Thursday, August 01, 2013

Neither Black On Black Nor White On White

A firefighter is one of seven individuals arrested as a result of a disturbance which occurred

at the end of a surfing and skateboarding competition in Southern California's Huntington Beach on Sunday night, according to reports.

Authorities have described that the incident was sparked when a fight broke out at the end of a multi-day surfing and skateboarding competition. However, things quickly escalated completely out of control as dozens of people sparked a full out riot, with people running through the streets, smashing up vehicles and street signs. Fights also broke out sporadically, and various acts of criminal damage occurred.

It eventually too police, armed in riot gear, hours to gain back control of the situation and bring the disturbance to a halt. They reportedly fired pepper spray pellets into the crowd to be disperse troublemakers, and at least eight people were arrested for failing to disperse despite being ordered to do so by police officers.

An unidentified eye-witness to the event has told KTLA: "It started with like a fight, and then it just broke out. They were tipping Porta Potties. Then the cops started to move in, and they were throwing tear gas at everyone.

"Everyone was like plugging their nose and coughing and dodging into stores. Everyone was just running down Main Street."

The disturbance resulted in vehicles throughout the area being smashed up, shop windows were also targeted, and street signs were damaged.

The Malibu-based Heather Digby Parton, quoted approvingly more than anyone in this blog, cleverly expressed the view of many individuals on our side when she snarked "Just look at all those white people hurting each other and destroying their own neighborhood.  Those young white males just have no respect for authority. It's a culture thing."

Digby is responding to the right's obsession with what it blithely, if not joyfully, terms "black-on-black crime." But "black-on-black crime" is not really black on black crime. It is perpetrated by young black males disproportionately- though far from exclusively- on other young blacks.  It is a disservice to black women and to black adults to obsess on "black" crime as if the primary characteristic is race.  While blacks disproportionately commit more crime than whites, the gap between young and old and between male and female is significantly greater. Noting the cause should be seen in "a historical context," the President recently noted (where "in the criminal justice system" is a euphemism for "crime")

Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is na├»ve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence.

And so it was with the white-perpetrated violence in Huntington Beach.   In the video below, there seems to be all of one female involved and no one seems to be over the age of, roughly, 28.    It was not a riot participated in by white people any more than "black-on-black"  is a habit of black people.  It is an activity of young people, a disproportionate number- but a minority- of whom are black.  From time to time, a woman is involved, just as one or two women apparently joined in the southern California riot.

The Daily Beast's Mark Luckach explains

Every summer, the U.S. Open of Surfing descends on Huntington Beach for a weeklong event of surf contests, skateboarding, and loud music—the epitome of modern surfing. If you want to see surfing at its most beautiful, go someplace remote like Indonesia. If you want to see surfing at its most dangerous, head to Mavericks or Teahupo’o. But if you want to see surfing at its most ugly and mass-consumed, head to the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.

So, white people, black people, individuals of any ethnicity: come one and come all and allow your culture to flower.  But leave that southern California beach culture behind.  Along with the Beach Boys.

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