This is the second summer in which “flash mobs” are sweeping big cities throughout the United States. If you haven’t heard of flash mobs or know what they are, it can only be hoped that the rock you’ve been living under is comfortable for you. Then again, if you live in a big city, the safest place to be right now might be under a rock.
Flash mobs were originally an innocent gathering of people who suddenly appear in one place. While at a gathering, the group of people would often do something odd, and then they would depart – going their separate ways. The first flash mob was one of these innocent events that occurred in Manhattan, New York City in 2003. It was nothing more than an experiment to see if it would work. Using social media on the Internet, it was announced that persons should gather at a given place, do whatever it was that they were told to do, and then disperse.
The idea was a huge success and showed the power of the Internet’s social media. The original idea was never meant to be more than an experiment, something to make interesting trivia one day, and fade away as other regional fads have done through the years.
However, the flash mobs never faded away. Nine years later, they are very much alive but have changed tremendously in meaning and purpose. No longer is it simply a fun thing for bored social media networkers to participate in, but now it is the means for a variety of other purposes – most often crime.
By the summer of 2011, flash mobs were making big city and national headlines for their criminal aspects – and the same has continued in the summer of 2012. Via social networking, crowds of youth coordinate to show up to a location and very often do something extremely harmful and illegal. No longer is participating in a flash mob simply a teenage or young adult pastime for the bored, but a mission with criminal intent.
Though the general news stories regarding the flash mobs have told the masses that such events have happened throughout the country, most notably in the nation’s most populated cities, the news stories are purposely leaving out disturbing details. The details which are omitted all too often are the telling of who has been committing these flash mob attacks and who they are being committed upon.
Ironically, due to social media, YouTube videos are blatantly showing the part of the flash mob story that the media has – for one reason or another – chosen to ignore. It’s clear in the numerous flash mobs throughout the country that many of the attacks are one race against another.
In 2012, the term flash mob has become synonymous with the antiquated phrase “race riots”. The biggest difference between a flash mob and a race riot is turning out to be that flash mobs are labeled as such to cover up what they really are and the term race riot from the past admitted that attacks were between two or more races.
Has America become so “politically correct” that it won’t even call a race riot what it is anymore?
The most highly publicized flash mob occurrences in the recent past have happened in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, and Norfolk. There are many others as well, but these are the locations where videos have surfaced and thereby given their occurrences credibility. Video proof erases the possibility of one saying that the story is false and the story was created to incite racism. If something happens on unedited video, it happened.
The videos with the multi-media comments attached by witnesses to the flash mobs make it clear that the flash mob participants are more often than not of one race and that they are attacking people of another race – often suggested by the locations chosen for the mob attacks.
Though not exclusively, the attacks are quite often young African-American teens attacking non-African-American people. The media purposefully and blatantly omits the obvious racial part of these stories. There is absolutely no benefit to society when the media stops short of calling a flash mob attack the race riot it is.
Cities and other communities need to quit watering-down these stories and deleting disturbing details because it equates to lying to the public. Race rioting is going on again in the United States as it has in decades past, and the public at-large needs to be informed of it. Protecting a community’s image or a segment of society’s image should not override the public’s need to know and need to be protected.
The media, the politicians, and the bulk of the commentators on social issues need to quit being afraid of people like the Rev. Al Sharpton on the left and Rush Limbaugh on the right. They need to be unconcerned if they are going to make a place look as bad as it is. They need to be unconcerned if they are going to make a group of people engaged in a flash mob attack look as bad as their actions are. If a story is about race, it must be reported as a racial story for the good of the people who could easily be subjected to the next flash mob attack.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.