Riots are usually not something that happens without cause or happens randomly. Riots happen when groups of people are not able to let their voice be heard and or feel strongly about something and are unable to make a change. Though class readings and current events, it appears that rioters are taking their anger and frustrations out on the easiest form of power that has angered them. However the power may not be the ones that have actually let them down. The book Race, Space and Riots in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and the recent Baltimore riot, appear to follow after the government at the local, state and/or national level have let the people rioting down. The anger may be directed at the police but it is only after several or many instances that have occurred and the government did not step and make the change that the people wanted but could not make on their own. Abu-Lughod brings up some ideas to why other riots have happened and it can be used to look at the Baltimore riot of 2015.
The book Race, Space and Riots in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, highlighted many race riots that took place before 2000’s and discussed the causes. The author, Abu-Lughod, did write about how the riots post 1970’s seemed to have a better understanding of what they wanted the outcomes to be and how they should go about fixing the problems (Abu-Lughod, 2007). The riots the book highlighted do not seem to have that path clear like the Baltimore riot. In the case of the Chicago riots, the riots appeared to be against African Americans, however, it did not appear to all stem from an isolated act but many acts put together and the government either causing the problem or not stepping up and fixing the problem. The very recent Baltimore riot had a similar feel and motivation behind it.
In spring of 2015 Baltimore, Maryland experienced a riot, which was a reaction to police violence that had occurred. People were angry with the police but also the state that failed to protect them by allowing local police to treat their citizens unjustly. The people had nowhere to turn because the people who were supposed to protect them were the ones that were hurting them. There was a strong sense of feeling powerless. While it appears that the Baltimore riot had a clearer message and reasoning behind it; it is still a little fuzzy to exactly what the rioters wanted the outcome to be. It appears that the rioters wanted justice for Freddy Grey however the readings appear to make it seem like they wanted more than just justice for one individual (Lynch, 2015). They wanted the unfair treatment to stop entirely and were just fed up in general.
The powerless feeling can be seen even through the media portal of the riots. An article my CNN, shows the tweets by the Baltimore Police stating that they are doing everything they can to put out the riots (Vega 2015). While the riot was violent however there was little to no appearance that the police were trying to understand the anger and working with the people (Vega, 2015). Violence should never be justified however the people probably felt they had to check the police officers because the government was/is not.
Using the book Race, Space and Riots in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles to understand and look at riots pre 2000, it was possible to examine the recent riot in Baltimore Maryland. The riot in Baltimore looked different on the surface than the riots in Chicago that the author writes about however the in-depth reasoning behind them were very similar. There was a strong sense of lack of power and inability to make a change without making a lot of noise.
Abu-Lughod, Janet L. Race, Space, And Riots In Chicago, New York, And Los Angeles. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2007. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 6 Nov. 2015.
Lynch, Dennis. Baltimore Riots 2015: Freddie Gray Slammed Head Into Police Van, Causing
Fatal Injury, Report Says. April 30, 2015.
Vega ,Tanzina. How Baltimore police, protesters battle on Twitter. Tue April 28, 2015.