Are the rioters a raceless collection of poor young men?

Yesterday a reader in England sent me an article from The Guardian which says that the rioters consist of people from every background—yob, Muslim, etc.—as well as black, and that the riots were really a matter of “young men from poor areas” regardless of race. I wrote back to him :

A lot of leftist spinning here. While I don’t have all the facts as to numbers, my impression of the article is that they’re trying to make the non-black involvement seem much more than it is. The truth seems to be that the riots were started by blacks, and then others (whites and Muslims) joined in, especially in the looting. But it remains mainly a black thing, and The Guardian is trying to deny that.

Also, it’s not surprising that whites would be involved. As Charles Murray wrote ten years years ago, underclass whites in Britain are in their behavior very much like underclass blacks—products of the welfare state, of fatherlessness, etc., and producers of fatherlessness. And we’ve known for years about the yobs who can be as unruly and dangerous as the black thugs. Britain has this huge low-level white population of which there is no equivalent in America. So it’s no suprise that they would join with the blacks.

The problem with liberal-left thinking is that it denies that any real categories exist. It uses exceptions to any generalization to deny that the generalization is true—except of course for negative generalizations about conservatives, Christians, etc. Thus The Guardian uses the presence of the yobs and Muslims, among the rioters and looters to say that no racial generalization about the riots is possible. But that’s false. The fact that many yobs joined with the blacks is significant, I don’t deny that, but it doesn’t change what the riots tell us about the blacks; the yob presence adds onto the black riot the fact that it’s also a yob riot. But the fact that it’s also a yob riot doesn’t take away the significance of the riot as a predominantly black riot.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 11, 2011 09:59 AM | Send

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