Tuesday, May 9, 2017

GOOK Brings Latasha Harlins To The Big Screen

"Many outside of the Los Angeles black community, didn’t know about La Tasha Harlins in 1991. [Most people attributing] the LA Riots solely to the police beating of Rodney King on March 3, 1991." 

But the white police and white justice system were busy doling out abuse in the black community in the decade prior to their deaths.  There were police choked-hold deaths that didn't stop until after more a dozen people were dead, the last of which involved police spraying mace into a man's face over a cracked windshield.  

Also infamous in black neighborhoods at the time was the ransacking of a black families apartments. In one video, I 've seen the police shredded sofa cushions, actually broke porcelain sinks in the bathroom, and ripped things out of the wall -- all inside ONE apartment after they found nothing to arrest anybody over.
I promise you, big white cocaine distributor in Malibu -- the guy four levels about the black and brown street dealers -- he doesn't go back into his home to find the police have left his home looking like 200 mini-bombs went off inside each one of his belongings.  
On arch 3, 1991, unable to use the choke hold anymore, everal white police officers swarmed a drunk Rodney King and nearly beat him to death with metal core batons. 



Then on March 16, 1991, a teenaged black girl named Latasha Harlins was shot in the head and killed by a Korean store-owner, Soon Ja Du, over a bottle of orange juice that Harlan's was in the process of paying for according to a witness In the video of Harlins murder,  before Du physically assaults Harlins, you can see Harlins putting the orange juice into the top of her backpack, leaving it sticking out, and walking to the check-out counter with what looks like money she's handing over to the store owner 

The store owner, Soon Ja Du, winds up shooting Harlins in the back of her head as she leaves the store. A white female judge, Joyce Karlin, decided it made sense to give Du a sentence that involved no jail time.

Harlins’ was just a fifteen year old girl.  The city exploded into what would become the Los Angeles Uprising --others would call the outrage the "LA Riots."
From what I've read about GOOK, the intention is to get people to look at a smaller, human story inside the riots, so that they can see beyond the stereotypes white television and white news outlets have been generating of Black and Asians both.

But I hope there isn't a false equivalence created in the movie. The triangulation white people have set up between themselves as all good judges of character; all blacks as gangsters; and all asians as model minorities does not mean the two oppressive stereotypes do the same level of harm to each non-white group.

The leading edge of white supremacy, the police, was and is killing black people in the street while putting others in prison for basic drug use -- that white folks in the suburbs go to rehab for.

Asians wound up getting a nasty surprise during the Los Angeles Riots. The white folks who had laid that model minority gold star on their foreheads didn't rush into neighborhoods to save them. White police just stood outside black Los Angeles and let it burn. 
I think I read that more than 100 Korean stores in black neighborhoods were burned during the riots.
And, out of the 50 people that died during the Uprising, two-thirds of them were black according the John Ridley's documentary LET IT FALL 
Nothing but good can come out of blacks and asians never allowing white people to generate false that cause us to mistrust one another. And I hope GOOK aims to do that. So I am going to go see the movie GOOK if I can.

Make no mistake. It is white supremacy of white people that is causing these trust problems. 

I've met Asians new to this country. Only a few of them have told me that white people told them to watch out for black people upon arrival. More told me they thought all blacks were criminals from white American television shows they saw before coming here.

BLACK IMAGES MATTER 


About the movie GOOK from Shadow And Act

It’s as if [Harlins'] soul is reimagined in Justin Chon’s feature film, "Gook," a warm, painful portrait of the ways that people’s lives intersect across cultural divides. In the early 1990’s, brothers Eli (Justin Chon) and Daniel (David So) run a hole-in-the- wall shoe store in South Los Angeles, serving a mostly-black clientele. 
The brothers hesitantly employ a young black girl, Kamilla (Simone Baker), and the three form an unlikely bond which is threatened by the Rodney King verdict. Finished in muted black and white tones, the film, which premiered at Sundance, is about a city on the verge of an explosion, and the moments of humanity, fun, and ugliness preceding it. A wide shot of Eli and Kamilla sitting atop a roof as dark streams of smoke rise into the sky foreshadow the destruction to come.

GOOK is coming to theaters in August.  


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