Mexican American Zoot Riots Essay

Many young Mexican Americans felt out of place and they felt as if they weren’t part of America, so they started wearing jackets with big shoulder blades with large pants, to express themselves and be out there. Many people saw this as a rebellious way of dressing even their own family and outsiders. In addition, one specific group who held a grudge towards the zoot suits were the sailors who were coming back from the war. The sailors held grudges towards the ones wearing the zoot suits, because they weren’t in the war defending their country. Many of the issues that caused the riots were the tension between the two groups of young men. It was not right for the sailors to have gone that far as attacking everyone who was dressed as a zoot suit…

Many residents of Los Angeles saw the death of Jose Diaz as a tragedy that resulted from a larger pattern of lawlessness and rebellion among Mexican American youths. Much of this animosity had to do with the police and press characterizing all Mexican youth as “pachuco hoodlums and baby gangsters” (2). This was a great example of how the media and police played a large role into contributing to adding discrimination towards the Mexican American zoot suits. Not only was it that but also some of the sailors who were trying to justify their acts by spreading rumors. On June 3, 1943, a number of sailors claimed that they were beaten and robbed by Mexican Pachucos. The following evening, a group of around 200 sailors set out for East Los Angeles and began to beat up any Mexican male dressed in a zoot suit. Aided by a police department who seemed to approve of the violence, the initial attacks quickly turned into a riot that lasted for a period of nine days and has come to be known as the “Zoot Suit Riots” (1). The police were not doing their jobs correctly they weren’t protecting civilians that is the number one reason they wear that uniform. The police watch many of the young Mexican Americans getting beat up and the sailor tearing up their clothes and instead of stopping this from happening they watched and then proceeded to arrest the Mexican Americans…