The LA Riots were about police brutality, racial injustice, and the Haves versus the Have Nots. Black people – and Latinos – were tired of being treated like second class citizens, tired of Korean store merchants, most of whom were immigrants who didn’t speak fluent English, looking down their flat noses at them, tired of the racism they perceived – and rightly so – from the Los Angeles Police Dept. Rodney King’s famous words, “Can’t we all get along?” went in through one ear and out the other of the thousands of vengeful, angry Blacks and even Hispanics of South Central. Far too many used the uprising as an opportunity to loot, such as what sadly happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.
Another unfortunate issue that arose from the ashes of the tumult was the blame game. Media was quick to point out that the attack on Korean businesses was a Black-Asian problem, But the riots actually began as a Black-White issue, which apparently Whites were trying to downplay in an effort to shift the focus off of the part Whites played in the reasons why the whole mess started in the first place. The riots were not a Black-Korean issue, Black-Hispanic issue, or Hispanic-Korean issue. It was a Black-White issue that escalated from the savagery enacted upon a helpless unarmed Black man who was very intoxicated, by several thick-necked cops bearing Mace, clubs, and guns. King was damned lucky they didn’t kill him.
Due to their low social status and language barrier, Korean Americans received very little if any aid or protection from police authorities. David Joo, a manager of the gun store, said, “I want to LAPD ran away in half a second. I never saw such a fast escape. I was pretty disappointed.” Carl Rhyu, a participant in the Korean immigrants’ armed response to the rioting, said, “If it was your own business and your own property, would you be willing to trust it to someone else? We are glad the make it clear that we didn’t open fire first. At that time, four police cars were there. Somebody started to shoot at us. The National Guard is here. They’re good backup. But when our shops were burning we called the police every five minutes; no response.” At a shopping center several miles north of Koreatown, Jay Rhee, who estimated that he and others fired five hundred shots into the ground and air, said, “We have lost our faith in the police. Where were you when we needed you?”.Koreatown was isolated from South Central Los Angeles, yet despite such exclusion it was the heaviest hit.
Some Koreans formed armed self-defense groups following the 1992 riots. Speaking just prior to the 1993 verdict, Mr. Yong Kim, leader of the Korea Young Adult Team of Los Angeles, which purchased five AK-47s, stated, “We made a mistake last year. This time we won’t. I don’t know why Koreans are always a special target for African-Americans, but if they are going to attack our community then we are going to pay them back.” – Wikipedia
Many Hispanics were not even aware of the Rodney King case but still participated in the chaos surrounding them. Other Hispanics participated in the violence because they felt the same racial and economic conditions that blacks felt as well as the unfair treatment by the LAPD and LASD throughout the years.
Gloria Alvarez claims the riots did not create social distance between Hispanics and blacks, but rather united them. Although the riots were perceived in different aspects, Alvarez argues it brought a greater sense of understanding between Hispanics and blacks. Even though Hispanics now heavily populate the area that was once predominantly black, such transition has improved over time. The building of a stronger and more understanding community could help to prevent social chaos arising between the two groups. Hate crimes and widespread violence between the two groups continue to be a problem in the L.A. area, however. – Wikipedia
The African-American Congressional representative of South Central Los Angeles, Democrat Maxine Waters, said that the events in L.A. constituted a “rebellion” or “insurrection” caused by the underlying reality of poverty and despair existing in the inner city. This state of affairs, she asserted, were brought about by a government which had all but abandoned the poor through the loss of local jobs and by the institutional discrimination encountered by people of racial minorities, especially at the hands of the police and financial institutions.
Conversely, President Bush argued that the unrest was “purely criminal”. Though he acknowledged that the King verdicts were plainly unjust, he maintained that “we simply cannot condone violence as a way of changing the system … Mob brutality, the total loss of respect for human life was sickeningly sad … What we saw last night and the night before in Los Angeles is not about civil rights. It’s not about the great cause of equality that all Americans must uphold. It’s not a message of protest. It’s been the brutality of a mob, pure and simple.”
Vice President Dan Quayle blamed the violence on a “Poverty of Values” – “I believe the lawless social anarchy which we saw is directly related to the breakdown of family structure, personal responsibility and social order in too many areas of our society” Similarly, the White House Press Secretary, Marlin Fitzwater, alleged that “many of the root problems that have resulted in inner city difficulties were started in the ’60s and ’70s and … they have failed … [N]ow we are paying the price.”
Writers for former Congressman Ron Paul framed the riots in similar terms in the June 1992 edition of the Ron Paul Political Newsletter, billed as a special issue focusing on “racial terrorism.” “Order was only restored in LA”, the newsletter read, “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began…What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided.“ – Wikipedia
Blacks were not the only Americans involved in the riots, but like when anything of a negative nature occurs in this country, we are the first blamed – sometimes the only ones blamed. This is like what Hans-Jurgen Massaquoi’s mother told him when he was biracial child growing up in Nazi Germany: if you and your friends so something bad, the only one they’ll remember is you. That Welfare jab is what Whites always say even though there has always been far more of them on public assistance than us. Even fat slob Rush Limbaugh admitted that to be true on his TV show back in the 1990s. Such states as West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, among others, have a lot of lazy rednecks living off of the system they love to claim that Blacks and Hispanics use to death. To this day, these stereotypes exist and won’t ever go away I believe. We haven’t learnt shit from the riots or else there would never have been a need to start a Black Lives Matter Movement.