WHO’S YOUR ENEMY? – The ZOOT SUIT RIOTS

The Zoot Suit Riots that occurred during World War Two are an interesting sociological case study.

Stereotyping, when everybody in a group is viewed as the same, is evident.

Scapegoating, blaming the problems or “sins” of an entire society on one person or group, is also evident.

Identity (who or what something is) and conflict (divisive against-ness) also are prevalent ideas.

In time of war, it is essential to identify “who’s your enemy”.

Who exactly is/was our enemy?

Upon analysis, are there ways to determine who was to “blame” for this “conflict” and how it might have been resolved

WHO’S YOUR ENEMY?: YOURSELF? PEOPLE LIKE YOU? EVERYBODY ELSE?

1)Jose Diaz murdered by Luis Encinas after Encinas kicked out of party

2)Hank Leyvas & beat up by other girlfriend

beat up Mexican-American youth

3)LAPD do “dragnet” given drain on man power in arrest of Mexican youth; time of war and ability to target Hank Leyvas keep “public safety”, use

Leyvas as scapegoat, example
to other Mexicans

QUESTIONS:

#1)Was it “racist” to “crack down” on Mexican crime and set-up Hank Leyvas as an “example”?

#2)Would it be “racist” NOT to follow up on Diaz’ murder and tacitly allow “Mexican on Mexican” violence?

4)trial of Hank Leyvas

Lorena Encinas knew who Hank “set-up”/”railroad-ed” ;

actually killed Jose Diaz by judge and jury;

17 boys/8 girls sent to prison found guilty

QUESTION: What’s ironic about using Jose Diaz and Hank Leyvas as an example against those considered “un-American”?

5)Zoot Suits become in time of war, during “Pachucos” start wearing We were supposedly fighting

popular cloth rationing, this suits; association with for keep our freedoms;
looks “unpatriotic” to gangsters develops that isn’t it a free country?

“Sacrificing” Americans applies to all Zoot Suiters

QUESTION:

#3)Who were Zoot Suiters actually “rebelling” against?

Would you consider this “American” behavior?

WHO’S YOUR ENEMY?
YOURSELF? PEOPLE LIKE YOU? EVERYBODY ELSE?

6)some Zoot Suited you started the fight; all Zoot Suiters used by whites as an “pachucos” are you prepared stereotyped and “scape-goated”; excuse to assault beat up sailor to finish it?

many “innocent” Mexicans beat up any/all “Mexicans”,
(including 12-13 year olds in suits) regardless of Zoot Suits

7)Riots begin; Police help create and White Angelenos willingly join

Military steps in to stop riots,

LAPD watches, do nothing to stop the in escalating “mayhem/chaos”, recognizing loss of discipline

arrest Zoot Suiters

very thing they feared and make joke of “justice” in riots

distraction from the real war

only wanted to prevent: “real” enemy – the Japanese

public disorder in time of war military

8)Sleepy Lagoon; Leyvas never “recovers”

Lorena Encinas could have

“outsiders” were responsible

Defense Committee from 2 year prison stopped Leyvas’ conviction; for his conviction;

Wins appeal; Leyvas experience;

eventually Hank killed in bar fight

(though “outsiders” eventually
and others freed killed in bar fight by other “Mexicans” got him out of jail)

QUESTIONS:

#4) In what ways was Hank Leyvas a “REBEL” and in what ways was he not?

#5)Why don’t you think he ever “RECOVERED” from his prison conviction?

#6)Did Lorena Encinas do the RIGHT THING by NOT SAYING WHO was RESPONSIBLE for the murder of Jose Diaz?

#7)Was “justice” carried out by the REAL MURDERER of Jose Diaz?

Some people characterize the Zoot Suit riots as an example of great injustice in American society?

#8)What exactly were the great injustices?

#9)Who were responsible for these great injustices?

#10)In what ways was “justice” carried out?