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There’s a South Central in Every City: Britain and the Transatlantic Legacy of the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising


"There’s a South Central in Every City" examines British newspaper coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising. The event has largely been framed as exclusive to the American story. However, it also made shockwaves in Great Britain. The mainstream media in Britain, along with the public, used the Uprising as a platform to discuss their country’s own racial, economic, and social trends. I argue that at its most fundamental core, tracing such discussions decenters social rebellion and police violence as events exclusive to the American landscape . Such conversations also illuminate fault lines within the British public. Largely, both right and left wing publications framed the Uprising as a response to LA’s classism. Race was largely unlinked from class analysis. This highlights the limitations of Britons, and specifically the left, in discussing race and in the envisioning of a black British proletariat. I argue that this silencing of race is a preservation of Britain’s colonial tradition. A tradition in which state leadership and the public, sought to represent the British Empire as a bastion of egalitarian values--devoted to the preservation of democracy and free from the perils of racism.

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