“Twilight in Los Angeles” by Anna Deavere Smith offers insights from people who have lived through the riots in Los Angeles of 1992. Those riots broke out as protest against police brutality. The case of Rodney King was brought to court and the judges ruled that there was indeed violence and use of excess force with a deadly weapon. A year later in 1992, the police on trial were acquitted of the charges against them and riots broke out all over Los Angeles as the African American community were outraged at the decision.
“Twilight LA” is told through many perspectives of individuals who lived through this time. These people may or may not have been involved with the riots, yet they were still affected by them. They tell the stories of themselves, family members, friends, all whom have been affected by the riots. Smith allows the readers to view this event in history from many perspectives and form their own opinions about it.
Personally, I loved how many sides of the story she was able to collect. This was a mutual way for this event to be brought to attention. Everyone in The Los Angeles community was affected. This is a fantastic example of the diversity in California. I think. It also represents why people of different races thinks the way they do. In California there is a lot of stereotyping that goes around that eventually leads to some sort of racism. “Twilight LA” is able to bring a little reason into why and how some people (i.e the Korean Americans) feel about other communities (i.e. the African Americans). One line that stood out for me was from Mrs. Young-Soon Han. She says, “I wish I could live together with eh Blacks, but after the riots there were too much differences. The fire is still there how do you call it? Igni..igniting fire. It's still dere. It canuh burst out anytime” (Smith 249). This offers one person’s perspective on how she was affected by the riots. She did not participate in them but she was definitely a victim of the results. So after what part of the African American community has done to make her think this way, she continues to stand with her opinion on them and cannot really agree they they are a “Los Angeles community.” Another line that stood out comes from Rodney King’s aunt, Angela; she says, “We weren't raised like this. We weren't raised with no black and white thing. We were raised with all kinds of friends: Mexicans, Indians, Blacks, Whites, Chinese. You would never would have known that's something like this would happen to us. And now it's such a shock” (55). This reminds us that California has mostly been a pretty diverse state. People like Angela King acknowledges that there was a time where people did not care about race and that a community is one whole no matter the kinds of people that live in it. She also speaks of being “not raised like this.” This can represent so many things she spoke about in her section. I think. The most important was that this state was not raised to hate so seeing something like police brutality splitting up the diverse community is very disappointing for her. She also says (to her nephew), “Boy, you sure you ain't got some African in you?” (53). She speaks of a time where her and her family are fishing in Sacramento and Rodney is said to be “hunting” the fish and catching them with his bare hands while everyone else are using poles. I think she brings this up to say that they live in a time where people are raised to be “civil” and they don't really things that they primal ancestors would. It shows that not just African Americans, but everyone in the community should have handled this situation in a more civil manner rather than violence and riots. I love how these lines could have been about anyone during those times. It doesn't even apply to just one specific group because everyone during that time was being “wild.” California (especially SoCal/LA) has been pretty known for its diversity, but events like the 1992 riots should be known to see what the state had to go through to get to where it is now. This book really shows a view into what California (LA) was like during that time and the people who live in the community are just as important to the history. This play offers not only offers perspective but background and history to many types of people in the state. The communities were thrown off balance because of one catalyst event. This might have changed the opinions of some people and Anna Deavere Smith was able to showcase all of those perspectives in her book(play).
- Paperback: 265 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Books; 1 edition (1 April 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385473753
- ISBN-13: 978-0385473750
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.2 x 22.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 204 g
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