Saturday, April 14, 2007

Race riots: Los Angeles 1992, France 2005, Toronto 20??

Earlier today I a posted an excerpt from a New York Times Magazine article about the French presidential elections. Here's another excerpt worth reading (Battle Over the Banlieues by David Rieff, April 15, 2007)::

It is impossible to understand the French elections of 2007 without first taking the measure of what happened in November 2005, when riots convulsed the French suburbs and shocked the French public. They began in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, after two teenagers from one of the town’s toughest cit├ęs were chased by the police into an electric-power substation and electrocuted, but before long they had spread across much of the country. For many voters, the trauma produced by the conflict — which the conservative writer and TV personality Alain Minc calls “the revolt of 2005” — has never been far from the surface, and last month, when a small riot broke out in the Gare du Nord, the principal terminus of the RER suburban rail network that links Paris with its northern suburbs, the issue once more assumed center stage.

An internal report commissioned by the French prime minister’s office called the 2005 riots “unprecedented in their length, their geographic spread, their economic cost and their political impact, both nationally and internationally.” The only proper comparison, the authors argued, was the rioting in Los Angeles in 1992 after the Rodney King verdict. But, they added, those riots did not spread outside greater Los Angeles and only lasted six days, whereas the French riots lasted almost three weeks.

Read all of David Rieff's article.

When the riots occurred in France people in Toronto asked if something similar could happen here. Some Torontonians had a smug response. They said this kind of violence would never happen here because Canada, unlike France, has a policy of official multiculturalism that makes immigrants feel welcome. However, as Steve Sailer pointed out in this article about four failed approaches to immigration, multiculturalism hasn't worked in Britain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

Count me among those who disagree with the rosy assessment of race relations that says riots won't happen in Toronto. The violence we saw in France could easily happen here, because this city is beginning to develop immigrant ghettos. A good example would be Flemingdon Park where a teenage boy, Omar Wellington, was savagely beaten to death while witnesses watched and did nothing. The City of Toronto has identified 13 troubled neighbourhoods.

There is ethnic tension in Toronto and while it's muted for the moment, it wouldn't take much for it to explode out into the open. One possibility I've pointed out before is a major soccer riot during a World Cup tournament when different ethnic neighbourhoods are aggressively cheering for different foreign teams. My ultimate nightmare scenario would see Canada's national soccer team playing one of the many foreign teams that are popular here. I could easily imagine a group of fans waving the Maple Leaf clashing with another group waving the Italian, Portuguese or Brazilian flag. Maybe it's just as well Canada doesn't have a winning soccer team.

Another possibility is a police shooting leading to violent protests. There is also the chance that a killing like that of Andrew Stewart in East York or Matthew Daly in Burlington will spark outrage leading to riots.

Torontonians are sleepwalking into disaster and it boggles my mind that no one will do anything about it. Are the ethnic vote and cheap labour so important we will let bad immigration policy destroy Toronto?

See also:

Soccer violence. Is Toronto one out-of-control celebration away from a major riot?

Rival Somali and Jamaican girl gangs connected to seizure of .44 Magnum at Thistletown Collegiate

Globe: Visible-minority immigrants "identify less and less" with Canada

Racial violence in Los Angeles - Latinos vs. blacks

Project USA: Business models never predict race wars