Week 4: Male Uprising

The main focus of the documentary was upon the men that participated in the uprising, on both sides. The documentary described the black community’s rioters as typically a 17 year old male, high school drop out, with no father, and the police and national guards (only made up of men) were also described, their male leaders sought out and interviewed for their opinion upon these black men. Both “sides” of the uprising were asked what had happened, but it was only in the times of asking the black community that we heard any female voice: the woman who explained that she needed a job, but needed a babysitter, and the cycle therein which was holding her back from a job. Other than this one woman, and the mentioning of the mother at the incident that started the revolt on August 11th, there was no major mention of females and the struggles that they had gone through, rather the focus was upon the men with no jobs, the men with no fathers, the men with only anger left after years of subjugation. The cry heard was for “brotherhood” and only heard by male voices, or the calls for “get whitey” played over the sound of burning cars was only that of males. While it was seen in the videotaping of the looting that black women, or the women being arrested to show that women were also taking part in the revolt to gain some footing in the events, the absolutely driving force (physically, verbally, and spiritually) was the black man demanding respect and finally taking it from the whites who held him back. As seen in some interviews, the men were explaining the demoralizing, and even unmanning, times that they were subject to police brutality; such as the only (and eventually first) black reporter that was sent into Watts, describing the humiliation of going on a date and being spread against a fence to be patted down while his girlfriend has to look on in silence, both unable to fight back or say a word. What this reflects is the loss of masculinity within the community of Watts and of any black man who had encountered the police. The documentary distinctly showed this type of imagery repeated when the last interviewed black man (whose face was never shown) played out the altercation between himself and police upon his arrest in the uprising, or the clips of men getting arrested. The documentary did not show women, did not seek out women for thoughts, only portraying the loss and downfalls of the black man.