The NYT’s “The Lede” column doesn’t say the that the people setting fire to Tottenham, a suburb of London, are black.
Instead, it uses coded language like urban, and what I think is a particularly fine code phrase–“those on London’s margins.” That used to mean tough white Cockneys in cloth caps. Now it means the Third World.
J. DAVID GOODMAN
The authorities in London arrested scores of people late Sunday and early Monday in hopes of heading off further violence after this weekend’s street riots, as evidence emerged suggesting that the unrest had been organized, at least in part, over private online messaging networks.
Many, including the police, looked initially to Twitter and Facebook to find participants and organizers of the violence. But Jonathan Akwue, a media strategist in London, was among the first to write about the possible role BlackBerry Messenger, commonly known as BBM, played in organizing rioters.
As he explained on his blog, there are good reasons the service may have been adopted by those on London’s margins:
BBM as it is known, is an instant messenger system that has become popular for three main reasons: it’s fast (naturally), it’s virtually free, and unlike Twitter or Facebook, it’s private.
BlackBerry recognized the appeal of their products to the urban market and has had a long association with Jay-Z in the States. In the U.K., they recently hosted a “secret gig” in Shoreditch Town Hall featuring Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32 and Devlin.[More]