What Rodney King's Woes Say About Us

His troubles are emblematic of a broken criminal-justice system.

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So when we remember Rodney King, I hope we don't just remember a black body beaten by batons or a trial gone bad or a city on the brink. I hope we don't just remember sad footage of him from a reality show, or the fact that he died before his 50th birthday in a backyard pool.

I do hope that we remember how many women and men are living lives like King's, and then I hope that we as a society take action to ensure that we treat the human potential of vulnerable Americans with respect, spending some of the money we now use on warehousing them to treat and rehabilitate them.

Farai Chideya is an award-winning author and journalist and a spring 2012 fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics. Follow her on Twitter.

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