The Propaganda Of The Zoot Suit Riots

823 Words4 Pages

By the 1940’s Mexicans lived in barrio which were entirely different from white suburban neighborhoods. Parents were worried that their kids ventured away from the barrios. Unlike their parents, who were okay with being excluded from their rights, this newer generation were more rebellious and wanted to challenge norms. The Mexican youth began to start wearing the zoot suit. The zoot suit consisted of big balloon pants, it was inspired by African Americans. This suit was being outrageous clothing. The parents of these teens saw them as being pachucos and were scared about this. Chicano bodies have always been constantly being attacked. So, the zoot suit wasn’t just a fashion statement but also a political statement. Soon the zoot suit became …show more content…

The propaganda portrayed the Mexicans as possible traitors. During the time the Zoot Suit Riots occurred the country was a war. Because Mexican Americans have always been foreign and outsiders, although they were born in the USA, suspicion swirled around the Mexican youths. Servicemen were not accustomed to seeing Mexicans. So, when they arrived to Los Angeles they would be bothered to see them. The same goes to say for the Mexican youths who saw their neighborhoods as theirs. It would bother them to see the sailors being in their territory. Sailors often insulted the mex American teenagers and provoked them. For this reason, it would be safer to call them the sailor riots since they were the ones who harassed and started the riots. In the year 1943, with the support of the media and the police, the sailors got cabs and started beating every Mexican teenager they saw. They would also strip their clothes off as an act of humiliating the Mexican teenager. Although such behavior would not have been allowed, in this case they were given the support from the police, who disliked the Mexican youths. These acts of the sailors terrorized the Mexican …show more content…

The LA police saw the Mexican youths as criminals and found any excuse to arrest them. That is why they supported the sailors since they wanted to incriminate every Mexican youth to get them away from the streets and behind bars where they should be. Because the police supported the sailors, they would often put the Mexican youths in custody and blamed them for the riots, although they were provoked by the sailors. Zoot suit riots were making the headlines across the country. The riots had negative media coverage on the Mexican youths. The media would sometimes give incorrect information. For example, they would associate the Mexican pachucos with being fascist. The media portrayed the Mexican youth and community as being criminals and delinquents. An Example would be the sleepy lagoon trial. During this case the media portrayed the Mexicans as criminals who must be stopped. The cops arrested and beated all the Mexican youth who were at the location.
Just like the arrest the trial, if they got one, would also be unjust. Going back to the example of the sleepy lagoon incident. During the trial the judge and courts prohibited the convicted youths to clean themselves up so that they could appear dirty and filthy. They were trialed for murder and sentenced long terms. During the trial, the police contributed to represent all Mexican youths as criminals who were out of control, and that this violence was part of their identity.

More about The Propaganda Of The Zoot Suit Riots

Open Document