The Zoot Suit Riots refers to the series of riots instigated during the Second World War in Los Angeles, California. The riots triggered between the Latino Youth and the sailors and Marine stationed throughout the California city. …
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The Latino living in other cities of United States like San Diego, New York and Chicago were also badly affected from these riots because gradually the riots were swept in these cities as well (Eduardo: 223: 2000). The essay aims to discuss the historical background of the Zoot suit riots and intends to analyse its causes and effects upon the socio-political situation of the time. The essay presents concise chronology of the events and incidents occurred during the riots to illustrate their importance and impact upon the political history of the United States. Zoot Suit Riots – Historical Background The Zoot Suit Riots were basically outcome of the racial discrimination and tension prevailing between the Mexicans and the White Americans. Mexicans migrated and settled in different cities of United States during the twentieth century. The white Americans widely disfavoured the presence of Mexicans in different walks of life because they believe that Mexican Americans were badly affecting their social and economic conditions by occupying the resources and job positions (Eduardo: 43: 2003). During the Great Depression the demand of the Whites Americans to remove the Mexicans from the American land became very strong because they were not willing to see the Mexicans availing the employment opportunities and other resources in their country. This thinking resulted in intense racial hatred between the Mexican and White Americans (Castillo and Griswold: 367: 2000). As a result of the demands and racial threats of the White, thousands of the Mexican descents were deported from America in the early 1930s. Despite this major extraction there were still 3 million Mexicans left in United States and the highest concentration of the Mexicans was found in Los Angeles (Mazon: 132: 2002). The Mexicans in Los Angeles were limited to the oldest and most run down housing area of the city and they were also forced to work only at low level and low wages jobs. Consequently, the lifestyles and living standard of the Mexican Americans dropped to the lowest level and most of them started living below the poverty line (Rule: 102: 1989). The print media also started spreading racial hatred against the Mexicans through inflammatory propaganda and worked for instigating social and economic discrimination against the Mexicans on racial grounds. The media also used to derogate the Mexican Americans by calling them with the name Chicanos. All of these incidents created a highly tensed social and political environment and the Mexican Americans realized the need of conducting organized efforts for the recognition of their rights in the American society. They decided to stand against the racial discrimination and created youth culture for their own and came up with the ideas of maintaining their identity through their culture and selected particular dress code as a symbol of their community (Kevin: 93: 2005). Latino Culture and Zoot Suit The Mexican Americans adopted their own music, language and dress that became famous with the name of Zoot suit. They designed a flamboyant long coat with a baggy pegged pant for the male Mexicans. In addition, they also started taking a pork pie hat along with a key chain and shoes with thick soles. They attempted to create distinct identity for their community to let people know about their unity and strength. The Latino widely started dressing up in the Zoot Suit and they selected the name Pachucos for their selves. Through this particular dressing style they attempted to make their distinguished identity in front of the masses and bring unity
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These women were not only important in describing the female counterpart of the Zoot Suit Riots and the movement toward creating equality among the Chicanos (as) in the nation (Ramirez, 15). There was also an association with creating a sense of identity among the Chicana women during this time frame while allowing them to be equal counterparts to the men who were fighting for equal rights.
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Zoot Suit Riots. 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. The riots took place between the US marine soldiers and the white sailors being on one side, and the Mexican Americans, mainly the youth, being the other party.
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In recent times, the battle for racial recognition has been on the ascendancy in the U.S. This has taken place largely through series of shooting events, most of which have had White police officers as culprits and Black citizens as victims.
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