Riots, theft, vandalism and being middleclass! – Let’s dig deeper

Every well-meaning person must be shocked by some of the incidents that occurred during the recent riot. It is something – (change this word) when looters attack some premises of big corporations like MacDonalds, damaging property and show little respect for staff members who themselves are poor people trying to earn a living, in many cases, earning close to the minimum wage. It is a pity to see shop keepers attacked in a vicious manner. I cannot think of any justification for this sort of action.

I wonder why there are so many disgruntled young people. A recent survey reveals that British young people are some of the least happy in the world. It should not be assumed that this story is completely accurate as there is bound to be an element of subjectivity in the survey; however, perhaps there is an issue to be addressed. Pictures in the media during the riot showed a young man on the floor injured and other young people robbing him whilst pretending to be helping him; very young children looting and vandalising and laughing about it.

During the riot one BBC report mentioned that some of the rioters are middle class, graduate, graphic designers and so on and so forth. The question I want to ask is how many of these people actually lead a life that can be considered to be that of a reasonably comfortable middleclass person?

I am of the opinion that most of these young criminals who vandalise and attack premises and in some cases police officers and members of the public are not people who have been trained in skills that are of a meaningful use to society. However, there is a significant minority who are graduates or who consider themselves to have had training equivalent to that of a graduate. Despite their qualifications, many of these young people do not see themselves as middleclass or even valued by the society as much as they expected. They wonder: after all the qualifications they have got into debt obtaining and laboured hard to acquire; and in many cases, their parents have paid a lot to see them through, why they feel they are second class citizens.

Too many people, parents and students alike, are resentful of the whole education system and the employment market. Their grievances extend the government, commerce, industry and so on. The issue of bankers’ pay, which they perceived as having contributed to the state of the economy and their inability to get a job does not help.

Before they went to university, many of these young people were not well informed about how society functions in relation to employment, social ability and a whole raft of issues. In short, there is a series of incidents which lead them to their current predicament. They were not well advised about the right A level subjects, they study a degree course that is not highly valued by employers at a university that is not highly rated and they end up getting the so called macjobs’ or no job at all. It beggars belief, the number of young people who are taking media studies at university. What is more surprising about this is that many of them, and their parents as well, belief that a Media Studies degree is the qualification they require to work in the media. They fail to try and find out and look at the top media organisations and see how many of the well-known people in these organisations have this sort of qualifications as opposed to an English or History degree.

One must not pretend that there is a guarantee of securing top jobs if they had studied a more recognised degree course and do everything the way employers expect they would have secured a good job. There is a game to be played and playing it right does not guarantee success but it improves one’s chances of being given the opportunity to play a more respectable role in society. There are so many facets to this game of life and one can opt out of some of it and still be successful. This is a huge issue and it is beyond the remit of this article to address them, but I shall aim to go into more detail in future blogs.

Generalising, most of the rioters are a bunch of thieves and opportunists and the prison is where they belong; however, for many it is their way of expressing the frustration they feel about the society they live in. As most parents know, we should not expect politicians and leaders of big institutions to be honest about most key issues and to provide solutions to all the underlying problems that lead to the riot. Parents being well informed and doing their best to guide these young people though the labyrinth of life will go a long way in improving young people’s prospects for the future. For a parent to assist their child in being well qualified is important but it is also just the beginning.

In the next few blogs, I will be attempting to look deeper into why young people who are not from the so-called indigenous background often feel excluded, despite being highly qualified. The discussion will be very frank and honest and questions that are often avoided will be tackled head on!

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