Remembering Rodney King: Racism in America

17 Jun

April 29, 1992 marked a very sad day in American History; it was the day that a jury acquitted four police officers of the brutal beating of Rodney King.  The beating was caught on tape and all of America got to see first hand how the LAPD, as most police departments around the country, target black men.  The acquittal sparked race riots from the West Coast to the East Coast.  I was working on Carol  Moseley Braun’s campaign in Chicago at the time and my hopes of eradicating racism plummeted.

I know there will be those that read this article and respond with: “but he was a criminal,” rather than asking what type of environment did King live in and how black men are disproportionately policed and incarcerated.  Asking those questions would mean having to really look at the issue of Racism-an issue we don’t want to address as a nation.

Now 20 years after the acquittal King has died at the very young age of 47. I fear we have so far to go in addressing issues of race, gender, power, privilege, and all of the intersections of oppression.  When do we as a country become united and stand up against racism, homophobia, and misogyny?

8 Responses to “Remembering Rodney King: Racism in America”

  1. Jani June 17, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Whoa. I just put his book on hold at the library too. So strange and sad.

  2. le artiste boots June 17, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I was shocked. He was just back in the news giving opinions. All death are sad, but he should have had more time.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      My hope is that his legacy will be that we have a great deal more conversations around race, power, and privilege.

  3. Christine Noble June 17, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    In light of Trayvon Martin, Darius Simmons and the fifteen innocent, young, black men killed in between the two incidents, maybe poor Mr. King’s passing will be that final kick in the head, that thing that fans the flames that all those deaths sparked. Maybe we can have a conversation about race in which white people can admit they have benefited from the system as it is while others have suffered, which does not mean we are horrible people, just that we need to own it, and really think about radical changes in the system (rather than, y’know, whine about how affirmative action is “reverse racism.”)

  4. newsofthetimes June 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Wow. I didn’t know. We just saw him interviewed a few months ago. What a life. Thanks for highlighting this important news and this important man.

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