Listeners posted some incisive comments this afternoon about the 1992 Los Angeles riots and how the city has changed - or hasn't - on a related segment page for KPCC's Patt Morrisson Show. One of the guests was Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, which today released a survey of Angelenos' attitudes twenty years later and whether or not such an upheaval could happen again in the near future.
The LMU survey addressed, among other things, race relations. While a general majority was optimistic that relations had improved, attitudes about this and other issues, including public safety, varied quite a bit depending on the race and ethnicity of the respondents.
The comments today varied, too, some along similar lines. What a few people posted:
My two sons left Los Angeles to live on the east coast twenty-five years ago because they were tired of being pulled over and detained at the bus stop by LAPD. They have not experienced this where they now live. Now I, being left alone here and a widow, have to plan to move there. I don't see any difference in how the police treat young Black men to date.
I am a white 34-year old female living in a very mixed area - both ethnically (primarily black, but also lots of white, Latino, & Asian residents), & age-wise. Everyone is respectful of each other, they stop and chat on the street, interact often, & generally behave as a close neighborhood. I love the area (Altadena) for that very reason.
And Jyu young Lee wrote:
As a Korean American, here's what I think:
Race relations have not made any significant improvements; things have merely subsided and the Korean community has quietly accepted their fates as a push-over to those that bang their drums louder.
I don't see other cultures understand the Korean culture any more than they did back then. I don't see any broader acceptance, rather I see passive-ignorance.
A separate thought:
The LA Riots was just one major-Minority ransacking a minor-Minority. In the end, the White-America just sat back, watching the minorities tear themselves apart.
To which Dg responded:
What could White-America have done? Most of us were disgusted that police allowed lawlessness to endanger lives and property. We all watched the truck drivers beatings via helicopter news cams----were there no police copters to intervene? But I don't see that as White-America's indifference.
Expect this conversation to continue throughout the month online and on air, and in a live public discussion tonight, when KPCC hosts a community forum on the legacy of an event that has woven its way into the very definition of Los Angeles, for better or worse.