Reflecting on the 2011 London Riots from Jamaica
My parents and all their friends keep saying the recent London riots remind them of the 1981 riots in Brixton and the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot in Tottenham but worse. Worse because its 30 years later and for the young urban youths in London, its 30 years harder. The youths are there… they know. I don’t really have an idea of what London is like right now.
One of my grandfather’s worked years and years on the London rail. Building Mother England. He was a part of the batch of immigrants that made it to the British Metropolis before the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act restricted the flow of Caribbean people to England. In his last days in Jamaica, every morning he would tell me help him up cause he had to get to the rail to start working for those dollars. At the time I couldn’t imagine why it was the thing he thought of the most in his old age.
My other grandfather was the first Black Mayor of Croydon. The same place todays riot’s popped off. I’ve learned a lot about immigrant life in London just from being around my family and extended family. I often wonder about my parallel life as Z British and especially now where would I be in the scheme of all these things.
When people live in a country for years and years and never feel really comfortable there is a bitter taste that comes up. When 2nd and 3rd generation children cannot catch a break in the country they were born in there is going to be bubbling conflict waiting to overflow.Continue reading