Anaheim Protests/Police Violence: Two Americas

[Content Note: Police brutality; shooting; violence.]

There have been protests in Anaheim, California, all week, following two separate police shootings over the weekend that left two Latino men dead. The FBI has agreed to review the shootings. As the rioting has continued, tensions with police have escalated, and there has been some property damage and lots of arrests. More protests are scheduled.

I've been following this story, although I've not written about it because, for one, I'm on a serious shortage of spoons at the moment, but mostly because I was sort of waiting to see what the national coverage would be like, not figuring it would be essentially nonexistent.

But it is.

Part of that is because the media is still very focused on the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and Maude forbid we focus on two whole stories at once. And part of it is the usual racism: We routinely fail in the US to give attention to the ongoing problem of state-sponsored police brutality and murder of people of color.

I also suspect, rather cynically, that there is no small urge among our national corporate media to downplay evidence of class-based unrest across the US. The situation in Anaheim is not merely one of police vs. people, or white supremacy vs. Latino communities, but also one of the Haves vs. the Have-Nots.

Anaheim could hardly be a town more symbolic of the increasing class divide in the US, with Disneyland ("the happiest place on earth!"), populated by rich tourists, taking up one part of town, and extremely poor communities with high unemployment taking up another. Desperate residents of Anaheim who long for the ability to provide stable lives for themselves can watch from the front porches a parade of privilege, just out of their reach.

How can that not take a toll?

As the city blows up, its evident suitability as an emblem for the nation at large cannot be missed. It can, however, be ignored by a media whose wealthy private owners would certainly prefer not to broadcast encouragements to revolution across a nation whose compliance keeps them in gold-plated bidets.

But they are delaying the inevitable. This is where we are all headed, if something doesn't change. Meaningfully. And quick.

The Two Americas are breaking in half.

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