Thursday, April 26, 2012

Revisiting the L.A. Riots

The Los Angeles Times has been running some articles on the 20th anniversary of the riots, but I've not posted any of them so far, since the paper's lionizing Rodney King, who deserves none of that, in my opinion. Neon Tommy has some related coverage, "L.A. Riots: Rodney King Reflects On 20th Anniversary." And check the photos at the Times, "Photo sliders: Revisiting flashpoints from L.A. riots, 1992 and 2012."

And see the New York Times, "In Years Since the Riots, a Changed Complexion in South Central":

LOS ANGELES — When racially charged riots blazed here two decades ago, South Central became a national symbol of rage in a poor black neighborhood.

But the population of the area has changed significantly in the time since the acquittal of white police officers in the Rodney King beating inflamed racial tensions across this city.

Today, immigrants from Mexico and Central America live on blocks that generations ago were the only places African-Americans could live. In the former center of black culture in Los Angeles, Spanish is often the only language heard on the streets.

Now, signs for “You buy, we fry” fish markets catering to Southern palates have been replaced by Mexican mariscos and Salvadoran pupuserias. In the historic jazz corridor, where music legends once stayed when they were barred from wealthy white neighborhoods in the city, botanicas sell folk and herbal remedies from Latin America.

In the 1990s, black residents made up roughly half the population in South Central. Today, Latinos account for about two-thirds of the residents in what is now called South Los Angeles — “Central” was officially scrubbed from the neighborhood’s name by the City Council in 2003. In the 20-some square miles that make up the area, stretching southwest of downtown from the Santa Monica Freeway to the Century Freeway and as far west as Inglewood, there are 80,000 fewer blacks than there were in 1990.

“This is a huge, pivotal shift, as important as any other population change or migration we’ve had in the city,” said Raphael J. Sonenshein, the executive director at the Pat Brown Institute at California State University, Los Angeles, who has studied racial politics in Los Angeles for decades. “It affects the African-American community’s sense of self as it sees a geographic core that really matters to people erode. It changes the whole sense of the neighborhood.”
Continue reading.