Zoot Suit Riots - Essay Example

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The Zoot Suit Riots took place in the city of Los Angeles, California in the early summer of 1943, during the Second World War. The riots drew their name from the Zoot Suits commonly worn by the Latino youth in the city. …
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Download file to see previous pages Delving into its origins, the cause of these riots can partly be attributed to an incident known as the Sleepy Lagoon Murder. In August of 1942, a man of Mexican origin was found unconsciousnear Los Angeles at a place which later came to be referred to as ‘Sleepy Lagoon’. The authorities labeled his death a murder committed by the local gangs of Mexican youth, particularly the ‘38th street gang’, the reason being the frequent violence that allegedly ensued between them. Several members of the aforementioned gang were arrested and charged with murder and were then put in jail. Although the convictions were later overturned and the members which were arrested were let go, this murder case brought an anti-Mexican tendency throughout the media in California and Mexicans were thought of as being violent and troublemakers. Tensions grew between the Mexican-Americans and the people of local origin, especially the white Americans, as a result. The riots however did not start without further incidents directly or indirectly causing even more tension. Before we get to when the actual riots took place, we must understand that there was an ever-growing amount of discrimination against the Mexican-Americans or Latino-Americans in the area. ...
r Production Board imposed restrictions on various things in order to utilize the resources in a better way; one of the goods on which the production restrictions were imposed were suits, and clothing which contained wool. These restrictions had the effect of practically forbidding the manufacture of Zoot suits as they used a lot of cloth and were considered extra flamboyant and unnecessary. However, certain tailors did not stop the manufacture of Zoot suits and thus, shortly afterwards, wearing a Zoot suit in war-time became a symbol of disregard to the regulations of the War Production Board and therefore, a disregard to the fact that the country is at war and care must be taken in utilizing of the recourses. Wearing of these suits was hence a symbol of going directly against patriotism and in the view of the authorities, the media and especially the men of the US navy stationed in the city, it was reason for even more hatred towards the Mexican-Americans or “Pachucos”. The causes of the riots can be further elaborated by highlighting two incidents that took place a few days before, and on the night before the riots, respectively. The first incident involved a group of Mexican-Americans in Zoot suits attacking the soldiers and sailors based on allegations of harassment of Mexican women in the area. The second incident took place the night before the start of riots, as a bunch of Sailors of the U.S. Navy got into an argument and got attacked by young Mexicans who were wearing Zoot suits. The actual riots started the next day. On 4th of June 1943, about 200 members of the U.S. Navy, as a group, went through the city towards the east side of the city, and started a fight when they first saw their targets: Mexican-Americans in Zoot suits. Most of the victims in this ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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