Just past sundown the kids, the punks, the surf rats swarmed up Main Street in Huntington Beach and decided – well, what the heck – let’s riot.
Shirtless and clad in board shorts, they taunted the police. One guy grabbed a stop sign and plunged it through a bike shop window and then raised his arms as if celebrating a fourth-quarter touchdown. They set fires, smashed a defenseless news rack and tipped over portable toilets, one poor occupant actually spilling onto the street. They tossed traffic cones, wooden beams, hot sauce bottles.
While city officials were left to wring their hands after Sunday’s melee and police continued to hunt for the vandals and looters, the night of violence was given parody treatment elsewhere:
Who are all these white guys, and what can they possibly be so angry about?
In an MSNBC parody, Chris Hayes lamented the criminal element in white culture, concluding that the “white power structure in this country has no clue, no clue how to solve the problems within in the white community.” Pausing, he adds: “How long must we wait for white culture to get it together.”
Gawker columnist Cord Jefferson, weighing in as the African American voice in the parody, suggested the lawlessness might have incubated in lacrosse clubs and Ivy League fraternities were drug use and binge drinking is “normalized behavior.”
Look, Jefferson says, my best friend is white. My mother is white. I took a white girl to the prom. “She was very white actually, used to ride horses …”
“I’m not playing the race card here,” he adds.
An animated look at the “white riots” (warning: vulgarity in subtitle) was rolled out by Next Media Animation, depicting the rioters as white apes jumping around mindlessly, police inadvertently shooting bystanders and even each other, and dozens of shirtless onlookers madly clicking photos as the stop sign sailed through the shop window.
If America’s most notable riots have grown out of social injustice and a festering anger over racial inequities, the parodies suggested that the “white riot” had a root cause too – as in too much surfing, too much sunshine, too much alcohol.
Where’s the white leadership, Jefferson wondered. Where are you, Rush Limbaugh? Where are you, Sean Hannity?
Where are you …. Justin Bieber?
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