Zoot Suiters: Mexican American Culture

1325 Words 6 Pages
Let me start off with some background information for those of you who do not know what a “Zoot Suiter” is and how they came about. “Zoot Suiters” were often belonging to Mexican American Culture and often times were young in age, most under 25 years of age. These individuals were famously known for wearing a unique style of clothing, hence the name Zoot suit, and were usually found in groups. This movement in style and culture originated in East L.A. and rapidly spread into Hollywood and onto the various beaches in the area, according to Don McFadden from our reading Terkel, The Good War. These groups quickly gained a bad reputation and because of this many were quick to attack these “Zoot Suiters”. As soon as this started happening, everything …show more content…
The Los Angeles Times described another possible reason for why these Zoot Suit riots occurred, that “Strife… arose as a result of beatings of individuals sailors by juvenile street bands and in two cases, assaults on women relatives of servicemen” (TTP Ch.8, Page 214). In other words these Mexican Americans rioted because they felt that servicemen were a threat to their well-being since they were constantly attacked by these servicemen for just wearing a Zoot Suit. So it was a form of protection, to prevent attacks from servicemen they had to attack first. But yet not all who rioted did so to protect their kids, there is a deeper reason for their …show more content…
Majority of the Zoot Suit rioters had low paying jobs or were unskilled workers. Along these lines, these rioters were mainly single or divorced and had no kids. You combine these factors with the rage built up inside of them from all instances I mentioned earlier and the fact that these men were young and ready to fight meant you had a dangerous situation on your hands. These statistics came from a document we looked at in class which displayed the imprisoned rioters and their family life, which showed what I just mentioned. To be fair those prior reasons were a major factor in the riots and many did choose to riot based on protection of their families and some even rioted because they were outraged with the way society labeled Mexican Americans and out of the fact that law enforcement was not doing their jobs to protect them. But in my opinion the overarching reason for the reasoning behind why “Zoot Suiters” rioted was because they essentially had nothing to lose if they got caught or even killed while rioting; no family to leave behind, no kids to let down, and a job that was not worth keeping since the cost of living was more than that of what they made. It reminds me of the situation we learned of a couple chapters back where we learned that during the industrial movement many if not all Americans were paid less than decently. They struggled to make ends meet and I can only

Related Documents