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Re-Emerging Anti Police Riots

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Autor:   •  December 20, 2016  •  Essay  •  1,244 Words (5 Pages)  •  40 Views

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Topic #2: Reemerging Riots

Why we are seeing a reemergence of anti-police protests and riots in the United States over the last few years in spite of efforts to ensure that “American Cities Don’t Burn Very Often?” Include information on Baltimore riots and Occupy riots and their relationship as you see it.

To understand why we have been seeing a re-emergence of anti-police protests and riots in the last few years, we must first understand why these riots came to be. During the industrialization of the United States - as the inequalities between the social classes blame more evident - riots led by the working class became a huge aspect of urban areas in the 19th century. Over time these riots and movements like occupy have stemmed from a lack of change that has come from previous, smaller demonstrations of unhappiness and frustration. This belief is shared in the article “Why the CVS Burned” when the author shared that “police brutality was a precipitating cause of the violence, but it was the long-term experience of the indignities of the ghetto that gave shape to the riots”. The lack of change in regards to the experiences of minorities and low class citizens brings forth this idea of a ‘collective identity’ amongst the unhappy population which then forms into a sort of human solidarity. Michael B. Katz shares in his article “Why Don’t American Cities Burn Very Often”, that the changing ecology of power, the techniques for managing marginalization, and the distinctive U.S. approaches to the incorporation and control of immigrants help to prevent these uprisings. In his article, Katz also explored the 5 techniques that are part of the management of marginalization. One of the techniques that is particularly relevant is the once centered around repression and surveillance. This technique refers to the distribution of grants by the LEAA which gave money to police forces and other parts of the criminal justice system. Money grants and legislation specified that no more than 1/3 of federal grants go to personnel which excluded programs based in communities or social work practice. The article states however that the police met the requirements for the grants easier through "expenditures on hardware, such as vehicles, helicopters, computers, communications equipment, and anti-riot gear.” The article also shared that state costs for correction increased from $632 million in 1965 to $1,051 million in 1970, $2,193 million in 1975, and $4,258 million in 1980. This choice of investment in policing rather than in community/social work programs contributed to the frustrations of those minority citizens. In the article, “Rites of Passage”, the author compares Baltimore’s slave jails to current Baltimore prisons. He shares that “the prison, like the slave trade, produces a mass of cheap, surplus bodies, deprived even of the basic exploitation offered by the wage. In short, it produces race”.

In his article, “Rites of Passage”, Key MacFarlane shared that the recent riots in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray have been the largest seen since those that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King. While the death of Freddie Gray was what pushed the citizens of Baltimore to riot, there was already a history of racial and social class driven tension present. The author of the article shares that Baltimore is in fact “a tale of one city in which one group exploits the living fuck out of another. Of one city where white real-estate investors are able to eat crab cakes and watch horses jump up and down in circles not in spite of but because of the displacement of black families from their homes in East and West Baltimore”. This exploitation is felt even worse by Generation Zero which is living in a time where unemployment for 16- to 24-year-olds is 13.8% and student debt has more than doubled since the recession. To be more specific, in West Baltimore (where the riots began), residents have been long subjected to forced evictions and periodic disinvestment. While North Baltimore has an abundance of resources, several of West Baltimore’s recreation centers have been shut down as well as educational facilities. Much of the violence and rioting in Baltimore took place at and around West Baltimore’s Mondawmin Mall. The neighborhood around the mall, has a median household income of just $38,014a and one-third of the neighborhood earns less than $25,000. Shopping locally is thus a burden on the poor. Due to only one-third of households owning a car, ghetto residents cannot easily enjoy the competitive pricing of the better-off sections of the city or the suburbs. Economists have found that prices for consumer goods can be as much as 15 percent higher for the poor. While the mall also offers employment opportunities for some of the residents, the neighborhood still has an unemployment rate of 23 percent. Understanding this history of West Baltimore further helps to support that the re-emergence of these anti-police protests and riots is caused by the the combination of police brutality and tactics with the years of economic and social injustice faced by minority citizens.

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