TO PROTECT AND TO SERVE

THE LAPD AT WAR IN THE CITY OF DREAMS

This gritty recounting of the Los Angeles Police Department's often ugly history goes a long way toward demonstrating the inevitability of the Rodney King beating and the ensuing riots. Domanick (Faking It in America, 1989) digs back to the 1870s founding of the department, which from the beginning was used by the rich, conservative WASP landowners as ``a strong-arm goon squad.'' Focusing on four police chiefs—James Davis, 192638; Bill Parker, 195060; Ed Davis, 196978; and Daryl Gates, 197892- -Domanick shows how the LAPD became ``the most powerful, most independent, most arrogant, most feared, and most political big- city police department in the nation.'' Union-busting, Red-baiting, spying on politicians and critics of the department, corruption, and protection for select bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling operations are all part of the LAPD history as spelled out here. Trying to maintain Los Angeles as a ``Peoria With Palm Trees,'' James Davis invented the dragnet during the Depression to round up migrants looking for work; his ``bum blockade'' extended, illegally, all the way to California's borders. Davis's legacy would be manifest over the years in Parker's abominable handling of events leading up to and including the bloody 1965 Watts riots and in ``Crazy Ed'' Davis's often brutal treatment of the Black Panthers, hippies, and radicals of the time. On Gates's watch, in 1979, police officers gunned down a black woman who resisted having her gas shut off. His 1988 Operation Hammer (a show of force against the Bloods and Crips in which the LAPD arrested 25,000 young black males, gang members or not), although loudly applauded at the time, served as the harbinger of the King beating. A stunning book, with vivid portraits of the chiefs and their minions adding a human dimension. It's not the official story, and certainly not one the LAPD will be proud of. (16 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-75111-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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