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Why Do The English Riots Affect US Queers?

The people who are rioting and protesting in the United Kingdom about their dire financial situations, racial tensions, and the militaristic police state of the country are also representing the interests of many LGBT people. Homeless LGBT youth and anti-LGBT violence while police officers look away are not issues that are unique to the United States. The United Kingdom endures similar problems, and if the young rioters can convey their message that they can no longer stand for such unstable economic situations and a corrupt police force, the LGBT people – especially LGBT people of color – who are disproportionately struggling against those same issues will benefit.

Could a similar uprising in the United States happen? We’re facing many of the same issues – our financial instability, our power-hungry representatives, and our system that rewards wealth instead of representing the interests of the American people. After last month’s debt ceiling disaster, where huge amounts of time were spent on silly, gridlocked debate only to end up with a horrible plan that will hurt the poor while continuing to reward the rich, some of those enormous structural flaws in our system were put on an immensely visible platform. But the poor continue to be ignored.

They’re certainly not helped along any by our media, which hardly ever discusses the problems facing people in poverty or pressures the government to do something about it. Even when those issues to get airtime, they’re flattened by overpaid television anchors who repeat the “lazy homeless” rhetoric as fact.”

- The Bilerico Project‘s Adam Polaski discussing “The U.K. Riots & Where the LGBT Community Fits In.” Yesterday we reported that the riots had spread to the gay district in Birmingham, though damage to LGBT businesses has been minimal, nor has the rioting affected this weekend’s Manchester Pride.

Image via Vice magazine

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Aug 11, 2011
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 37 Comments
    • JayKay
      JayKay

      “Could a similar uprising in the United States happen?”

      No. The US isn’t a nation of tea sipping pussies. We actually give our police guns, and history shows they’re not afraid to use them. If a bunch of angry little snowflakes try any similar shit over here they’ll be gunned down by the dozen. I’d rather not have to sweep your corpse off my lawn, so don’t try anything.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 9:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Henry
      Henry

      @JayKay: It sounds like you’re saying the only way a revolt in the U.S. would work is if rioters gunned down pigs first.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 9:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      If things get anymore desperate in the USA, the same sort of rioting we see happening in the UK could definitely happen here. Americans are a passive, highly medicated people but even the most mellow dog — if you poke it with long enough with a stick, will eventually turn on you and bite your ass.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 9:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rainfish
      Rainfish

      Our glorious country is now operating on this simple premise:

      “Take from the Needy to give to the Greedy.”

      Reverse Robin Hood, plain and simple.

      You know what happens when you stop feeding the hungry and start kicking the unemployed in the teeth? They fight back. The difference between the UK and the USA is guns. It would be a blood-bath over here if social unrest were to ignite in the poorer cities (which is about every city nowadays).

      As a teenager, I lived through the nationwide riots in the 1960s after Martin Luther King was assassinated. I saw American cities on fire, massive looting…thousands killed and wounded. There were barricades and national guard troops everywhere in nearly every town, and a curfew after dark when anyone on the streets was arrested by soldiers, or shot — and many were.

      It could happen again…and far worse. This would especially be so if the tattered remains of what little survives of our social safety net (food stamps, unemployment benefits, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, winter home heating assistance, etc.) were to be cut off.

      The working blue-collar middle-class had previously been a stabilizing force in our society; a firewall separating the very rich from the very poor. It was also a level of achievement that those born poor could aspire to in a realistic manner. Now what is left? Few factory jobs, little construction, many department store and clerical jobs gone as well — just low-pay service sector jobs remaining.

      We’ve become a master/slave nation composed of the very rich, the working poor, and then the very poor — with no middle-class to speak of which was once the very backbone of American industry and the force that helped propel us into the future. But when manufacturing jobs left the country we became nothing but a consumer nation with low paying service jobs for most and a wealthy class with little sense of civic responsibility and little entrepreneurship to grow or even maintain the economy. The outsourcing fat cats got filthy rich by destroying the once greatest manufacturing nation on the planet — America. Just so they could save a few bucks on labor cost, they committed economic treason and sold our country out to make life a little easier for the proletariat in Communist China. How’s that for Capitalism?

      Get ready folks, the next Great World-wide Depression in just around the corner.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 10:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • malcanoid
      malcanoid

      @JayKay: Shoot first ask questions later? Typical USA response to most problems. We will cope in the UK without all this this bellicose nonesense. The British people do not want it, will not put up with it and will put an end to the rioting by other means.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 10:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bab
      bab

      @JayKay: Sir, you are full of shit.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in London UK
      Mike in London UK

      What a load of utter drivel!

      “The people who are rioting and protesting in the United Kingdom about their dire financial situations, racial tensions, and the militaristic police state of the country are also representing the interests of many LGBT people. Homeless LGBT youth and anti-LGBT violence while police officers look away are not issues that are unique to the United States.”

      I have no idea where this Adam Polaski gets his information, but the rioters are not supporting any policical or social group.

      These are LOOTERS – they are breaking into shops, many of them owned by families (not corporations) and then looting everything and then burning the shops down without any consideration that people live in flats above the shops.

      They have stormed public transport buses, with passengers aboard and used them as battering rams.

      They have even taken vehicles (carjacked) and then used them to run down and kill members of the public who are doing nothing but try to keep the THIEVING SCUM out of a street.

      These are nothing but common scum, thieves and in some cases murderers and deserve nothing.

      They are certainly NOT representing any part of the LGBT population in the UK.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      Those rioters aren’t doing anything for the LGBT community! they’re just a big group of brain dead chav’s and scumbags! complete idiots

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @Rainfish: “Take from the needy to give to the greedy?” Get out of here with that crap. People that WORK for what they get should get a lot more than people that are content to live off of welfare and unemployment. There are plenty of jobs out there. Sure, they might not pay as much as your old job and you might have to work more hours to get things accomplished. But, get off your ass and get out there and work. Many of the more wealthy people in this country work around the clock. Not everyone inherited their money from their parents. On top of that, the government is NOT responsible for giving you a job.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QJ201
      QJ201

      @JayKay:
      But I could make the smarmy comment that the gay community has become pussies; gay in your face activism has died.

      Rather than spending our money going to Galas or making donations that go directly into lobbying we should be STORMING our statehouses for our rights.

      The gay community has yet to have it’s own effective “Civil Rights March,” a la Selma. We haven’t “marched on Washington” in over a decade!

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WizeAzz
      WizeAzz

      Why do the English riots affect U.S. queers? Well, I for one have been reminded that the new Planet Of the apes film won’t be as good as the one with Roddy McDowall.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tommy Shepherd
      Tommy Shepherd

      Everybody hates JayKay. Lol

      Aug 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Graham
      Graham

      This was nothing to do with lgbt, poverty or that like. It was vandals using one incident to loot, to cause trouble and stir up bullshit.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Graham
      Graham

      @JayKay: You’re a moron, with absolutely no concept how your police men having guns is a bad thing. The riots started with a police man shooting a man, which led to opportunistic looting and rioting. They had guns, kinda started it in the first place. Oh I love stereotype Americans. So little knowledge of the world outside their borders.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Queer Supremacist
      Queer Supremacist

      @Rainfish: What have you done to assist the poor? Have you ever given food to a starving man? Have you ever volunteered your time at a homeless shelter or the Food Bank? Have you ever taken the initiative to help those who cannot help themselves?

      Your Robin Hood analogy falls flat on its face for many reasons. First of all, the legend of Robin Hood is invariably set before the formation of all modern economic theories. Second, many different versions of the story offer different motivations for Robin Hood’s actions; the first version I ever saw was Disney’s animated version, where he was motivated by Prince John’s taxation. You seem to think the state should rob from the rich to feed the poor, except you call it a “social safety net.” The Mafia called it “paying protection.” I call it extortion. And then you complain about why people don’t want to help the poor; they think they don’t have to because the government will take care of them. The “rich,” of which the government keeps changing the definition, still pay higher tax rates than anyone else. I want the rich to pay their fair share: the exact same rates as everybody else. No more, no less. If you want to stop giving them special privileges and handouts, yes I would gladly support getting rid of those.

      @Mike in London UK: Exactly. This is not analogous to the Boston Tea Party or Stonewall. These are hetero lowlifes doing what hetero lowlifes do best. Along with the radical anti-capitalist Left, they are the true looter class. A lot of them are probably virulently homophobic and I’m surprised there weren’t any gay bashings.

      If these fucking breeder thugs even try that on my property then they can kiss their breeder asses goodbye.

      The Bilerico Project is where people go when they’re bitter that there’s still a private sector in this or any country on Earth.

      @malcanoid: Europe is only more civilized than the US in the minds of Europeans, who have a history of thinking anyone different from them is inferior. You call us bigots, but you taught us everything we know about bigotry. True, Great Britain ended slavery first, but British Civil Law planted the seeds of homophobia in Africa, Asia, and North America. You call us imperialists when you made imperialism into an art form. You took over the whole world and controlled it until it you couldn’t afford to keep it. We only briefly flirted with it in the early 20th century and quickly gave it up in favor of the Woodrow Wilson model of “nation-building”. Clean up your own house before you point out the dust in ours.

      @Graham: You literally argue like a three year old. So a cop kills an innocent man and a bunch of breeder chavs respond by…attacking and killing innocent men and women?

      Oh how I love the way you Eurotrash project your bigotry onto the people who saved you from your racist, anti-semitic selves. You know nothing about American culture. Have you ever set foot on this country’s shores? Enjoy your descent into Third World status? If we’re going down, you’re going to be the the ones breaking our fall.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cary Hartline
      Cary Hartline

      Some people are SUSPICIOUS that a cop shot a man so they grouped together and decided to act like untrained monkeys. These looters have killed a lot of people and ruined the lives of thousands. This isn’t revolt or justice this is just anarchy for the sake of anarchy.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SaveCivilization
      SaveCivilization

      http://catchalooter.tumblr.com/ pics of the looters. What I want to know is, are these homegrown English natives or are they immigrants from Jamaica, Africa, other places..? And, Cary Hartline is correct : these are the most homophobic elements of UK society as well. The politically-correct elements of British society (and in the U.S.) are falling all over themselves trying to excuse this behavior in all sorts of philosophical and academic ways, but they better start admitting some hard truths.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ganondorf
      Ganondorf

      It doesn’t, really. Though, one shouldn’t turn to queerty for insight into how the world works and its current state. You will be rightfully denied access to reality if you do so. I think this interest is in response to the veritable and embarrassing silence on the Norway incident.

      Some people have speculated that this could happen in America. First, many of the people who are saying that ignore that there is no underlying ideological unity or impetus contexting the rioting and looting. There is no readily discernible efficient “cause” that unites these people in common purpose. The Harry Brown breakdown (re: Frampton: It’s not Northern Ireland Harry. Harry Brown: No it’s not. Those people were fighting for something; for a cause. To them out there, this is just entertainment). There is an excuse that directs the mercurial will of the mob, and an underlying host of social reasons. Sure, there’s an underclass of unemployable people that are the inescapable byproduct of a social arrangement favored by the majority of that country’s citizens. Yes, 20% of Britain’s teens and young adults are functionally illiterate. But none of these facts entail the rioting. The explanations generally take the two predictable extremes. Poor people are irredeemable shiftless trash and are entirely responsible for their behavior and social position (the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” “I create reality by my thinky thoughts” crowd who play into the divide and conquer strategy of the owning/investor class) and the other equally stupid extreme of denying agency and responsibility to everyone by blaming it all entirely on systemic issues like the failure of public education, isms/social justice, the economy, and wealth/opportunity distribution. Of course neither is correct, and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

      Could it happen in America? Not any time soon. America does have an ever increasing population of unemployed and unemployable that are the inescapable byproduct of an economic and political arrangement favored by the majority of its citizens. Make no mistake, many, many more americans identify as conservative than liberal. And yet more than progressive. Until more the demographics change, the uncomfortable reality (for progressives, anyway–and a progressive is anyone who isn’t a cheerleader for the annihilation of the middle class, apparently) that most americans like how things are. Besides, in America, the citizens have just as much access to firearms as the means of persuasion do. It would be a storied bloodbath from both sides.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon from London UK
      Jon from London UK

      I agree with Mike from London. This article has no relation at all to the position in the UK during the riots. Yes, there are economic problems here as there are all over the world right now, but the riots in the UK are all about looting for greed and violence for entertainment. There is very little political agenda.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      “The people who are rioting and protesting in the United Kingdom about their dire financial situations, racial tensions, and the militaristic police state of the country are also representing the interests of many LGBT people”

      i am sorry from here over the pond this is SO not while people are rioting…it is simply opportunistic criminality and thuggery….please do not try to romanticise it any way…and it is such a tiny tiny minority too..such a naive view of the situation

      Aug 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      “The people who are rioting and protesting in the United Kingdom about their dire financial situations, racial tensions, and the militaristic police state of the country are also representing the interests of many LGBT people”

      i am sorry from here over the pond this is SO not why people are rioting…it is simply opportunistic criminality and thuggery….please do not try to romanticise it any way…and it is such a tiny tiny minority too..such a naive view of the situation

      Aug 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bronxite
      Bronxite

      Steve : The U.S., like the U.K., has a lot of naive (maybe stubbornly and deliberately naive) people who will bend over backwards until their spines ache to avoid putting any blame on the criminals, especially when the criminals are minorities. It seems to be the only way they can handle these situations in their own minds.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rainfish
      Rainfish

      @Daez: I noticed your economic Darwinism crap didn’t address anything I said about the multitude of American manufacturing jobs going overseas.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 7:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luke
      Luke

      Yeah, as many have said. Article is total bullshit – there is no basis for fact in anything suggested above.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 8:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rainfish
      Rainfish

      @Queer Supremacist: who wrote to me: “What have you done to assist the poor? Have you ever given food to a starving man? Have you ever volunteered your time at a homeless shelter or the Food Bank? Have you ever taken the initiative to help those who cannot help themselves?”

      ——————

      Yes, I have to all of the above…and more. Plus taking care of AIDS patients. What is your point?

      Aug 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • james_from_cambridge
      james_from_cambridge

      Of course riots will happen here. We’ve had numerous riots throughout our history and considering the current economic and political situation, we’re overdue for more. And yet the Right-Wing in this country, and the police pigs that keep them in power, are still under the impression they are the only ones with guns so that kind of violence couldn’t happen here. Guess again fascist pigs; everyone is armed in the U.S. Personally I’d rather the U.S. peacefully broke up into two or three different countries but since that will never happen and we’re facing a far worse economic crisis than Europe, we will erupt like we did back in the 1960′s. But probably not until a couple of years into Rick Perry’s presidency. Theocrat-in-chief Perry and his Republican super-majority will no doubt be elected next year and they will proceed to destroy what’s left of the social safety net and tell the poor and working class to “pray the poor away”. Then we’ll erupt into an orgy of violence that’ll make London look like a circuit party. It’s inevitable….

      Aug 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • james_from_cambridge
      james_from_cambridge

      @Rainfish: Queer Shitmacist has no point: he’s a Goproud contrarian who revels in his hatred of the poor, Black people, etc. Anyone he considers beneath him and his tiny penis…

      Aug 11, 2011 at 9:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • YeahBut
      YeahBut

      james-from-cambridge, we probably have even more homophobic blacks in the U.S. than there are in England, so if such a day is coming than it really is better that gays are armed.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carl
      Carl

      I’ve read some fiction in my time, but this “article” takes the biscuit – are you sure it isn’t from the onion? The riots aren’t related to the financial situation at all (although some of the looters claim otherwise, after the fact, to excuse their actions once caught), racial tension or a “police state” – what a load of old cobblers that claim is!

      It started as a peaceful protest against the shooting (you know, the standard response of US police officers – shoot first, who cares about questions) of a local man by police. More disruptive elements took this as an opportunity to “have some fun” and since we have seen copy-cat crime sprees across the country.

      Make no mistake, this is not political protests or such, it is opportunistic looting. As others have pointed out, many of the shops targeted are small, privately owned businesses, not chain stores.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Britain is the ultimate proof that socialism doesn't work
      Britain is the ultimate proof that socialism doesn't work

      In Britain, they have the dream progressive paradise.

      Hate speech is outlawed.

      Government provides universal guaranteed health care.

      Individuals are guaranteed housing, income, even internet access.

      Yet even with nice mobile phones, luxurious council flats, high end designer clothing, generous council welfare payments, free transit allowance, socialized medicine, and guaranteed minimum incomes — all the things that were required to “eliminate want,” according to our friends on the left — Britain is still rioting and in chaos.

      Why is that?

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      In Britain, they have the dream progressive paradise.

      Hate speech is outlawed.

      Government provides universal guaranteed health care.

      Individuals are guaranteed housing, income, even internet access.

      Yet even with nice mobile phones, luxurious council flats, high end designer clothing, generous council welfare payments, free transit allowance, socialized medicine, and guaranteed minimum incomes — all the things that were required to “eliminate want,” according to our friends on the left — Britain is still rioting and in chaos.

      Why is that?

      Rioters (and lefties) claim it’s because British youth “want jobs.” Why? They have everything that a job would pay for in this country, free of charge. They say it’s because “they feel disenfranchised.” How?

      Can’t we just admit that not having to work for what you have makes one completely entitled and extinguishes the human spirit to try, succeed and compete? Britain today is what happens when an entire generation has everything it is supposed to want, without effort or hard work.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      And incidentally, that has NOTHING to do with LGBT people, who have legitimate grievances about being treated unequally by the law — yet aren’t busy randomly assaulting pedestrians, torching their own neighborhoods, or smashing up every window within reach of a brick.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • YeahBut
      YeahBut

      On no. 31, Brian, you are so right. Gay men restore old houses and save neighborhoods. These looters are those immediate-gratification pea-brains who destroy houses and neighborhoods.

      Aug 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Riiight
      Riiight

      I wish people would stop assuming that the looters are exclusivly hetero like it’s impossible for someone who is gay to be a greedy crimminal.

      Yes, gay people restore houses, but so do straight people, and there is nothing that says that some of the kids looting those shops were not gay.

      They had a little slide show off people who were being convicted on the news here. Some were training to be social workers or to work with the poor. It was not motivated by politics Or sexcuality, it was all greed and the prospect of fun. Shock horror, gays can also be bad people.

      Aug 12, 2011 at 4:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • malcanoid
      malcanoid

      @Queer Supremacist: I do think that you have that wrong. I might say that only right wing US citizens think they are more civilised than anyone else. If Britain did spread the seeds of homophobia over large parts of the globe, whose wealth is being used now to preserve and foster homophobia over much of it. Have you not heard of Uganda? One might also question what is so civilised about a country, the wealthiest in the world, tolerating an infant mortality rate worse than several of the ex-communist states of eastern Europe. You are in no position to lecture anyone about civilisation apart from in your own dullard mind.

      Aug 12, 2011 at 6:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael J
      Michael J

      “The people who are rioting and protesting in the United Kingdom about their dire financial situations, racial tensions, and the militaristic police state of the country are also representing the interests of many LGBT people.”

      Whoa, what a load of band-wagon jumping nonsense. Replace “representing the interests of” with “likely to beat the fuck out of” and the author would be closer to the truth.

      Aug 13, 2011 at 5:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Diego_Rivera_II
      Diego_Rivera_II

      Michael J. : wouldn’t you just love to shove Bilerico-college-boy-Polaski’s arse into the neighborhood of those oh-so-noble rioters so he can get a firsthand taste of how much they love white gay boys ?

      Aug 23, 2011 at 3:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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