"Whites have become blacks..." ~David Starkey
Workman Reasonings: Uk Riots
copyright 2011 K.Omodele
"Look how long now they rioting, bout two or three days now. Yuh late, Rudeboy!" Bajie replies, swiping a along his military cut shape-up and sops up his mustache with a handkerchief . Then, he folds it neatly, drapes it over a shoulder.
"BaBY-LON, your Kingdom is BURN-IN'," he wails with no twitch hinting his face and not a trace of regret lacing his voice. Then, he continues like a verdict, "And this time di revolution not only televised, it Internet computerized, tuh rass."
Spence reclines, his tradesman-toned arms extend behind him, propping him up like stands. "Oonu** nuh hear bout wha Sparkey seh?"
Dreadie glowers around at the congregation. Then, waving the paper with one arm like a flag, he rumbles:
"This man mek a connection between Black culture and gangsterism. But when you really hear di shout, yuh will find out seh youth gangs and groups been in Europe since Medieval times. You know how long gangs deh in England robbing, raping and extorting? You had juveniles wha' use to wear colored ribbons like they flag and bare violence them ole criminal deh use to commit. Even the word gang come from a Ole English word 'gan' - meaning 'to go.'"
Bajan chuckles then straighten his face. "Like you ent hear de man say is wunna** come over there wid the gangster mentality and turn White kids Black with patwa and-"
Rudeboy fires, slamming his football boots on the ground. "Yuh see how dem ah fight 'gainst Jamaican and patois, doh? 'Bout false language?"
Spence wags a gun finger in the air. "English false. Is false German and French and it join up wid Scandanavian and Roman."
Rivers of Blood Speech from a man name Enoch Powell . You know who that be? You know wha' dat? Powell was a politician back in the sixties over deh who mek this big speech 'gainst Black people, immigrants from the Caribbean, crying how we soon tek over England. That speech did stir up all kinda anti-immigrant hostilities that nuff British people had inside them anyway. So now, Starkey draw from that speech and apply it to this rioting now."
Trevor chips inna center. "But Dread, look how long immigrant gangs been over deh, long before we. I read somewhere that back in the 1800's you had Irish and Italian immigrants in Liverpool who use to form dey own immigrant gang.You know how we end up over deh in England? Listen man, after World War II mash up Britain, they did need unskilled labour workers fuh rebuild the country. So, is the Common Wealth they turn to and is so nuff a we end up deh. But of course wheresoever you have immigrant communities with immigrants survivin' on low wages, you gon' find poverty an' low-income housing and then people gon' form gangs and turn to crime. You find that back in the days with the Irish and Italians, you find it with the West Indians that went to build up London, you find it fight here in de U.S., right now-pure an' simple."
Bajie claps his hands. "Yes, Comrade. Mr. Socialist. You was a Burnhamite?"
No one even looks at Bajan.
Spence clears his throat.
"And see now, Sparkey saying how this is a Black culture thing. As if gangsterism is Black culture," Spence notes. "When White people do dem hooliganism and organised crime, why they don't call that White gangster culture?"
Dreadie is up pacing now. "Bredren, that is what I woulda really love to know. Since when gang or criminal activity become Black culture? Like if criminal culture is representative of Black people. You have many people, Black and White and Red, who celebrate criminal cultures." Spliff in hand, he unsheathes his locks from the towel and flashes them from side to side. They've all seen him do this hundreds of times. Yet, now each of them notices the strength in the individual strands as if seeing Dreadie's locks for the first time. He bellows:
"You know is a youth get shot and kill by the police mek the whole thing blow up in di first place? They seh he had a gun, but before this is all said an' done, I bet we hear he never had one. Just like Smiley Culture. Yuh notice that when the people dem over deh did protest peacefully like for Smiley, the media coverage wasn't so wagga-wagga?****Eh? No body never pay dem no form ah great attention. Now they looting, the world hearing them now. SCHEEUUPPSS. Then why they shouldn't get on bad? You know how many people police kill over deh an' nothing come outta it. Is like, we over here shoulda rise up bout Michael Stewart back in the day, Diallo, Abner Louima, Sean Bell and countless others. Mek mi waan holla. Like is only then people listen."
The wind shudders through Prospect Park, bristling the leaves steadily.
*Ishence- ganja, in this case
**oonu, wunna - you all
***banna- man, chap, bredren, notes a male
****wagga-wagga -a whole heap, plenty, in abundance