Reading Rodney King/reading Urban Uprising
Like many "news events, " the Rodney King incidents - the beating, the trial, and the uprisings that followed - have so far played a superficial role in public dialogue. Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising deepens the public debate by exploring the connections between the incidents and the ordinary workings of cultural, political, and economic power in contemporary America. Its recurrent theme is the continuing though complicated significance of race in American society. The Rodney King incidents raised a number of questions regarding the relationships between poverty, racial ideology, economic competition, and the exercise of political power. What is the relationship between the beating of Rodney King and the workings of racism in America? How was it possible for defense attorneys to convince a jury that the videotape it saw did not depict an excessive or unjustified use of violence? In the burning of Koreatown, what role did racial stereotypes of African Americans and Korean Americans play, and what role did various economic factors play? What, moreover, is the significance of the fact that the L.A. police department, when it responded to the uprising, sent its officers to Westwood but not Koreatown? And how, finally, are we to understand the fact that not all of Los Angeles' various Latino communities took part in the uprising? Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising comprises essays by prominent philosophers, social scientists, literary critics and legal scholars. They explore the issues from a variety of theoretical perspectives, offering a nuanced picture of the Rodney King events. Avoiding reductionism, they illuminate the complex interplay of ideological, political andeconomic forces impinging on urban America. With America's black, Latino, and Asian populations continuing to grow, the issue of race has come to dominate political debates on public policy and educational struggles over multicultural curricula. Expressing cynicism with "politics
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