WHY DO PEOPLE RIOT?
Those were the very first words I typed into my computer this morning. Of course, Google working the way Google does I was met with some of the more recent analyses of rioting in the United States that took place in Ferguson, Missouri. Most of these articles are more concerned with the “who” rather than the “why.”
But the second link in this post poses an interesting question regarding the why. Were the riots in Ferguson about the perceived social injustice of a white cop not being indicted, or, were the riots an offshoot of people wanting to be a part of something larger than themselves? These are good questions because they offer a counterpoint to the notion being spread by conservative bloggers that looting and rioting are events in American society caused only by minorities in recent times.
Over the next few hours I am going to examine the reasons people riot and see if there is any common ground between events in recent history in America that can clarify the question asked by the title of this post. As for Ferguson [and I would add Watts, LA in 1992, Newark and other civil rights riots in this group] I believe the root cause of the rioting was opportunism to strike back at a capitalist culture that rewards greed and power held by a monochromatic few. Often times, ironically, people who riot, no matter their color do more damage to people of their own ethnic and racial background than they do to those whom they feel have oppressed them. This fact has been used as a club by conservatives, some with humorous relish over the past seven decades. By the end of this series I hope we will all have learned something about what drives people to act as a mob.
Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
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