Saturday, April 28, 2012
Los Angeles Riots
Those are some policemen that were eating dinner in a taco joint last night where I sat reading and eating shrimp tacos while Henry was at baseball practice. There was a white guy who looked like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver, a Korean guy, an Hispanic guy and someone whose ethnic identity was difficult to ascertain. I pretended to be reading something on my phone because I'm sort of afraid of cops in Los Angeles, but I took their picture. Yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, a terrifically awful day to remember but maybe it's a good thing. Our radio waves were filled with talk about it, and I heard black poets and Korean businessmen talk about the day; I heard Rodney King -- why can't we all get along -- himself reminisce about the routine beating that turned the city into a bonfire. I wasn't living in Los Angeles in 1992, but I have friends who stood on their rooftops in the Hollywood Hills with hoses, anticipating the sparks that might burn it all down. I'm not sure what has changed in the two decades since those horrible four days -- my own kids go to school in the middle of Koreatown where most of the rioting occurred, and as white boys, are nearly minorities now among their Korean, Asian and Hispanic classmates. They don't bat an eye, as the saying goes, about that. I yearn, sometimes, for a simpler life -- somewhere outside of this vast and busy, expensive city -- and then I feel grateful to be in the middle of it, making history in our own small way.