Some people are catapulted to fame through creative or entertaining actions. Others become household names through heroic and brave deeds in the face of danger. Still others become known through athletic prowess or amazing accomplishments.
And then there is Rodney King.
He became known not for something great that HE did, but for something awful that happened to him.
By all accounts, including his own, Rodney King was something of a screw-up. Battling addiction his entire life, he was prone to mishaps at every turn.
How did someone seemingly lacking in the typical qualities of heroism become such a pivotal figure in the American civil rights movement?
I believe that the answer lies in his human frailty – something that we often overlook as an important element of the human experience.
Rodney King reminded us that we all are susceptible to our human demons – and susceptible to the demons of others who use our frailty to enhance their own overvalued sense of power.
Despite his frailty, Rodney King was able to demonstrate the most civil and responsible behavior in the face of society’s over reaction to what was done to him.
“Can we all get along?”
He later issued genuine forgiveness to those who had harmed him and he simply encouraged everyone else to do the same.
We were all amazed how he survived back in 1991. Now, 21 years later, we are saddened at his passing at age 47.
You were an unlikely hero, Rodney King.
But a hero, nonetheless.