May 1, 2012, 7:20 pm
Rodney King (photo from Wikipedia)
Twenty years ago this week, riots swept through Los Angeles. Rioters looted stores and then burned them to the ground. Photographers and journalists attempted to capture the mêlée, but some were physically assaulted in the process. South Central and South East Los Angeles were on fire. The vitriol and violence emerged hours after several white police officers were acquitted by an all-white jury in the infamous Rodney King beating case. A year before, Rodney King’s name left an indelible mark on our collective conscious as did the video tape of his brutal beating at the hands of baton-wielding officers.
Indeed there was a sad double consciousness for some blacks—pain and empathy for King while at the same time his beating provided some political expediency…
August 8, 2011, 10:49 pm
Watching video of the London riots, skimming the newspaper commentary and bloggery, I get shivers. Not only because of the awful destruction, not only because the difficulty of establishing facts, not only because everyone is stunned by the sheer scale of the violence, not only because some cops are racist, not only because so many people like thuggery and looting and burning and throwing things at cops—that’s “like” as in “thrill to,” “feel like taking part in,” not as in Facebook “like”—not only because nihilism is as much fun as cruelty and as cruel as it is fun, but because of the vast cloud of incomprehension that surrounds the events—an incomprehension that seems to match Americans’ incomprehension in 1965 (Watts), 1967 (Newark, Detroit)…1992 (L. A.).
At least it’s my impression that now, as then, much of the commentary consists of nothing more than rage, fear, and…