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Race Conflict in London: Mark Duggan Case Essay

In each country, justice and equality are the vital factors that should be exercised for it to run smoothly, and for all citizens to enjoy their freedom of being in that country regardless of their social class, race or gender. If such issues are not looked into and put in place, inequality and discrimination is exercised by those in the upper class against the poor. The poor and the minority in the society are oppressed and in such cases, conflicts result bringing about demonstrations and at times, people loose their lives, property is damaged and other people are left homeless.

Following the death of Mark Duggan, a 29 year old suspected drug dealer in the Northern part of London, a small crowd of people, Duggan’s mother being among them, approached the Tottenham police station. They demonstrated peacefully demanding a satisfactory explanation that led to his death. These people insisted to get an explanation from a senior police officer as to why he was shot dead. However, they got none even after waiting for long hours. After this, the crowd lost patience and set two police vehicles ablaze.

Mark Duggan was short dead by a police officer, in his efforts to arrest him on a bridge next to Hale station, an incident that the police said was accidental. This act triggered riots across the city. Through critical analysis and view of facts, the death of Duggan is not the major cause of the riot that occurred in the month of August, 2011 in London. The family members demanded an act of justice needed an explanation as to why the Metropolitan police officer shot him.

However, there were claims that Duggan was armed. The family members and friends said that he was unarmed and from the tests made from the bullet found on the police radio, it was discovered that this was from a separate incident.

Following the consequences of the August, 2011 riots in London and other cities in the United Kingdom, the media, politicians and senior officers in the police force came up with different explanations on the cause of these riots, all based on the death of Duggan. However, in every public riot, there is always a hidden fact behind it and therefore, the extent of anger that was displayed by the public indicates that there is much more that lied behind the visible and not a mere shot of a suspected drug dealer. During the time when the public lost their temper at the police station in Tottenham and set two police cars on fire, the family members were not there and therefore, this shows that more to their motivation.

Poverty is a major factor that ought to have contributed to the riots. This is because, during these riots and malicious burning of other people’s property, theft also took place. The homes with unmarried women are prone to poverty (Demolianis 30). The demonstrators stole goods from the shops as well as individuals, for instance, it is reported that a 20 year old student from Malaysia is said to have been beaten and robbed twice by the demonstrators who took away what he had. Another group of demonstrators hit three police officers with a vehicle that they had earlier used to steal from a store in Chingford. This is a clear indication that the demonstrators were not financially well and that there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor.

The police ignored the advice which was offered by the community leaders and other councilors against the possible rioting. This ignorance may have contributed to the riot because just before the riot occurred, there had been a meeting where the police were warned and advised to be cautious of any possible riot similar to that which occurred in 1985 at Broadwater Farm. In order to avoid this, the police should have taken the necessary steps to address issues regarding the death of Duggan. Similarly, they should have taken the initiative of controlling the merciless crowds against destroying other people’s property and even killing.

Racial discrimination as well as distrust in the police by most of the citizens is another factor that made the rioting to get out of hand. Students said that the police hardly talk to them and that they also treat black people as inhuman. The act of mistreating people simply because of the difference in the skin color ought to have played a major part in the riots that occurred. These people acted with anger trying to revenge on their neighbors with the opposite skin color although the whites who also faced oppression were among them. The Metropolitan Police has for the past years harassed people from black and minority backgrounds.

A lot of rioting and looting took place from the poorest parts of London to other parts of London where the rich families and huge businesses were located. The young youth went to an extent of looting in order to provide for their daily needs. This is a clear indication that parents are unable to meet the needs of their family mainly because of unemployment, poor wages in their places of work. There is also gender inequality where women are denied an equal chance as the men in the job market (Woodward 22). If these women were granted equal opportunities as men, poverty levels would decline.

A great number of the youth is unemployed and thus spend most of the time idle and this is brought about by the fact that government has failed to provide employment opportunities for the youth. If only these people belonging to this age group were employed by the time the rioting took place, it could not have happened because the youth could have been busy and earning a living or in schools learning.

The social class is another problem in London. There is high rate of inequality brought about by selfishness and individualism. The poor are unable to provide for their families or even educate them and thus, these families tend to remain poor over the years (Ott 86). As a result, this has brought about crime and high imprisonment rate in some societies. This has for the past decades increased the gap between the rich and the poor in the society.

The coalition government is most probably another contributing factor that led to the rioting of the London citizens. Most Universities have gone on strike severally since the coalition government took on power. With these kinds of unusual occurrences within a country, the rioting and looting of the youth can be associated with this factor. The government was serving the majority in the cabinet which indicates that the government is unable to cater for the needs of its people within the country, and this resulted in the great mistrust by the people towards the government (Matzke 20). The government displayed a great concern when it undertook investigations to identify the looters.

It is clear that the government has relaxed and more so the department of security. This is because the police force should have controlled the masses of people damaging and stealing from others. It is a good idea that the prime minister called off his holiday and flew back from Italy to attend an emergency meeting. However, it is evident that this meeting bore no fruits from the statements that were made by the senior political leaders regarding the situation in their country. They just apologized when it was already too late.

Class, racial discrimination and incompetence of the government are the key factors that led to these riots. It is a great misfortune to the people who were affected by the riots where their properties were ruined and others left homeless. An apology from the government added more pain to the affected to instead of ensuring that the riots ought to have been controlled through competence in the government. If the young people who are blamed for the riots were employed, things would not have gone to that extent.

Instead of the government always looking for a short-term solution to such a problem when it occurs, it needs to find a permanent solution. This kind of riot has happened severally in London, for instance, in 1985 at Broadwater Farm which created tension in the whole country. The government failed on its part to avoid a similar incident from occurring. The citizens on the other hand, should not engage in revenge plans, rather, should focus on development.

Works Cited

Demolianis,Spiro. Jack the Ripper and Black Magic: Victorian Conspiracy Theories, Secret Societies and the Supernatural Mystique of the Whitechapel Murders. London: Mc Farland Publishers. 2011. Print.

Matzke, Berens.,Rebecca. Deterrence Through Strength: British Naval Power and Foreign Policy Under Pax Britannica. New York: U of Nebraska Press. 2011. Print.

Ott, Julia. When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy. New York: Harvard University Press. 2011. Print.

Woodward, Kath. Questioning identity: gender, class, ethnicity. New York: Routledge Publishers. 2004. Print.

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"Race Conflict in London: Mark Duggan Case." IvyPanda, 28 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/race-conflict-in-london-mark-duggan-case/.

1. IvyPanda. "Race Conflict in London: Mark Duggan Case." May 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/race-conflict-in-london-mark-duggan-case/.


IvyPanda. "Race Conflict in London: Mark Duggan Case." May 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/race-conflict-in-london-mark-duggan-case/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Race Conflict in London: Mark Duggan Case." May 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/race-conflict-in-london-mark-duggan-case/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Race Conflict in London: Mark Duggan Case'. 28 May.

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