White Boy in the Ghetto

Part of the Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice book series (BRWT)


In late April of 1992, when Los Angeles erupted in the wake of the Simi Valley verdict of “innocent” for the white police officers who had been video-taped beating Rodney King in March of 1991, I was beginning the process of writing the dissertation that this book is based upon. The four days of upheaval signaled a country still in the throes of racial strife and political turmoil over its history. That history of white supremacy, black slavery, red genocide, brown migration, and yellow labor obviously remained fraught with contradiction and anguish, violence and reaction. With numerous friends at the University of Chicago, marching in the streets in protest of the verdict and organizing on campus to confront the currents of racism still operative there became my own particular response to the crisis Los Angeles represented. In many ways, Los Angeles was a smoke signal on the horizon. In some sense, this book is an attempt to decipher the still smoldering fires—a burning that did not begin with Los Angeles and will not end with this writing. The ghetto heat that seared itself on the eyeballs of an entire country one more time in 1992, over the course of my own 52 years of life, has increasingly fired the passion and consumed the thinking that I try to combine in my particular vocation as a religious studies scholar and activist/performance artist.


White Skin White Supremacy Dance Floor Basketball Court Black Theology 
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© James W. Perkinson 2004

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