Skip to comments.The Watts Riots, Burned Into Memory -- Roger Wilkins replies (or tries) to John McWhorter
Posted on 08/25/2005 2:56:18 PM PDT by nicollo
John McWhorter is right to say that we ought to pause and remember the Watts riots of 40 years ago and ponder their implication for America's present and future ["Burned, Baby, Burned..." FR post here]. I take strong issue, however, with the conclusions he draws from his review of the events in Watts and South Central Los Angeles in 1965.
I think the difference between McWhorter and me arises in large measure from our profoundly different perspectives on the event. He writes that he was born two months after the riots occurred and that his conclusions are based on his research on the subject. Mine are based largely on what I learned when President Lyndon B. Johnson sent me to Watts 40 years ago this month as a part of two federal teams -- one headed by former Florida governor LeRoy Collins and the next by then-deputy attorney general Ramsey Clark -- both charged with helping to end the violence and figuring out what had caused it.
McWhorter dismisses the conventional wisdom that the riots occurred because of the miserable conditions in the bleakest ghettos of what was then America's most glamorous city, and he notes that "the National Urban League had rated Los Angeles the best city in the nation for blacks to live in." That might have been true of Crenshaw or other upscale black neighborhoods, but not of South Central and Watts. In one community meeting I arranged for Collins and two others I set up for Clark, the bitterness and anguish laced through the testimony of poor neighborhood residents were heart-rending and, when they spoke of the city's neglect, just cause for indignation.
The police were brutal; there were no jobs anywhere near the neighborhoods...
---- snip ----
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Wilkins lays the riots to:
The police were brutal; there were no jobs anywhere near the neighborhoods; public transportation was unreliable and inadequate; the schools were atrocious; housing was deteriorating; health care facilities were far away, limited and hard to get to. And worst of all, nobody cared enough to come and listen to their complaints.
Sadly, Prof. Wilkins read McWhorter's words but not his meaning. Of Prof. McWhorter's views on Watts, Wilkins says,
He thinks the energy from that explosion was appropriated by radical reformers lobbying for changes in welfare that ultimately destroyed the moral fiber of poor people and led to the inner-city desolation we experience today.
Yes, Wilkins, that's exactly what he thinks, and you put it so lucidly. But you can't bring yourself to believe it. So sad. Where Wilkins sees so much history in the abuse and sorry condition of American blacks exploding into the Riots, McWhorter sees the proper way out of it -- and that exit denied by the hijackers of the Civil Rights movement.
I was amazed the the (com)Post published McWhorter's article. I see now that, by bringing out the Big Gun, Wilkins, they scared themselves by it.
Good point. Of course, yes. The excuse... well, they'll have to come up with a new one. Could they blame it on God? Nah. Bush's fault...
"...act of God" -- oops, you already answered it. I didn't know about that, thanks.
Any middle-class resident of LA (or anyplace else in the US) who doesn't own firearms, is a fool
What do you suppose is the Korean merchant gun ownership these days...?
Since I don't know many Koreans who are utter fools, I would expect it to be well over 90+%
I have no idea how either McWhorter or Wilkins view Booker T. Maybe someone knows. He set the argument long, long ago.
Pinging folks from the original McWhorter thread.
Nice to see you again. Glad you found this thread of use.
Watts riots made as much sense as self-neutering.
Come to think of it - that is the perfect description of what they did to themselves.
Btw, I have a some great period news articles on Booker T. and W.E.B. (who was amazingly conservative in his early publications). I'm ever fascinated by race and the progressive period. I don't think anyone understands it. I sure don't, although I'm quite certain that no one else does, either, no matter how much they think they do... Here are two fascinating articles by Booker Washington and WEB Du Bois that appeared in the NY Times in 1909, in anticipation of the 50th anniversaries of the Civil War:
Good to see you too! :) You put together a good comparative analysis, Nicollo. I added some keywords.
Your keywords: awesome! "Hot sauce" -- LOL!!!
>>>>Yes, Wilkins, that's exactly what he thinks, and you put it so lucidly.
It's easier to be lucid with the truth than with fiction.
Washington's view was that blacks couldn't indefinitely rely on the whims of whites, either to protect them or to ensure their economic stability. Through education---especially farming and technical education---he thought blacks could become self-sufficient until white society accepted them.
"Rivers of Blood, Years of Darkness" right betwen my Serpico book and the Zodiac Killer book.
Those aren't my specific keywords; but they were on similar threads concerning this topic and thereabouts. BURNBABYBURN -- the hotsauce being marketed by Black Panthers is one of my keywords.
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