not fighting each other, the white people doing the same as the others and so racism can be ruled out, at least among those doing the riots. As far as anyone was aware of the rioter’s real arguments were aimed at the authorities sent in to deal with this show of social unrest and its consequences.
For anyone to be dressed like that all the same, they must have some kind of influences on them on what to follow. And we don’t have to look far to find it.

In the above images we find American rapper Eminem and a clear showing of the style that he uses. However he’s not alone in this style for here we can see Wretch 32 adopting the same clothing.

How important is somebody like this to the young people who copy this style? Well Wretch 32 has just had a UK number one, just weeks after the riots. In fact the next image could have been taken from a video shoot for one of these types of artists.
But the association goes much deep than music and clothing style for these youths. They identify with the urban culture of America and it even effects there speech and the words of greeting one another. In essence they can even use racist words to one another calling themselves “niggers” in ways that are no longer offensive when used in the context they do. As can be seen from the above image whites can hang around with them, plus I might add of both sexes, adopting the same language even, without causing offensive to “the brother”. However when a white middle class girl on the Big Brother TV show used the same language she used hanging around with her friends where she lived, she was expelled from the show and suffered heavily for it.
Nevertheless the main stimulus is the “gang culture” which is part of life on the streets in the USA and here in the UK, but also around the world. But even that developed from something else, that’s now present in most parts of the world now. I’ve given it a special name. I call it “classroom culture”. Because that’s were it starts. It doesn’t really play much of a part until the age of 12. This is because as a species we are very much linked to our parents before that age. Teachers are very much like substitute parents, till that age, controlling what we do, what we can do, say, eat or sleep, which they don’t allow. Till recent times they were allowed to use physical punishments, which only parents were allowed to do. But even when young a gang can form. In this image we could see the basis of one forming! And yet it’s only a group of young children walking home or to school. A gang will form when a group such as these kids have something in common. They will come about often because of a special interest such as computers or sport, (see image below) they can also come about due to either fear or

aggression. These have become well known as the bully and his followers, plus those that have been the subject of the bully’s gang, grouping together. This type of gang and the less violent forms are easily controlled by the school and social structure around the children. That is until they reach a certain age when other factors come into play. For when a condition of the human body which has become known as puberty kicks in, these children cease to conform to any standards laid down by structural bodies that applied in the past. In essence they become in conflict with these earlier rules, in both mind and body. They also don’t happen overnight as the new feelings slowly develop over about 10 year period, though some might develop them much quicker. Nor do they happen at the same time to every kid or at the same rate as each other. The big mistake that everybody makes is that puberty is about sexual development only. Though of course this plays a big part it is only a part of the process. It’s best described as an explosion of hormones, the two most powerful being Testosterone and Oestrogen. The physical signs of these hormones can be seen in schools. Walking down a corridor full of teenagers will be detected by your nose first as somebody will have a body odour, or the smells of sprays trying to stop it. Lots of them will have teenage spots. But you might also see this:

This is the clear effect of testosterone levels being high in these two males. The odd thing is that they could be good friends! On the other hand you might not see another side effect as when this happens it’s not often in such a public place.

This is the other main hormone and this makes the kids emotional which leads to floods of tears often over nothing. Perhaps a slight remark, by another person not even intended to harm or upset the person. Though oestrogen is the female hormone it just doesn’t make the girls cry. But for many males it’s not a good thing to cry over what many would consider nothing, passed off by the phrase crying over spilt milk. So they will ‘cry’ if they can in private. However it’s not always possible

to do this, as someone – even a teacher - can say just the wrong thing at the wrong time to a student, to start the tears flowing. This can be damaging to the image of the student among his fellow pupils and lead to very bad consequences for him. For example if he was head of a gang of bullies he would loose all respect, or just a member of such a gang would see him expelled, sent into exile to become one of those on the receiving end of the same gang he was once a member of.
However in the scheme of things it’s testosterone that has the real effect on the gang, even on the type of gang that doesn’t use intimidation. Again it’s not just males that this hormone produces results on, which the public and society have little control over. Girl gangs have use of the male sex hormone in producing personalities very different to the young girls that was seen before puberty. There not always negative changes. For instance it is widely agreed that such girls can gain more confidence from being in the gang. You could say that the musical groups Girls Aloud and Spice Girls created positive role models for young women to follow. Even though these were created to fit the purpose of selling records to teenage girls, they could only do that by creating an image of young women who at least could have been real. Indeed you could say that the Spice Girls at the start of their career were like images of young girls who hung around bus stops, probably not doing what they should be doing, or like in this image hanging around places that by the look alone would put the average person from going there, especially at night.
Nevertheless it’s the uncontrollable gangs that cause the biggest problems in our societies. A gang developing from a bunch of kids at school or coming away from school, to one that carries guns or knives to defend themselves is a big step. How does that come about, precisely? Well it starts with a lack of outside influences on that gang of youths. Before puberty the family and teachers had control and could direct the kids in their actions in everyday life. However when the hormones kick in, the first effect on an individual youth is to seek experience of everyday life from those not connected to the family. The family although still a part of the teenager’s life, is distanced from them by all sorts of behaviour patterns. The family on the other hand are lost to know what to do as the multi-attitudes of the teenage children perplex them beyond belief. Perhaps these slogans sum up the feelings best:

So with the family cut out of the process of development just about, they must search outside the family environment for the minds to develop into fully functioning adults. This can be anybody that is not family. Unfortunately most teenagers don’t have much choice into who will start to influence their minds during these crucial periods of development. That has been laid down for them by law in most countries which have adopted compulsory education for anyone over 12 years of age. Most teenagers will meet (outside the family) teachers and the kids they go to school with. Any other adults hanging around teenagers have become socially unacceptable, with the exceptions of trained adults given the title Youth Workers. However even those seem to target vulnerable youths or those who are probably have become troublesome or have been that way since they started at infant schools. They are also not resourced well, often connected with church or charities aimed at solving problems connected with wealth distribution in society. They can be undermined too, by party political matters, sometimes by people with the agenda of cutting money to the poor or blaming youth problems on bad parents or moral issues.
Youth workers can however help put young people on the right track, giving them a better life than hanging around the streets in gangs. But they can also be part of the problem. It’s the same with teachers. Both these authorised workers with youths are there because they want to help the kids develop. However that is not what the kids really need. They need or should I say require no-one to direct them to do things. Merely to set an example of behaviour to them without showing it on the surface, this can happen and does with some teachers. Older teachers will set examples, but all teachers have strict rules about how much they can get involved with the pupils under them. Nevertheless a young person can pick up morals and other influences on them from a teacher indirectly. Without either the young person or teacher knowing and even realising this has happened. These can even be what society might consider bad or good. Society wants or tends to hope that a teacher will create a good moral standard towards young people, but trying to ensure this can create a rebel in the youth. Often the much quoted ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ will develop from trying to fill heads with a set of moral standards, some of which are impossible to do in practice. Especially when you consider the environment that will be encountered by the young people. Since some of these standards were not practiced in the past, by those setting them. Indeed probably for the reason that nearly everybody in the UK for instance has been brought up since the age of 12 was past for compulsory education. Anybody born after WW2 will have experienced the effects fully, prior to that only middle-class or higher will have altered personalities as a result of education lasting longer than 12 in the UK (only). Although working class kids did have education up to 14, poor diet often delayed the onset of puberty till after 14-years-of-age. So adults who went into puberty after leaving school did so when they were mixing with a wide-range of ages. So many old people are personality wise a million times different from those who left after the age of 15 to 16.
You could even argue that those who now have created children, who had full education to at least 15, will have brought up their children under new rules or morals which they learned from there time at school, whereas those that left at 14, brought them up as they are supposed to.
Back to the current set of youths, brought up on morals and standards learnt from whom? Well if the strange standards of their parents are being ignored by the power of the body, the teacher must be the standard setter right, since most youths probably don’t come into contact with youth workers. That could be the case, if the teacher was in a class of perhaps less than 5 kids. Well I don’t need to tell you that teachers work in secondary education with classroom sizes much greater than 5 kids. Most of you can/could probably tell who the teacher in any class is impacting on. As the hormones that are causing puberty are sex ones, having a crush on a teacher is a clear sign of how important to the development of the person that teacher has become. Even so with 30 kids to a class, all of them are not going to be influenced by the teacher, in any form whatsoever. So if 5 out 25 are under the teachers’ inspirations, where do the other 25 get there’s? Well you don’t have to look far.

From each other!

There’s one problem, as a young person might say to each other “you know Jack-shit about nothing”.
This is very true since young people haven’t had great deal of life experience. Even so what is gained is often not based on common sense. It will reflect a knowledge that by its nature is superficial in its approach. Ideas for example based on half-truths or some with no facts at all. Stereotypes come into play more often than not. In the context of the gang it becomes so important to fit in, with those who have the power to make the rules. In some cases even what is or has been taught in the school as “education” can be used to justify actions of the gang. The best example of this being the use of art classes and those members of the gang good at art, yet this is not used to do something creative such as painting a picture, or doing a sculpture, such as those found all around the world. Instead this is used to mark the territory of a gang to other gangs like this:

Oddly this defacing of public property has even been considered art by some. Simply because those that call it “art” have grown out of the education culture like those that create this in the first place. Those that would have said this is just wrong to spray can a public place like this are simply not listened to and the belief comes into effect that this just how the world is. Of course it is now! Plainly speaking because the way our society has developed has put those who don’t have the real experience of our for-fathers, into running the same education system that sees this as acceptable, plus also those now in important positions of power. Though of course many young people are not allowed to vote, those in government are often a lot older and should have the ability to have the common sense to spot this can of thing as wrong and yet have not. Even our for-fathers recognised the importance of wisdom from old age and so created special privileges to certain bodies to govern the people of the country. Places like the Law Courts or the House of Lords, full of old men who can pass out words of wisdom, because they have lived life and know it. Yet what happens when such old men have no longer any “real” experience of life, because they spent large areas of their lives in university debating sexism in the workplace and the other ‘hot’ topics there. The simple answer to that is another university man comes along, calls them an “archaic” institution and who also himself thus demonstrates has no common sense, so abolishes them. Of course these institutions probably no longer represented the people; for one thing they were old MEN. However those women that have come up to replace them have still had education that men had, in that they too lack real experience of life outside the world of education. In fact they spout a great deal of the stuff that comes out of the universities and probably was invented in them. They even call themselves ‘Feminists’ and talk about feminist theory. Some even try to turn historical characters into themselves. For instance one female historian I came across, even believed the fact that because Queen Elizabeth the 1st had not had sexual intercourse and declared herself a virgin, that the “act” of doing that was a “feminist statement”!! I doubt for one moment that it ever occurred to that writer that Queen Elizabeth was simply to afraid to have sex for whatever reason, or numerous other explanations, not related to power or feminism. Because such thinking was beyond the common sense explanation that is not sort by those who have been in higher education.

It’s probably this kind of thinking that has learnt to the notion that given the right opportunities in life that attending a university or college can change society for the better. When it really creates more problems than it solves, which are never education’s fault of course. Something else takes the blame, such as gadgets of an electronic nature. In the August riots social networking sites, a product of the educational system itself, were seen to blame for the speed of attacks on property.

Yet as this picture shows of a school classroom, individuals are clearly encouraged to use technology in their education. If such persons then use the knowledge gained to destroy things, is that the fault of society or education? You would think that also that such technology can lead to greater communications between wide ranges of people. This in theory could lead to overcoming some of the isolation that young people have with older people not in their family circle. However in practise such social networking sites simply blend in with those gangs and groupings already out there. So going on Facebook isn’t going to make you popular if you haven’t got friends in the multitude now. If on the other hand, if you have plenty of friends you are going to be just as popular on there as off it. Again social conventions mean that although you could be communicating with a younger or much older people than yourself, it’s likely that such persons will not have a great deal in common with each other and so the communication will just dry up. Again and again we will also try and protect our identities for fear of crime in places such as the Internet. And a fear of young people being targeted by sex offenders will put a young person off from Internet chats with an older person.
A vibe or a culture can however lead to greater demand and certain aspects can lead to loads of people following some half-baked idea of someone like sheep. For instance Simon Cowell’s X-Factor TV show was hit by a campaign to stop the winner’s song going to Christmas number one and they succeeded. The following year the same problem was encountered, but the campaigns split off into different groups and songs. So it just didn’t work again. The anti-Cowell campaign wasn’t too far apart from the riots, in that Cowell who clearly is an authoritative figure, was the focus of the campaign. You need only to switch the Police for Cowell, and then add alleged Police violence, leading to the death of a young man, to make a sufficient cause to spread about electronically. The cause with the number one campaign was the top spot being hogged by X-Factor records, that many considered not part of the youth culture. With both all that is needed are teenagers, whom have a natural tendency at that age to rebel against authority. Made worse by the fact that society encourages them to be around together, thus all rebels together!
Gangs also feed off this need to rebel, but try to feed it into some cause. After all 20 people all having different ideas would not make a stable gang that could stick together! Maybe why some gangs break-up, as they lose focus on there goals, but giving a rebel a cause is a good way of dealing with this problem, hence the need of something to concentrate the rebellious nature on, such as a Police action which is dodgy to some people. Another way is to make members feel a part of something as a member of a gang. We have touched on the clothing of the rioters, most wearing hoodies. But a gang doesn’t need to stress the clothing style of its members. They will simply adopt it if the wish to stay a member or join it. It also fits in the need for acceptance that each young person feels in the teen phase of development. This goes back a long time when our race was hunter-gathers, with there young people needing to be accepted into the tribe of hunter-gathers, perhaps into a new tribe of like minded people. So the modern teenager adopts the clothing style of a gang and finds friendship and of course acceptance in this like-minded group of people.

It doesn’t have to be a hoodie of course as this image shows. As long as the other members of the gang can spot who is a member and who’s not. This is also important as the gang size grows. The trouble is that even a non aggressive gang can become tarnished by wearing a style of clothing that has become associated with violence or criminal who wear a certain style. For instance black clothing will be forever linked with the movement started by Hitler. The use of that style will make many dislike the gang whatever the intentions are. Similar the “hoodie” had a bad reputation before the riots as it was often used by young people who were caught breaking the law. Also well known is the idea of covering your face with a hood to a person who robs people, hence the tale of Robin Hood. Though this piece of clothing might have been developed to keep people warm in winter conditions while being stylish, anybody wearing one now is doing so for another reason. That is to fit in with some kind of image created by artists of hip-hop and rap songs. The hand gestures seen in the above gang image are also part of this style.

Let’s put it all-together!!!

A lifestyle (hip-hop/rap), which is seen as cool and the complete ignorance of the bad effects of this culture, which young people see as another example of authority pushing its views on them, adding the fact young people are isolated from adult guidance by adults themselves. Couple this with keeping young people together, when they need to experience a wide age of people and so encouraging rebellious nature in young people. Youth teaching Youth how to grow up! Parents that have grown up by learning from the young people they grew up with, in precisely that way so they become ineffective in dealing with their own kids. Then teach youths how to communicate with one another to spread half-baked ideas around at a speed that can see a mass of people in one place within minutes. So much quicker than those set up to deal with trouble brewing. Then give them a purpose to set things in motion, such as heavy handed policing. Combine this in cultures that are under stress from the things that politicians go on about, such as racism and unemployment and you can see why the Riots in August took place.

Notice all pictures are used to illustrate the text. No connection to any person is implied with any of those that took part in the riots, except those which feature the rioters.

This is part of the Reflected People page so check that out for more information....