Have you all been following the news on the London riots? I have. I have also been immensely intrigued by the questions we Americans have asked about the riots and thought to call on my media colleague Lola Adesioye, to help answer some of these questions. Read on.
FASHIONENTLAW.COM: Lola thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview.
Lola: It’s my pleasure.
FASHIONENTLAW.com: For my audience who do not know you, give us a brief background about your interest and work.
Lola: I’m interested in and concerned about the future of our world, where we are heading and what we are creating now for future generations. I consider myself an activist with the media being one of my key tools, since it’s the most powerful tool in the world. My writing has ranged from the U.S. presidency to politics in the UK and Nigeria, to the British and Nigerian music scenes and personal empowerment. I have also written a lot on issues/topics and themes related to black people. I’ve had work published in a number of publications including The Guardian, The Economist, CNN.com, TheRoot.com, The Huffington Post and appeared on CNN, the BBC, BET, Channel 4 and MSNBC. There’s lot’s more, but that’s enough for now!
FASHIONENTLAW.com: (Your intro is just perfect) I have been following your writings for a while so when the riots broke out in London, I thought I’d reach out for an interview. Lay the context for us. Many Americans are having a hard time understanding what the fuss is all about. What’s the fuss all about? Why did all hell break loose after the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan?
Lola: The fuss is about a lot of things. Initially it began about the shooting of Mark Duggan by a specialist unit of the police force known as Operation Trident which was set up in 1998 to deal with gun crime in the black community. It quickly escalated, becoming about a number of issues which the UK is still debating and discussing. These include class, race, poverty, lawlessness, disenfranchisement, marginalization, cuts to youth services, bored young people, an out-of-touch government, a society of have and have nots, relationship between police and citizens, and many other things. Really, to me, this whole issue is just about the current nature of English society.
Watch What Lola has to Say on CNN about the have and “have nots.”
FASHIONENTLAW.com: To your knowledge, who was Mark Duggan?
Lola: All I know of him is that he was a young man from Tottenham. He was under 30 and a father of four. Speculation is that he has criminal connections but I can’t speak on that because I don’t know for sure.
FASHIONENTLAW.com: Explain a little more about the neighborhood where the riots first took place.
Lola: Tottenham is in North London. It’s a typical inner city London area – high ethnic minority population and deprived (it is one of the most deprived areas in the country with a very high unemployment rate). It is actually well known for rioting that took place in 1985. Those riots are known as the Broadwater Farm riots.
FASHIONNTLAW.com: Is social media to blame for these riots? Social media is receiving its fair share of blame. What are your thoughts?
Lola: Social media is not to blame. It’s just a tool that people can use to disseminate a message faster than ever before. But that’s the sign of the times that we live in today – everyone’s doing it – the media, politicians, everyone. Both fortunately and unfortunately, it can also be used to organize… sometimes constructively, less frequently destructively.
FASHIONENTLAW.com: Who is to blame?
Lola: to me, this isn’t about blame…and I actually think blame is an unhelpful concept. It’s more a question of responsibility and that’s the question I will answer – who is responsible? First of all, those who did the damage are clearly responsible for what they did. They are old enough to be accountable for their actions. Secondly, those who fostered an environment in which such behavior is created and thrives are also responsible for the creation of that environment. Now, that’s all of us. We must all take a good long hard look at ourselves – even those who think they have nothing to do with it.
FASHIONETLAW.com: Why does it matter to you to write and speak on Black Relations both in the USA and the UK?
Lola: First of all I believe in the empowerment and upliftment of all human beings. Yet, I see that there are specific groups who do less well than others on a consistent basis, where within said groups intelligent voices and perspectives are in small numbers and where media representation of said people is poor. One of those groups happens to be one of which I claim and of which I’m a part. And, there’s no way I’m going to be on this planet and not have anything to say about it.
FASHIONENTLAW.com: One of the things I have heard you say, overtime, has been the need for England and the world to recognize Britain is no longer the Britain of the past that we envision in our heads. Describe the new Britain?
Lola: When many people think of England, they think of the royal family and the countryside. That certainly exists. But there’s also another side, one that the world doesn’t really see or get to know about until now. The “new” England is increasingly diverse, ethnically and culturally, the result of various waves of immigration of people from all over the world – Eastern Europeans, Africans, Caribbeans, Indians, Chinese. So, it has become a mixture of many cultures – Indian food is the nation’s favorite food, for example. It’s increasingly a non-homogenous society, and now we have 2nd and 3rd generation English-born children of immigrants. What it means to be English…British even (which is a catch-all term which doesn’t mean so much to be honest), is being redefined and reshaped all the time. England must deal with the reality of this 21st century identity.
Watch this Video That Says Whites Have Become Blacks and Therein Lies the Problem with the Disintegration of England
Watch UK Citizens Debate the Causes of the Riots
What are your thoughts?
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