A recent study of the controversial, so-called ‘flash mob’ phenomenon, conducted by the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium, suggests that flash mobs are largely triggered by boredom, a lack of resources, and a desire to “provoke older people and make havoc.”
Though the study largely ignores race, high profile critics of flash mobs like Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Maryland Legislator Pat McDonough have explicitely singled out black youth has purveyors of fear and violence through flash mobs.
While most flash mobs are nonviolent, some have turned violent, leading to curfews for young people in cities across the country. KC-AERC surveyed 280 teenagers and focus groups of 50 young people in order to gain a better understanding of the nature of these incidents.
Some of the reasons cited by youth for flash mob participation, according to the report, are to ‘express themselves,’ ‘get attention,’ ‘be remembered’ and to ‘get their name up.’
One of the researchers, Hyunjin Seo of the University of Kansas, told the campus newspaper ‘the majority of flash mobs have been nonviolent, but sometimes they have taken a violent turn, and that’s what concerns cities.’
The KC-AERC report provides recommendations for curtailing violent flash mobs. They include “providing youth with safe and accessible entertainment options, dealing with community and family disorder and violence, and facilitating ‘good’ flash mobs.”
One researcher argued that the driving force behind violent flash mobs is social class; particularly the lack of resources and activities that could provide positive ways for young people to entertain and express themselves.
What are young people trying to tell us through violent flash mobs?
Are black youth being unfairly singled out regarding flash mobs? Are they misunderstood?
Sound off below!