It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since the beating of Rodney King and the verdict that resulted in the most violent episode of social unrest in U.S. history, which unfolded before our eyes. Maybe I should qualify that to say in modern times, because there are many instances of unrest and riots that, in my opinion, were worst.
Nonetheless, the crime in this case occurred when four white policemen were accused of delivering a vicious beating unto Mr. King, a year before, during a traffic stop. The criminals were acquitted and the city of LA exploded. Lest be mindful that the beating was captured on videotaped and the whole world saw what African Americans have alleged for years.
Since America has been America it has faced challenges as it relates to racial tension that has divided blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, and nearly all non-whites. Is it getting better? I would say no and I would use the current case of Trayvon Martin as an example of the disparity of justice as an example. It has been so bad so long, with respect to racial profiling, it’s hard to see the difference, particularly in many African American communities. Let me add this is not unlike what happens in many African American communities.
I’m sure if we could put ourselves in the shoes of King, now 47, who must continue to live in the shadow of the beating he took from the four cops in 1991. This event fueled an already heated racial tension that existed in Southern California, particularly between the African American community and the Los Angeles Police Department.
To be sure, King is still pained by the incident and his life since has not been easy. He has had several run ins with the law, battled depression, alcohol and drug abuse, as seen on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab in 2008. He made a statement during an interview where he said, “I wouldn’t want to be in black skin, 30, 40, 50 years ago. I wouldn’t want to undergo what they went through.” King went on to say the incident “exposed the LAPD for what it was, and it exposed some of the courts and brought attention to people’s minds to what was so unfair.”
The uprising killed 55 people, destroyed 1,573 businesses and cost $1 billion in the initial three days, eclipsing the damage done in the Watts Riot of 1965. Like Watts, the hardest hit area was South Central, home to much of the city’s African American population. I suppose the only positive to come out of this was that in 1992, 60% of the LAPD was white – now it is 60% minority.
On the other hand there are still the institutional issues as they were in 1992. For instance, the graduation rate, according to most recent Los Angeles Unified School District statistics is 56%, well below the national average of 75%, meaning jobs in California’s increasingly technological and skilled trades-based economy are less accessible to those without at least a high school diploma.
I wanted to mention this huge event because with what may happen in the Trayvon Martin case we may see history repeat itself, as history has been known to do. God forbid Trayvon’s assassin should get off, found not guilty, like the murderers of Emmett Till and as we saw with these cop who beat King nearly to death.
Just saying, and that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
RELIVE HISTORY AND SEE THE INSANITY