Technology with attitude

Fractals Of Change Talks France


A very good tech blog talks the France Riots:

It’s tempting to blame the recent problems in France on some combination of disguised Gallic racism and Muslim militancy; tempting and probably partly right but not very useful and way too smug. Like France, we have third world ghettos in the midst of our first world affluence; Hurricana Katrina lifted the lid off existing social pathology in New Orleans (as well as plenty of other problems). But Newark and Trenton and Camden here in New Jersey and many other US cities harbor similar problems.

In the very short term, France seemed to quickly learn what it took us four hot summers to master in the US: order has to be maintained. The residents of ghettos suffer more than anyone else in a riot. When I was a young National Guardsman in Chicago, black mothers begged us to shoot the black boys on the roofs who were throwing bricks down at fire trucks; arson was these mothers’ terror, especially when they were at work and their children were at home. Neither the mothers or the boys knew we had no bullets.

In the longer term, a whole society suffers when there are pockets of chronic unemployment and despair. The problem is greatly intensified when the majority of people in these pockets of misery are visibly ethnically different than those in the affluence which surrounds them. No matter how much or how little a role racism had in creating the disparities, racism blossoms when the disparities exist. THEY make our streets unsafe; THEY won’t let us get ahead; THEY don’t want to work; THEY won’t give us jobs.

Read the whole thing.