Identity politics is turning violent

Identity politics is turning violent, by Frank Furedi.

One of the most disturbing and fascinating developments in contemporary public debate is the attempt to normalise looting. …

Until recently, looting was seen as a symptom of community decay. It was condemned as sickening anti-social behaviour. In previous times, even those who were sympathetic to the cause and the outlook of people engaged in riots would stop short of supporting looting. …

Since the outbreak of Black Lives Matter protests a few months ago, there have been various efforts to rehabilitate violence and looting as acceptable and even laudable forms of political protest….

For example, Matthew Clair, an assistant professor of sociology at Stanford University, seems to resent the fact that the word looting has a ‘negative tone’. He says this negative framing of looting is motivated by racism. Apparently, ‘the term is racialised and is often used to condemn political acts that threaten white supremacy and racial capitalism’.

Sure. Black people are above criticism on the left, so if they loot there must be a really virtuous reason.

In recent months, numerous media outlets in the US have been complicit in the rewriting of history. They regularly excuse riots and looting on the grounds that violence has always been a feature of the American way of life.

Writing in the Atlantic, Kellie Carter Jackson says the current riots are comparable to the armed uprising that led to America’s War of Independence. ‘Since the beginning of this country, riots and violent rhetoric have been markers of patriotism’, she argues. Ignoring the fact that the objective of the American Revolution was to achieve sovereignty and independence, she says that ‘when our Founding Fathers fought for independence, violence was the clarion call’. According to this rewriting of history, the leaders of the American Revolution were defined by their desire to celebrate violence. …

Another approach adopted by the looting apologists is to compare looting to acts of injustice directed against black people by racist America. … ‘If you felt unease watching that Target being looted, try to imagine how it must feel for black Americans when they watch themselves being looted every single day. Police in America are looting black bodies.’ …

Spot the difference:

I have vivid memories of the outburst of violence that accompanied the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, when I was nine years old. I remember that while people protested and fought against the regime and against their Soviet masters, there was no looting. I remember seeing signs on shop windows that stated ‘This is our property’, suggesting that everyone had a moral duty to protect such property. On numerous occasions I saw shopfronts where the glass had been blown away by gun- and tank-fire. Yet nobody thought of helping themselves to the easily accessible goods that remained intact inside.

The modern left are woke wordsmiths, with little sense of reality. Trying to paint looting as just an acceptable and justifiable thing for black people to do is very ambitious. I’m not buying.