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An Analysis of London Riots

Essay By: uzmamubashir5611
Editorial and opinion


Submitted:Jan 24, 2012    Reads: 176    Comments: 0    Likes: 1   

"These riots were not about race: the perpetrators and the victims were white, black and Asian"---David Cameron, 15th August 2011. How far do you agree with this statement?

The torture of one man in London suddenly triggered unending and indescribable assaulting and killings. The sun that never sets in the United Kingdom was seen drowning into scary darkness. The entire place transformed into a jungle in a matter of minutes. The city was set alight by hatred, heightened verbal and physical aggression, inhumanity, immorality, lootings, suppressed depression and acute negativity on the part of the citizens. London Bridge was literally falling down, burning horrendously.

The violence and riots were all unexpected. The collective behavior that was observed in London was inconceivable. Everyone was on the streets. Plundering and pillaging everyone and everything, immorality was at its peak. Monsters were unleashed. These recent incidents in the city have loomed over many questions. What caused this? A country that used to boast about their 'white man's burden' of civilizing the inferior nations, trespassing every land considering it their right, was displaying heinous acts itself. No adequate control was taken. The system had collapsed.

Collective behavior, being a sociological term, results due to several reasons. There are several pre-conditions that must be met for such behavior to result. What were the pre-conditions in London that triggered violence? An array of possibilities has sprung up. Historical evidences, political interests, ethnic war, social decline, disparities between the privileged and dispossessed classes, economic infrastructure, psychological implications and even more if one comes to contemplate on this issue.

However, rumors have spread that the riots were due to racial tensions. The centuries old hatred that the Whites and Blacks have for each other finally blasted in the city. However, is it wise to label it a racial outburst? It is an undeniable fact that London is home to diverse ethnicities. According to a historian Porter, "These racial tensions he associates with poverty, unemployment, rotten housing and a growing Bush war between blacks and the police, but not with racial discrimination or hostility on the part of whites (Skelton,1999)."

This observation of Porter dates back to the 90's. However, if we examine it further, a relation with the recent incidents could be formed. These racial linkages are not the angst between Blacks and Whites but the feelings of deprivation that had been bubbling for years. However, technological developments proved this racial claim false. All were equally involved. In his speech on 15th August, Prime Minister David Cameron remarked "These riots were not about race: the perpetrators and the victims were white, black and Asian." His words are justified through the clippings, videos and camera captures that not merely Blacks, but all ethnicities were equally involved. (News, 2011)

This raises two questions. Why were Blacks being accused of these tragic acts? If all were equally involved, regardless of their caste or creed, where are the faulty cracks found? Perhaps, the government did not want to deal with the issue at all. As stated in the speech by the David Cameron, "politicians had been unwilling to talk about rights and wrongs, but "moral neutrality" would not "cut it anymore" and said "the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations" must be confronted." (BBC, 2011)

The politicians had been unwilling to work towards healing the society. Why? Could turning a blind eye to the incident will serve their political ends? This means that these riots have certain political aspects that need to be discussed. However, it has been established that the rots were not having any racial background.

Those who favor the ethnicity argument would boldly point to a black gang culture and blacks being chavs while Whites being the rulers. The disparity between the races caused these riots. Blacks had been suppressed and they took this opportunity to express their grievances on being disregarded. Some would even go as far and say that these riots were Egypt-inspired. An absurd notion altogether!

The possible causes that this essay will extensively discuss have been divided into social oppression, historical facts, economic disparity, and political agenda.


These riots were caused by social factors. London is home to many cultures. There is the absolute and then the futile class. Disparity has increased immensely in the recent past. Hatred and gap have taken over. It is understood. If you live a life of uselessness, sleeping on the roads, desperately looking for a job for years, such excitement would not come as a surprise. These people burning houses, battering people, looting and plundering have 'no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.' (Hastings, 2011)

These people are jobless, wild, frenzied, oppressed, have no work, no families, no proper rights, no voice, no education. It is class system that is much to blame for. The social order has collapsed and become deteriorated. The riots are being caused because the rich seems to have capitalized the market, leaving no room for the deprived ones to enter. The Wall Street movement in America is an example of how, when the poor are deprived and the rich are bestowed, the conflict takes place. The encounter in London is merely the beginning. If this social confrontation is not dealt with urgently, worse reactions will be found. A revolution full with bloodshed and goriness is soon to follow if the social strain remains.

Blacks, Whites and Asians, all have felt this social humiliation. Are we not equal? Police offers were seen beaten up and even when the fire brigade came to put off the fire, they were harmed too. Even worse, the clipping that was shown on CNN News was nerve-racking. A man had been brutally injured and a few people approached as if trying to help him, instead they just took whatever possessions in his bag and left him lying there, waiting for death to engulf him or God to show mercy. This negligence and extreme de-sensitivity has some deep rooted reasons. Have they been deprived so much that they have disregarded the lives of others. Their actions have become violent.

London's social class is calling out loud. It is pretty obvious their rights are being withheld. The backbone of this depressed social class is the economic infrastructure, which is a major factor behind these rioting, as we will discuss it in the topic to follow.


Consumerism and capitalism is at its peak in the world. The basis of this capitalist system is 'interest'. With such an interest oriented system, it is inevitable that the disparity between the rich and poor would widen. Why? It is due to the accumulation of wealth in a few hands. In a magazine discussing Britain's inequalities, it was emphasized on the division of the nation through the statistical findings that have found that the richest, which constitute 10% of the population, are hundred times wealthier than the poorest. (Mulholland, 2010)

With such heightened disparity, the outburst can be explained. The economy has not provided anything to the proletariat class, yet it expects them to be active consumers. The rioting speaks highly about the tottering Economic system of the nation.

These unmet needs explain clearly why stealing was on the rise. They were motivated by an impulse to steal. As many reports and news analyses reveal that the riot makeup comprised of the poorest class, bankers, unemployed, drivers etcetera. This was poor having waged a war against the rich. If the measures are not taken, the economy will collapse completely. The disparity is on the rise in England and whenever the social differences have sprung anywhere, the result has been revolution accompanied by bloodshed and killings.

Despite the obvious economic and social profiling, history and political linkage to the incident cannot be ignored.


As mentioned earlier, the politicians had initially turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the moral decline of the nation. This is a very a serious issue. What caused these politicians to ignore this grave problem? MARK DUGGAN?!! The uprising was sparked after his murder. Who was Mark Duggan? He was a black man. The reason behind his actual arrest is still not known but it has been heard that he belonged to some black gang planning something violent which is why police had to arrest and kill him. Being a Black man, linking the event as purely a Black act, could have political reasoning as well. Mark Duggan was blamed for having opened fire at the police which is why killing him became mandatory. This might have pointed to a racial uneasiness but it could be related to political makeup.

Keep the blacks undermined and portray them as gangsters, not well for the society. Thus, this would keep them from staying at the backseat and have no role in politics.

Thus, political ends could have caused people to label these riots likewise. However, at the crux of the society lies a social order that remains to be dealt with. The politicians could benefits in terms of their vote banks but this may be open to interpretations or revisions.


Britain has a rich history. They were monarchs and colonists. They had their influence spread across the hemispheres. They used to consider civilizing the entire world their moral and social responsibility. The Broadwater Farm riots of 1985 could have something to do with these killings. In these riots, the cause was the brutal murders of two people, both Blacks. Cynthia Jarrett was the first woman to have died through a police's gun. The second death that followed this killing was that of a police officer named PC Keith Blake lock.

The first killing took place when the police had sjurrounded Floyd Jarrett vehicle, accusing him of carrying a tax disc with him. The police searched his house for further evidences, the disturbance between the police and Flayed became the cause of his 49 year old mother, Cynthia's death.

Black oppression has formed a major portion of the White History. They have been fond of killing just about anyone who doesn't fit and cannot accept morality. The Broadwater riots of 1985 were retaliation from the back community to be given equal rights.

The riots were not only caused by racial conflict. People looted because they just wanted to loot. People looted because they were fed up of their social position. People killed because they were angry with the rich. People harmed others because they were being deprived. People died because they had no reason to live. People died because they were not rich. People also died because they just did not know what to do. The political backdrop is much to blame for. Although historical evidences have revealed that these riots could be black retaliation, the clippings that displayed equal angst on the part of Asians and Whites cannot be denied.

These riots are not about race. They are about the social order. The United Kingdom has a rotten social order, the walls of which are shaking and it will fall anytime. Another earthquake and the building of social order will turn into rubble. Death of the stale social order of London is fast-approaching. One needs to stop it if they want to survive.


BBC. (2011, August 15). About Us: A BBC News Corporation. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from A BBC news Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14524834

Hastings, M. (2011, August). About Us: Daily Mail. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from A Daily Mail website: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2024284/UK-riots-2011-Liberal-dogma-spawned-generation-brutalised-youths.html#ixzz1UcR7CQYU

Mulholland, A. G. (2010, January 27). About Us: A Guardian corporation. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from A Guardian magazine website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jan/27/unequal-britain-report

News, U. (2011, August 19). About Us: An overground online corporation. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from An overground website: http://www.overgroundonline.com/news-6518/uk-riots-and-racism-2011.html

Skelton, T. A. (1999). Culture and global change. Routledge.

Wikipedia. (2011, December 6). About Us: A wikipedia site. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from A wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadwater_Farm_riot


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