This weekend marks the 20th anniversy of the Los Angeles Riots, the uprising that exploded across the city after the officers accused of beating Rodney King were aquitted on all charges. Back then, tensions in the city had been buiding for years, as run-ins with the police were commonplace and racial tensions, especially following the slaying of Latasha Harlins by a Korean storeowner, were reaching a fevered pitch.

While many are spending this week in reflection about the events that led up to the riots, others are asking themselves if it could happen again.

Last summer, London errupted in days of looting and violence after police shot Mark Duggan during a traffic stop in Tottenham. Although many blamed the rioting on youth attempting to capitalize on a divisive event, others said it exposed discriminatory practices that left many working-class youth feeling marginalized.

Despite very real problems that continue to persist here in the U.S., when a friend of mine asked me whether or not I though another riot was possible, I wasn’t sure.

Times have changed, and unlike April 29, 1992, people now have an outlet for their frustrations. Social media has given many a platform to air out their grievances to the world in a way that doesn’t include violence. But if used incorrectly, it can also literally and figurative stoke the flames.

In the weeks leading up to George Zimmerman’s arrest for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, I felt our country was on the verge of race-based violence. The tension was mounting, racist rhetoric was ratcheting up, and people’s emotions were running high. But after Zimmerman’s arrest, things seemed to simmer down as the wheels of justice slowly began to turn. But if Zimmerman is never held accountable for killing Trayvon Martin, I wonder if that will spark the type of outrage that led many into the streets of Los Angeles 20 years ago.

But what do you think; 20 years after the L.A. riots, do you think it can happen again? 

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  • Eve

    I definitely believe riots like that can happen again today. I don’t believe that things are much better for blacks today than they were during the LA riots. How many young black men have been unjustifiably killed by the NYPD? The NYPD has a sytem of racial profling. The criminal justice system is tougher on alleged black criminals than whites. Crimes against blacks are not given the same level of seriousness as crimes against whites. One of the reasons Trayvon Martin case came to light is because black residents in Sanford were fed up with the police’s failure to investigate crimes against blacks. When enough people are tired of the b***s*** you get riots.

  • Yes.

    The Trayvon Martin case would be the issue if Zimmerman does indeed go to trial. Racial tension in this country is hot. It’s a tinder box ready to explode all over unsuspecting cities where the Black minority citizenry is fed up, frustrated and can show no better way but by burning everything to the ground.

    it is hoped that we won’t burn our own neighborhoods or disadvantage ourselves but rage has no reason.

    • Dalili


  • H

    Sure it could happen again. I hope that it doesn’t because most of the people who do the rioting are just rioting to destroy and steal. Look at the LA riots. Many of of the people who were hurt and the store owners who were affected were black. Riots only reinforce the stereotype that we are violent savages. White people didn’t riot after the Casey Anthony verdict. They didn’t riot after OJ Simpson was set free. They didn’t riot when the Lockerbie bomber went back to Libya. Things don’t work out sometimes. You don’t throw a temper tantrum. The people in Sanford were doing just fine with their peaceful protests. You always have some idiots that want to destroy things.

    I don’t know why black people go on and on about a race war. Do you understand that we only make up about 13% of the population in America? We are a disadvantaged group that does not really have any power or military training. If there were a race war, African Americans would be wiped out. I wish the Black Panthers and others would stop saying stuff that could lead to a lot of people black, white, and whatever else being hurt.

    Stealing and looting is not justice for anyone. Riots are just an excuse for lawlessness.

  • Dee

    It shouldn’t happen again. Something like that would play right into the hands of the white supremacists who scream race war every time black people protest an injustice. The best thing to happen would be to not have any sort of riot activity, it only damages our communities anyhow…what point is there to destroying your own toys to get even with a bully?

  • Nigerian sista

    It was a shock when the London riots happen last year August because the killing of a young black man by the police. The riots actually spread to other cities, so anything can happen. Lets pray it doesn’t, as someone says , its the poorer communities that suffer the most.