Still Running From Rodney King

June 18, 2012 | Salon |

“People look at me like I should have been like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks,” Rodney King told to the Los Angeles Times this year. “But it’s hard to live up to some people’s expectations.”

King’s brutal beating by police officers, and the riots provoked when white officers were acquitted of charges, provoked dramatic reform at the LAPD. It spawned a still urgent debate about racial profiling and police brutality. But what King, who passed away Sunday, also symbolizes, tacitly to conservative white people, is a seemingly endless loop of black pathology.

Can’t they just get it together?

What a dramatic image.  After the 1992 riots, you could see a fleet of U-Haul trucks barreling north out of Los Angeles for whiter pastures.  A white exodus vacated Southern California. In 1993, 11,212 people fled California for Idaho alone. The one-way truck rentals from California to Idaho were so overwhelming that year, U-Haul had to pay people to drive trucks back empty. Rodney King, and the riots his case spawned, helped provoke White Flight 3.0 – or the Californication of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Colorado. LAPD officers themselves helped popularize those destinations to other white migrants out of Southern California.