Cashing Checks: The Death of Rodney King, and Ironic Racism

Warning! Christine gets her angry on!

Twenty years go by so fast, you don’t even see it. It seems like just yesterday I was watching Rodney King, saddened by both the verdict that came down letting his assailants of the hook and by the response to it looked around at the reporters surrounding him and asked “why can’t we all just get along?” 

Of course comedians would have their fun with the phrase. Such a silly and simple phrase is it not? Such a sad little plea too. Does he not look ridiculous, this poor man, this three-time loser pretending to be some sort of community leader? Not that he was actually doing that, but the accusations were fairly well implied as if that somehow made it okay to mock this man who had already been through so much. At least, though, America was finally having a real talk about race, right?

No, I’m just joking. Why, just two years later I could sit in a diner after the OJ verdict and hear complaints of “when are we going to stop paying for Rodney King?” Really. Because, of course, OJ’s acquittal had nothing to do sloppy prosecution or the fact that he was rich and famous. No, that jury was looking for pay back and how better to get at white people than to let some black fella get away with killing one of them.

Now Mr. King has passed on, and right on cue, you get the horribly racist jokes. The crack comments and others that somehow in their tiny brains these people think somehow justify this man being savagely beaten. You get the “hip,” young, white men that think they are so daring by challenging this cruel system of “reverse racism” that expects them to actually think about how they started this merry-go-round of life with their hand placed on the brass ring for them. I am sorry, I just cannot be nice about it any longer.

I cannot live the “turn the other” cheek message that I was raised with. These little punks that think they are cute or clever by repeating, whether they actually believe it or not, the sort of comments you would hear out of the mouth of some seventy year old Grand Cyclops piss me off. I am so glad you (yeah, you know who I am talking too) are amusing yourselves on the bones of a beaten man. How brave! How bold! How utterly banal and ultimately uninteresting this would be if not for the fact that it is so gut-wrenchingly offensive. Not thought-provoking, just nauseating. There is no lesson to be learned from your  comments beyond the fact that you are a pampered little brat who wants to push back against any proof that you are pampered. What’s that you say? Life didn’t turn out the way you wanted? Fuck you! Life didn’t start they way any PoC would want it for them.

I know you won’t shut up. You are far to busy being pleased with yourself, but maybe one or two of your friends will read this and next time you say something stupid like “was he bobbing for watermelons,” rather than say nothing or mumble an awkward “dude, not cool,” they will think about just how obnoxious and crass you are and say “hey, you know what? You’re a fucking asshole!” Call me a dreamer.

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