Rants & Raves: When Ish Ain't Changed (Our Reaction to #LA92)

It's a shame to feel that in 2017 nothing has change and no progress has been made.

I know you're like "what the hell is she talking about now".

Trust me, my angry rant has a purpose.

This past Saturday we were lucky enough to have attended the press viewing of LA92, a new documentary by National Geographic that takes a raw look into the events leading up to the LA Riots of 1992.

For myself, this was something that I needed to see, because I wasn't conscious enough to have an opinion or witness what went on during the Rodney King beating or the LA Riots, I wasn't even 1 years old when the riots happened and with what happened in my hometown of Saint Louis with Mike Brown, I needed to see raw evidence of a similar situation.  For me, this has helped me understand the chaos, destruction, and anger of my people.

The documentary starts by giving snippets from the 1965 Watts Riots, one of the most pivotal times during the Civil Rights and in the same city where the Rodney King riots would take place just a mere 27 years later.

From there, the film moves forward focusing on Rodney King and it instantly just pissed me the fuck off.  From the beating and tasing (over 56 times I should mention) which resulted in him looking unrecognizable, to the fact that many tried to bring up his criminal past in order to justify the beating, my head was hurting from all of the rage I felt. But my question is...how is any of that related when this was simply a traffic violation?

The documentary also features the Latasha Harlins case which I had nooooooooo idea about (they don't teach you this shit in school).  Latasha Harlins was shot in the back of the head for being accused of stealing a bottle of orange juice and her shooter, wife of the owner of the store where the incident happened was given community service and probation because the judge felt she wasn't a criminal (I thought judge's weren't supposed to put their personal feelings into verdicts?).  Mind you, the video footage shows Latasha with money in her hand to pay for the juice, and when she was shot, her back was facing her murderer (yes murderer), not during an attempt to steal juice or anything else from the store.


From these two situations, more so from the outcome of both trials where the officers were found not guilty and the store clerk was not given a proper sentence for her crime, the LA Riots of 1992 broke out.  58 people dead, over 2,000 injured, and over $1 billion in property damage resulted from these riots.  You think Ferguson or Baltimore was bad?  Please, those riots weren't SHIT compared to LA.


What I loved most about this documentary was that film makers Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (above) purposely did not add any commentary to the documentary.  The fact is, anything that you saw was pure, raw, archived footage.  There wasn't a black person, white person, democrat, or republican giving their commentary.  My thing is, you can dispute, argue, and disagree with commentary because at the end of the day, it's opinion.  It's hard as hell to dispute raw footage of Rodney King's beating, Latasha Harlin's shooting, reactions from everyone involved.  If you attempt to, it just shows your pure dismissal and more so denial of not only what happened, but what happens on a daily basis for many black men, women, and children and most of all, that racism is still alive, well, and trying to kick our asses.

Here are 3 things I want you to take away from this opinion piece and from the documentary:

First, as a black person who does not condone looting or violence, this documentary has shown me that I cannot dismiss or take another black person's truth away from them when it comes to the anger they feel in these situations.  I can't tell anyone how to channel that anger, especially when they sit and see the justice system fail us over and over again, when they see peaceful protests fail, when they see everything we're taught to do to avoid violence fail.  I'm not saying I'm going to be the one to yell go burn down the stores and kill the white people, but....what are we to do, what else are we to do, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE WE CAN DO?!

Second, a young lady in the audience brought up a very good point on how we keep asking ourselves "how can we fix this system that keeps failing us" when we don't realize this system wasn't meant to serve us in the first place.  When this land was founded (really stolen) we weren't included in the phrase "all men were created equal".  If that's the case we wouldn't have been brought here on slave ships to become a resource and a source of income and barter.  If that was the case we wouldn't have fought for all of these years for our basic human rights, self respect, and dignity once someone finally realized we couldn't be enslaved anymore.  If this was REALLY the case, we wouldn't keep getting murdered by those who are "supposed" to protect us.  This land and the justice system was built on productivity and weeding out those who went against that mantra.  More so those founders already had it set that we weren't productive citizens of this society, so, their idea to fix that was and is still for us to kill off each other, and then they lock the rest of us up to work in the prisons and pump money back into their economy.  The fact is, when you go to prison you work for a few cents a day, but if you think about it, a few cents times tens of thousands of inmates equals a lot of money into the economy for little investment into housing and feeding these inmates.  And considering we as black people make up as much as 37% of the prison population, their plan is working wonders.

Third and probably the most important, another young lady posed the question "Why do we as black people keep having to have these conversations or be the ones responsible for starting the conversations on why this keeps happening to us?  Why aren't white people taking the initiative to ask themselves and their fellow peers why they hate black people so much and what about us is it that makes them want to do horrible things to us? It shouldn't be our responsibility".  First off when I tell you she gave me ALL my life with her opinion.  And...she's right.  I look at the relationship between white and black people as an abusive one that hasn't realized they need to go to couples counseling. White people have taken everything from us, whether that's our lives, or have stripped us of what makes us uniquely black, committed cultural appropriation, and tried to make a dollar with no credit to us.  We're the battered girlfriend who's boyfriend keeps beating the shit out of us but we're told we have to stop doing what we're doing so it doesn't happen again.  But the thing is, even when we conform and act as white as possible, we're still stereotyped and gunned down.


If you haven't watched this documentary I need you to, no matter if you're white, black, Hispanic, Asian, alien, whatever, WATCH THIS!

Then after, have an open dialogue with your peers and be real about how you feel, because you're going to want to talk once you see this film.

Be sure to check out my reaction video below and sound off!