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White Men Can't Run The System

ID Number: 9725
Maker: Lalo Alcaraz; Self Help Graphics and Art
Technique: silkscreen
Date Made: 1992
Place Made: United States: California, East Los Angeles
Measurements: 71.2 cm x 50.8 cm; 28 in x 20 in
Main Subject: Racism; Los Angeles, California (North America: United States of America)
Materials: paper (fiber product)
Digitized: Y

Full Text:
Daryl George Property of LAPD White Men Can't Run the System From the Courts of Simi Valley, to the streets of L.A. © 1992 Lalo

Acquisition Number: 1997-094

In 1991, Rodney King, an unarmed African American man, was stopped for speeding and was severely beaten by several police officers while many more officers looked on. A bystander's amateur videotape of the beating resulted in nationwide outrage. The debacle worsened when the three officers who were tried for the assault were acquitted. The judgement sparked riots across the country, particularly in Los Angeles, symbolized in the poster by a flaming City Hall. The figures in the poster are Los Angeles Police Chief Darryl Gates on the left and President George Bush Sr. The title and imagery play on those of the 1992 movie White Men Can't Jump. However, the "Courts of Simi Valley" refers not to basketball courts but to courts of law. Instead of being tried in Los Angeles proper, defense attorneys successfully moved the trial to Simi Valley, a community with the largest concentration of police residences. The defense lawyers assumed correctly that everyone on the jury would either know, be related to, or live near a police officer. The assumption was correct, but the resulting acquittal ultimately did more harm than good.

Copyright Status:
Under copyright; used by CSPG for educational and research purposes only. Distribution or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.

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