Zoot Suit By Luis Valdez: Racial Tension

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Racial tensions in Los Angeles came into the public eye when a gang of sailors beat up a group of Mexican-Americans wearing “zoot suits” in June of 1943. This led to the mass incarceration of these individuals known as “pachucos”. This initial incident was followed by days of violence in which servicemen roamed the Los Angeles area and physically assaulted any Mexican American they found in zoot suit apparel. The following two nights, the attacks progressed and though a few sailors were arrested while others were warned not to proceed in further assaults, word of the rioting spread and more military personnel from other areas of the city joined in as well. These events were preceded by increased racial tension between Mexican-Americans and Anglo Saxons.…show more content…
Clashes between Mexican-Americans and military personnel continued in the days and weeks to come.
The play Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez, underscores the Zoot Suit Riots that occurred historically in Los Angeles during the 1940’s following the infamous trial “The Sleepy Lagoon”. The play follows Henry Reyna, leader of the 38th Street Gang, along with with the gang’s members and Henry’s family, while seeking to combat the racial prejudice of the era. The play dramatizes injustice in order to educate and awaken responses towards acts of injustice that occur in today’s society such as racial profiling, bias judicial system, and bias media (yellow journalism) that are still present in society

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