You’d have to have been living in a cave in Djibouti (I don’t know if Djibouti has caves, I just like the name) to be unaware of the insanity that’s been taking place across England this week. Since they began in Tottenham, North London on Saturday evening, waves of riots have been sweeping the country with widespread looting and destruction of private and public property.
Riots have hit across most of the nation’s major cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Nottingham. Even the flashpoint riots of the 1980s in the likes of Brixton, Broadwater Farm, Toxteth and Handsworth don’t compare in terms of sheer widespread destruction to what we’ve been witnessing this week.
There’s nothing to say about the horror of the past few days that hasn’t already been said – head to Twitter if you want to hear a cacophony of views (ranging from intelligent and articulate to ignorant and privileged nonsense). As people struggle to dissect events, there’s been much debate about the root causes of perhaps the largest display of civil unrest in English history.
Predictably though, a rising chorus of out-of-touch commentators, peddling the same old wares being passed off as opinion, have begun to hold Hip Hop accountable for the violence and destruction perpetrated by a minority of angry, bored, greedy, stupid, opportunistic, amoral, disenfranchised youth. Take this from Paul Routledge writing for the Daily Mirror…
“I blame the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music, which glorifies violence and loathing of authority (especially the police but including parents), exalts trashy materialism and raves about drugs.”
“…in the end only a change of culture, and the way these kids see the world about them, will work. I would ban the broadcasting of poisonous rap, and urge – require, even – schools to teach that the world is a much better place without pointless rage.”
Okay then. So it turns out that years of neglect towards communities, massive cuts to youth spending, decades of ever-intensifying antipathy towards the police and the systematic disenfranchisement of an entire generation aren’t to blame for this fuckery. The cause of this chaos is Hip Hop.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.