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The London Riots: disenfranchised youth...

So, news has been dribbling and tormenting in about the riots in Britain at the moment. I've seen quite a few tweets about "little hoodlums" and "drunken teens", and they all make my eyes roll and my heart drop.

Yes, Jamie Oliver's restaurant was distroyed and because I like the things JO has done for food awareness and food appreciation - that saddens me. Yes, many small businesses have been looted in the name of "rising up against the rich"...

BUT, and there is a big old but in all of this...

Push will always lead to shove, and shove will always seems out of proportion to push.

After 9/11, while a lot of people were heartbroken for the people who lost their lives, and for the families and friends and acquaintances of those people, many could see a direct link between the US supplying money and weapons to Israel and the frustrated reactions of outcast Muslims that lead to 9/11.

And so I can see a link between disenfranchised youth and the current riots. You can't just treat children like property, expect them to grow up without intrinsic involvement in the community, and then expect them to feel part of their community once they grow into adolescences and adulthood. If you tell a child they are manipulative, that they are a nuisance, that they are a pain in the rear, that they can't be trusted and must be hauled up against a wall and searched for weapons just because they "look dangerous or suspicious", why would you expect them to feel respect or concern for the people around them who seem to have all the power and no grace?

This video came across my Twitter feed this morning - and I was strongly moved by it...



I found the newsreaders condescention just gobsmacking. How does one come to the conclusion that not being surprised by the riots is the same as condoning them?

Also, it is very upsetting to me that this is being played out in the media as "teens vs police". Both parties are simply doing what they must do. The young people must raise their voices to be heard (and that doesn't mean I condone the manner in which they are attempting to make themselves heard, but don't expect adolescents to have the reasoning of adults, that's why they're called adolescents, for pity's sake!), and the police are duty bound to try and put a stop to the violence and destruction.

No one is good in this scenario and no one is intrinsically bad either - this is simply a reflection of the tensions which have finally boiled over.

Perhaps the time has come to deeply reflect on how society views its children and young people.

We tell them to grow up, and grow up fast. We tell them to become self-sufficient, self-soothing and self-regulating before their brains have developed the ability to even conceive of these abstract concepts, and at the same time, we refuse to listen to them because "they're only children, they don't have the maturity". They are led to believe they are powerful, but when they attempt to wield that power they discover they are truly impotent in a society that separates children out as a "divine but useless" subgroup.

The young people of today are better connected - via technology - than any generation before them. Teens in Australia are speaking directly with teens in Britain. Teens in Britain are speaking directly with teens all over the world, and they're saying, "If we band together, we can be heard!"

It is, indeed, time to listen to their needs, rather than simplistically judge their actions!

Comments

Jayne said…
Completely agree 100% Sif!!! I am saddened at the violence and destruction-but disenfranchised, and marginalised they are. I can understand the frustration, even if I don't condone the violence :(
Sarah said…
110% agree with you Sif... you put it so well (i as trying to discuss this last night with hubby but my thoughts wouldn't come together haha)
Sif said…
Thanks guys, I wasn't sure how people might feel about this one :).

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