Haven’t seen another thread on this… Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary(!) of the start of the 1992 LA riots. Hard to believe it’s been so long. What are your memories of that event? Thoughts on its legacy/repercussions? (Mods, if this takes a Great Debates turn, move at will.)
Personal memory: I was in 6th or 7th grade, living on a US base in Germany. My teacher passed around a student magazine (“Weekly Reader” or some such) with a cover photo of LA in flames, and we discussed the Rodney King beating and the riots in some age-appropriate manner. I was shocked. It seemed so ugly and violent. Up to then I desperately wanted to move back to the States, but reading about what was going on back home and comparing it to what I saw in peaceful, beautiful Germany…well, I vividly remember it occurring to me that maybe Germany is better.
I was in high school. There was a lot of tension that day and a lot of discussion over everyone’s mutual disgust at the verdict. Not a whole lot of discussion about anyone’s disgust with the rioters though.
I was a kid and was living in South Central at the time. My neighborhood was on fire for days, and some of the businesses that were burned down never returned. We had empty lots that sat there for years, before something else eventually was brave enough to replace it. It was a clusterfuck then and sure as shit doesn’t make any sense to me now.
I was bused to school, but buses were with good reason halted for quite some time, so I missed school. I had a pretty good reason, though. “Sorry, teach, couldn’t make it to class. My entire neighborhood was engulfed in a fiery race war.”
I recall it well.
Was working on Wilshire Blvd and reports were coming in of riots - we looked out onto the street and saw cars jammed on the street and crazies running around.
They sent us all home - I think it was about 2:00 or 3:00 PM.
Bumper to bumper, even on the side streets.
People were crashing into other cars and not even stopping to share insurance info, etc.
In front of me, four black guys took baseball bats and ruined the car of the white driver - I guess they looked at my old heap and just moved down the line, smashing other cars as they walked along.
What was normally a 15-20 minute drive home took me over two hours.
One sort of funny story about those days:
Living in very Gay West Hollywood, our local grocery store was Mayfair. We walked down to stock up on supplies. People had shopping carts that were quite literally overflowing and stuff falling out of the top. Shelves were quickly emptying and my SO and I got what we could - bread, milk, water, cereal, soup, etc.
From the back of the store I hear one super queen screech to his boyfriend, “Oh my god, they’re out of brie!”
I guess everyone has their limit when it comes to crisis, but we just burst out laughing. From then on, for us it became not the Rodney King Riot, but The Day the Brie Ran Out.
I don’t live close to downtown so I just planted my ass in front of the TV and watched for days. Scary thing to witness for a junior high kid. I don’t remember anything else except shock at the verdict and then riots that seemed to last forever.