“They want us to kill ourselves… the best way you can destroy a people you take their ability to reproduce themselves.” This reflects the opening lines of the movie Boyz ‘n’ the Hood and the death toll concerning African Americans. “One of out of every twenty-one Black males will be murdered in their lifetime…most will die at the hands of another Black male.” The riots in the movie are a cause of one black male seeking revenge from the other. The riots in 1991 are the response to seeking revenge for what happened to Rodney King. Both events are unjustifiable and cannot be called an uprising.
Killing someone regardless of their color, race or ethnicity is inhumane. Rodney King’s beating by the LAPD police officers was and always will be unjustifiable but the riots that followed right after having no justification whatsoever.
Spanish philosopher and humanist Jose Ortega once said, “Revolution is not the uprising against preexisting order, but setting up a new order contradictory to the traditional one.” The fact that racism exists cannot be denied but fighting racism vs. racism can never be the answer. What happened to Rodney King sparked riots all over Los Angeles where fifty-five people were killed and the damages in property loss went up to billions. (Flashback: Rodney King and the LA Riots) Although revenge is a dish best served cold innocent bystanders do not deserve to pay for the mistakes of a few individuals. Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill part one and two both highlight the theme of revenge.
Uma Thurman finally gets her revenge after years of being tortured when she kills Bill and the morning after she is lying on her bathroom floor crying. Revenge may be a dish best served cold but in the end, it can never eradicate the problem, give a person inner happiness or present a solution to society’s problems. To be called an uprising and to bring about a revolution people have to create new systems instead of killing each other.
In the movie Boyz ‘n’ the Hood the dad wants the people in the neighborhood to stop killing each other because “you’re doing exactly what they want you to do, you have to think… about your future.” The father continuously teaches his son to think and stay away from acting like the other boys in the neighborhood. Ricky one of the major characters in the movie dies because of a confrontation at a party with another gang in the neighborhood.
After Ricky’s death, the father explains to his son Tre that he should not go out to seek revenge because that is exactly what the system is designed to do. He tells his son that if he wants to shoot a man he should shoot his dad first and that it is too stupid to lose Tre over a stupid battle. Ricky’s brother Doughboy goes out to avenge his brother’s death and kills the man who shot Ricky. One confrontation at the party leads to a riot that leads to the death of three people: Ricky, the man who called him, and Doughboy.
The entire purpose of the movie is to highlight the idea that a riot will never result in a solution. The father’s message to Tre and everyone else has always been to stop killing each other and pursue a life that is better. With his guidance, Tre is one of the characters that are alive at the end of the movie and goes to college. Although Ricky gets accepted and has a scholarship he dies before he can even embark upon the opportunity. Doughboy dies unhappy and unloved even though he seeks revenge for his brother’s death.
The riots after Rodney King’s beating led to a lot of hate crimes and violence in Los Angeles and other cities in America. The media distorted the video recorded by a bystander and edited out the first few seconds of the video that showed King charging against the police officers. Although the video showed that the white officers beat up Rodney King brutally the people watching failed to realize that Rodney King was resisting arrest. Although what the officers did was unjustifiable and used excessive force the answer to the issue should not have been the death of fifty-five innocent people. The best example that can be drawn to highlight what shouldn’t have been can come from the Second World War.
Jewish people were killed brutally every day and were starved in concentration camps. After the war was over the Nazis were convicted and tried for their crimes there was no uprising from the Jews. If they wanted they could have killed all German people or all the non-Jews in Germany through riots. What needs to be understood is that the action of one person does not reflect the opinions of others. Non-Jews helped out Jews during the Second World War and not every police officer in the LAPD is a racist.
The riots in Boyz ‘n’ the Hood led to the death of three people who might have been able to lead lives and bring about change in society. Instead, their lives ended because of confrontations and revenge-seeking. In the process, family members were hurt, a child was orphaned, and the man died feeling he was unwanted. The uprising caused after Rodney King’s beating should not have happened. More proactive decisions should have been made and a new and revolutionary system should have been created. The riots that led after the acquittal of the police officers cannot be called an uprising.
“Flashback: Rodney King and the LA riots.” BBC NEWS. 2002. BBC. Web.