The King beating was no surprise to me. As a black male I have been harassed by the police on a number of occasions. I have friends and relatives who have been harassed and even beaten. So when I saw the tape I was not surprised.
But I was surprised that the King video was aired on television for the world to see. I believe most white people were shocked by the tape. Most white people believe that black Americans are just whiners when it comes to racism. So the video of Rodney King gave white people a glimpse of the naked truth. Then the 12 jurors were convinced that they didn’t see what they thought they saw. Again, I was not surprised. Again, many whites were.
I hope that the beating of King, the acquittal of the officers and the riot aftermath will at least make compassionate white people more aware that racism is an American tradition. I believe that most white people do not have any great experience with black people. Most whites form their opinions of blacks not by firsthand significant experiences but by what they get from the media. I guess they feel more comfortable that way.
JONATHAN BRADLEY WAFER