Last night I was just about to put in a Doctor Who DVD when a documentary on Vh1 called Uprising: Hip-Hop and the LA Riots caught my eye. I had seen bits and pieces of news footage of the Rodney King beating and the riots, so I knew about it. However, I never knew the details until last night.
And I’m still processing it.
The documentary takes the viewer behind the news footage and shows footage shot by the people that were there. It’s hard to watch because it’s so brutal. Not just with the graphic violence, but also all of the anger and frustration coming out of the community. After the Rodney King verdict, non-violent resistance was the last thing on their minds!
Now I was only nine years old when the riots happened, and it was all on the opposite side of the country. But I wonder what I would do if something like that happened near me. Would I try to encourage the community to protest nonviolently? What can you say when, instead of beating swords into plowshares, people are sharpening them?
One thing that stood out to me is that, according to the documentary, the media couldn’t understand why the reaction was so violent. I don’t know why, because it seems pretty easy to me: violence begets violence. One party hits another party, then the second party retaliates, and it keeps going back and forth until the end of time. Somebody’s gotta break the cycle, or else we’re gonna blow ourselves up!
Will we ever have another riot like the one in LA twenty years ago? I hope not, but it’s possible. Can we prevent another riot? Perhaps, but it’s going to take a lot for work. Breaking a world-wide violent cycle that’s been going on since the beginning doesn’t just happen overnight! But hopefully someday we can all get along.