In her new book, historian Elizabeth Hinton takes aim at the long tradition of public commentary focusing on property damage and images of chaos following police killings of Black Americans, rather than excessive police presence and violence in Black neighborhoods as the root cause of the problem. Hinton joined Jim Braude to talk about the topic, which she explores in "America On Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s."

“Part of the problem is, from Watts in ’65 on down, policy makers from Lyndon Johnson to the mayor of Los Angeles, call these incidents ‘riots’ when in fact they were sparked by an incident of police violence — rooted in the same larger socio-economic grievances of the mainstream civil rights movement,” Hinton said.

“By labeling them riots and dismissing this political violence as criminal and meaningless, then the only solution becomes what people are protesting against — it becomes the police, which of course reignites further rebellions in the first place,” she said about the cycle.

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