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25 years later and the Rodney King video is still on repeat

Sandra Bass, Asst Dean of Students, Director UC Berkeley Public Service Center | March 7, 2016

Twenty five years ago this month, the video of Rodney King being beaten, clubbed, kicked, and stomped by a gang of police went viral before going viral was a thing. Eighty-nine seconds of unmistakable brutality repeatedly looped, dissected, and discussed. A year later, the defense attorney’s frame-by-frame deconstruction of King’s beating successfully convinced an all … Continue reading »

Which radical ideas come true?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | April 1, 2014

It’s 1974. Richard Nixon resigns the presidency; Barbara Streisand is singing, “The Way We Were” all over the radio (that music-playing thing before the internet); and you could buy a hand calculator that could only add, subtract, multiply, and divide for, in today’s currency, $100. Someone asks you: Here are three pretty radical ideas – which do … Continue reading »

King’s evolving Dream

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | January 17, 2014

It is that time to pause and think about the incredible life and contributions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., oftentimes referred to as MLK. He was named Michael King Jr. after his father — who later changed both their names to Martin Luther, in honor of the religious reformer. Like many icons, … Continue reading »

Slavery’s heavy hand

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | May 31, 2012

In an earlier post, I mused about the notion of the “heavy hand of history,” the idea that long-past conditions pull us in certain directions even generations after the fateful events. One of the very earliest users of the phrase, in 1944, was an eminent psychologist who was trying to understand the situation of African … Continue reading »

More on Occupy

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | November 15, 2011

Last week’s post on the OWS Movement, “Occupy! Now What?,” got more than the usual attention – in part perhaps because it was re-posted on The Berkeley Blog just about the time that the police roughed up defenders of the tents at the campus occupation. The interest led me to re-check my notions about the … Continue reading »

The big change

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | March 2, 2011

What’s the biggest change in the American way of life in the last 50-60 years? There are a lot of candidates: the coming of new technologies, especially the computer and internet; the end of the post-war boom and the start of economic stagnation for average Americans; much more liberal and open sexual mores; the dismantling … Continue reading »