Juan King, friend of Rodney King, whose merciless injuries triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riotings, shares his legend of homelessness
African American motorist Rodney King was vanquished on the side of the road by four grey Los Angeles police officer in March 1991. A year later, a verdict that cleared members of the bureau of all but a single criminal attack prompted the Los Angeles riots, the most difficult action of civil unrest in the town history.
King became a epitomize of splintered race relations in the US. But there is an untold story, one in which his family exemplifies another unpleasant phenomenon in American life.
A few years before Rodney Kings trouncing, his younger brother, Juan, had taken to alcohol and drugs. His addictions deteriorated when the glare of the media turned on the family. It was a family crisis. And I get depressed, Juan said. He left his mothers residence for good, property on wall street of Santa Monica, Hollywood, Pasadena and Skid Row.
Ive been homeless off and on for 25 years now, he said.
Juan King fits a common profile of a homeless person in 2017: black, male and middle-aged. Minorities namely African Americans and Latinos have constituted a disproportionate share of the nations homeless population for decades . Yet the implications are rarely acknowledged explicitly.
People who work with the homeless see this obvious disproportionality, said Karen Lincoln, an assistant professor and expert in social work at the University of Southern California, but its not something be addressed in plan solutions.
The recently announced results of this years homeless counts in metropolitans such as San Francisco, Seattle and Portland corroborate current trends: people of color are overrepresented. Some 40.4% of “the member states national” homeless population is blacknes, according to the University of Maryland School of Public Health, although African Americans even out precisely 12.5% of the general population.
Life right now is erratic for me, said King. Unfortunately, a lot of people of color are standing worse.
Minorities were simply a sliver of the homelessness population in the early 20 th century. Even in the 50 s and 60 s, the usual homeless person was lily-white, male and in his 50 s, in agreement with the National Coalition for the Homeless.
A shift began in the 1970 s and after, when homelessness started to have appeared in its modern chassis, in the wake of major sections to low income home and mental healthcare resources that affected the poorest communities often minorities most severely. With the onset of the war on doses, prison became a holding pen for drug users and those with psychiatric healths.
The crack cocaine epidemic of the 80 s, meanwhile, wreaked pitch-black and Latino parishes around the country to rock bottom, said Deon Joseph, an LAPD senior lead officer who patrols Skid row in Los Angeles.
Being African American and growing up in the 80 s, I saw how this disproportionate question of crack cocaine devastated communities of dye, Joseph said. Some parties could go get management in Malibu, but black and dark-brown people ended up in prison, and we still examine the effects today.