Friday, November 11, 2011

Orale Vato: Understanding Pachuco Culture

"This book is not only about the past, but about interpretations of it...A self-conscious recovery project."

--Catherine S. Ramirez, The Woman in the Zoot Suit

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Pachucos, by Emigdio Vasquez

Last night, I was at a bar in downtown Fullerton, and I started asking some of my Mexican-American friends, both employees and patrons, if they had ever heard of "pachucos," zoot-suit-wearing Mexican-American hipsters from the 1940s and 1950s. I was curious because I've been researching local history and reading about pachuco culture, and I wanted to talk about it.

Out of about six people I asked, only one guy knew what I was talking about. he was dressed in semi-baggy "cholo" style clothes.

"Los pachucos," he said, smiling, "Zoot suiters." But he was on his way out, and that was the extent of our conversation.

Today, while working in Hibbleton Gallery, I finished reading the book The Woman in the Zoot Suit by Catherine S. Ramirez, which is about "pachucas," the female counterparts of the pachucos, and their cultural significance as forerunners and icons of the later Chicano/a Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which continues today.

As I sat down to write about this stuff, who should walk into the gallery but Fred Ortiz, who owns a sprinkler business on Santa Fe St. next to our gallery. He also owns one of the largest private collections of Chicano art in Fullerton, including work by the famous Emigdio Vasquez, who painted pachucos and other aspects of Mexican-American culture.

What an amazing coincidence! I asked Fred if I could interview him about pachuco culture, and we ended up talking for about an hour. It was awesome.

Fred grew up in East LA and his parents lived there during the days of the pachucos.

"Being a Mexican-American in Los Angeles in the 1940s was kinda like being black," he said, "There was a lot of prejudice."

"What kind of prejudice?" I asked.

"Well, for example, if you were Mexican and you tried to get a job somewhere, people might tell you, 'We don't hire niggers, Mexicans, or dogs,'" he said.

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"That's crazy. I've been reading dfferent accounts of the pachucos and, depending on what you read, they were either vicious gang members, or iconic heroes of cultural identity and solidarity. What's your take on the pachucos?"

"It was young Mexican-American guys who wanted to create and express their own identities, and be different from the gringos. So they started wearing these baggy suits, and it evolved into a style. It was partly about being cool, which is what every young guy wants to be, whatever your race."

"But did they carry around knives and chains and terrorize people, like the newspapers said?"

"Some of them carried knives or chains, but they weren't the only ones. You had the white 'greasers' too. It wasn't like the pachucos were more violent than other youth subcultures of the time. It was more about identity and respect and being cool."

"What's your take on thee infamous Zoot Suit Riots of 1943? If you read newspaper accounts of it, you would think the pachucos were these vicious urban terrorists, beating up servicemen and raping women. I don't think that's the full story. In fact, after reading the book The Woman in the Zoot Suit, I know the newspapers were not telling the full story, that they were, in fact, quite racist."

"Based on conversations with my father, this is what I know about the Zoot Suit Riots. It started when a group of white Navy guys were cruising in East LA. They saw a bunch of Mexican guys in their fancy zoot suits, and thought it would be fun to beat them up, take off their zoot suits, and humiliate them. Mexicans were like second-class citizens at the time. Shortly thereafter, some Navy guys went back to East LA, and this time the pachucos fought back. The next thing you knew, the LA Times was running sensationalist headlines like "Zoot Suiters Beat Up and Stab Servicemen!" This was during World War II, remember. Beating up a serviceman, for whatever reason, was like treason. So a bunch of servicemen read those headlines and started raiding, terrorizing, and brutalizing pachucos in East LA. That was the Zoot Suit Riots."

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"So the instigators were mainly the U.S. servicemen. That makes sense, given the climate of racism against Mexican-Americans at the time, especially ones like the pachucos, who had the audacity to look different from the dominant culture."

Fred's account of the Zoot Suit Riots matched with the accounts I'd just read in The Woman in the Zoot Suit. Talking to Fred was a real privilege and an eye-opener for me. It demonstrated the power of oral history to challenge "official" history. As is often said, history is written by the winners, or those with power. As a fledgling historian, I am far more interested in telling the stories of those without power, those on the margins of the dominant culture. In telling these stories, I think, we come to a much richer understanding of our shared past and present.

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Two pachucos, stripped of their zoot suits.

37 comments:

  1. Hello! I am an intern researching a documentary for PBS and came across your blog while researching the segment on WWII and the Zoot Suit Riots. Reading further in your blog, I also see you're working on a book about local history. I enjoyed reading about your conversation with Fred Ortiz about the pachucos. I was wondering if you could perhaps help me out to find and get in touch with someone like him for us to interview? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated! My email is gguillen@weta.org. Thank you!

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  2. Hannah Landers
    English 101
    I really enjoyed reading this blog entry. I think too often people forget that there were plenty of other races that people were prejudiced against. It would be a terrible loss if the stories of these people were lost somehow in our history. Their voices need to be heard, and this was one way for that to happen. I completely agree with your idea that it is "the winners" and the ones "with power" who get to write history, which can make it difficult to believe everything you read about even if it is in a history book. This is made evident even by the story Fred Ortiz tells about the newspaper heading about the Zoot Suit Riots. Even thought the Mexican men were the ones that were jumped, all anyone else saw was how the Navy men had been in the fight. It is sad to think that in an effort to save themselves, the pachucos were framed for a crime they did not commit. I think it is so important that we take time out to understand different cultures. Especially ones that have a history that has been told incorrectly for so long. It is time for them to have their time to tell their side of the story.

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  4. Have you looked into why a service man might want to beat up guys in Zoot suits,beside because of race during WWII? You gotta remember this is a time of rationing , giving to the war effort. Zoot suits were baggy and wasteful. So the style was kinda an FU to servicemen. But put your blinders on and say its just the evil white man again. If you don't ask why they choose a time of rationing to wear baggy style clothes then you wont have the whole story. Funny Fred didn't mention that to you. If you read your own story They striped the ZOOT suits off of them. Now I'm not saying right or wrong but your story is lopsided.

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  5. KEVIN SERNA ENG 101- 10:00am - 11:15amSeptember 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I had not realized the extent of racism toward Mexicans during the 19060’s and 70’s. I knew it was a time of prejudice bit I considered that a problem with African Americans more than anything. After having read Orale Vato I have a clearer view and understand Pachuco culture. I am somewhat familiar with the Zoot-suit riots. In high school, history class touches on it but doesn’t go in to depth. I was unaware that the entire conflict began after service men publicly humiliated Pachucos. This to me puts a bad taste of America in my mouth. I know that it takes two to fight, but I can’t help but feel that the cachuchas were the victims in this case. I have seen films about these happenings, such as American Me. It portraits the same accounts as described in the essay, like men being beaten and women being raped. The fact that Fred Ortiz walked into the gallery was pretty cool. Not to mention extremely convenient. He really shows how strong the racism was at the time when he explains that when trying to get a job people would respond, “We don’t hire niggers, Mexicans, or dogs.” This is intense, that is such a terrible statement, and to be said so simply.
    Punk in Fullerton was a little different from Orale Vato, although they have similarities. They were both essentially movements of passion and culture, they were frowned upon by society and that fueled there breed of rebellion. I have never really been to into punk music, the closet I’ve gotten is through listening to, “The Hives” there album “Tyrannosaurus Hives”. I got this cd from my aunt when I was in the fifth grade, and I listened to it over and over as kid. Other than that I know really nothing. A band I enjoyed after checking out the link was Audacity. If they’re the best band in Fullerton I might as well give them a look. I like they’re smooth yet grungy style. They don’t have cluttered music, but they still have a punk feel. Unfortuanltey as with all music eventually the major labels grabs hold of artist, and their music slowly starts to lose its meaning. The passion fades and the creativity follows. Luckily for venues for small local venues in Fullerton, these bands can still have meaning! I plan to check out a couple of these local artist.

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  6. Trevor Cox ENG 101 8:30-9:45

    It's eye-opening to hear about what happened to Mexicans during the 40's. Young Mexicans were just trying to express their identity and they were outcasted and attacked for their style. This article gave me a better understanding of the pachuco culture and their strifes. I didn't know that the Zoot Suit Riots were caused by public humiliation of the Pachucos by military serviceman. I do think that they were definitely the victims here. Racism in the 1940s was still high and they racist servicemen probably saw these Zoot Suiters, through a mixture of hate and ignorance, as dirty foreigners trying to encroach the white man's style. That or they're just racist dirtbags.
    Punk in Fullerton had some similarities with Orale Vato. They were both about an embattered group of outsiders who wanted to show their passion and culture. For me my personal experiences with punk are quite few and indifferent. I'm not really a fan of punk but I can see these people's passion for it and I respect that.

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  7. Michael Henderson
    English 101

    Until reading Orale Vato, I did not really have any preexisting knowledge of the Pachuco culture. The only thing that came to mind when I began reading it was that I think there was a song in The Mask that had Pachuco in it, but I could be wrong. I find it weird that I was never told about the Zoot Suit riots in any of the history classes that I have taken up until now. But after reading this I can see why most people would want to leave it out of the history books. I can understand why the history books wouldn’t want to include a story about a group of service men who spent their time back at home assaulting Mexicans walking up and down the streets of LA who wanted to stand out. I recall discussing the L.A riots in my U.S. history class but I suppose that contributed to a larger picture in our history as a nation. Racism towards Latino-Americans was definitely a very real thing. My mother, who moved to Mission Viejo at the age of eight from Argentina, was often called a beaner and other racial slurs. I remember her telling me about this and about how much it hurt her that people could be filled with so much hate. It is a sad fact that where ever there is diversity, racism and prejudice is not far behind. You would think that after all the anti-racism campaigns, messages, and songs, people would just treat everyone equally and fairly, it is sad that this is still not completely true. Following up on the second article that was posted on the blog, it never ceases to amaze me how people will do whatever they can to make money. As you said punk began as a way for people to speak out against things they were not happy with that were happening in the county whether it is social issues as well as political issues. It is unfortunate that many bands have sold out to make more money. The only punk band that I really ever had any interest in was Bad Religion. Now that you mention it, comparing their earlier music with their newest album it seems that they have toned down their music in terms of both content and tone. At this moment I am actually going back and forth between new and old songs trying to compare them and now that I am really listening, it makes me kind of sad. They are still without a doubt a great band, but they have changed.

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  8. Jesus Jaime TR 02:00 - 04:00
    Eng 60

    I was a little shocked to have read this blog article. when i would think of pachucos i always thought of them as the bad guys, turns out most of the time these hardcore pachucos who people thought were vicious and unfriendly, were most of the time instigated to fight because of their style which was diffrent. The 1940's and 50's were a time of rascism which portrayed itself to the public everywhere, unlike nowadays rascism is more undercover and on the down low. The pachucos seemed to have been an interesting group to have studied, and i also agree with you Mr. Latour that looking into the lives of the minorities is much more interesting then that of the rich fancy living folks, studying minorities and people like the pachucos for example give us a greater understanding of the past, these people seem to have actually lived and suffered what we see today as the past, th epast hardships of life is what is portrayed in the future.

    In regards to the article punk in fullerton, i had no idea aboput punk being so big in this town. i have been to many of cofeeshops in fullerton mostly the ones in the downtown area, and what i thought was that fullerton was without a doubt a jazz town. A smooth, classy town with lots of sophisticated folks i thought turned out to be a hardcore punk loving city. Thanks for writing these great articles Mr. latour !! I'm enjoying them very much.

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  9. Tannya Juarez
    Eng. 101 T&TH
    10-11:15 AM
    American history has always been filled with horrific facts about racism and discrimination towards any race except whites. I have previously learned that Mexican Americans also faced racism but I never would have related a link between the Pachuco riots with the racism Mexican Americans faced. I am Mexican American myself and I have very little knowledge about Pachucos and the Pachuco Riots. My family never even mentioned anything about Pachucos and defined who they were. I began to learn a bit from a play I went to in elementary for a school field trip. The story was about Romeo and Juliet but based on the 1940 and 1950 time period where Juliet’s family were pachucos and Hispanics and Romeo was a marine sailor. From what I recall from this play is that the troublemakers were indeed portrayed through the pachucos and the sailors were simple young bachelors roaming around the streets searching for fun. That was all I ever have learned about pachucos.
    By the way they dressed and talked, the pachucos to me appeared like “classy” gangsters who would actually somewhat rich but killed, mobbed and were basically a negative influence to the cities in the 1940’s. I would of never had an idea that they were simply people who had there own style and outstepped the norms of society in that time period.
    The fact that La Tour was able to speak to someone who was a witness of this time period and was first hand witness of the things happening. Additionally the fact that La tour was able to interview someone such as Fred Ortiz, within the community of Fullerton, makes things appear a lot more easier for residents to do research about there own community without traveling so far just simply looking for resources.
    This blog really caught my attention and made me want to learn and read more about this time period and the hardships pachucos faced.

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  10. I had no idea about the Pachucos. And I knew of the Zoot Suit riots but nothing more than the name. It's sad to think that it doesn't get the attention it deserves. All through grade school I learned everything there is to know about Martin Luther King Jr. and how whites segregated against blacks but little to nothing about Los Pachucos or the Zoot suiters. But after reading "Orale Vato: Understanding Pachuco Culture" I am under the great impression that Mexican Americans in the mid 1900's were amongst the same cruelty as the African Americans. Being compared to dogs? And not able to be employed because of their race? It is astonishing to me. In fact, my grandparents are Mexican Americans and they grew up during the same time period of the riots and segregation and I’ve never heard them once speak of it. I am very curious to know why that is. I am sure they have knowledge of what was going on. I agree with Fred Ortiz when he said all young kids want to do is "create and express their own identities" and to want to be cool. Being 18 myself I know exactly what he means. Creating their own style with baggy suits is how they choose to express them selves. Just like how I chose to put blue highlights in my hair when I was 14. The same concept. I don’t get what the people were thinking back then, because the Pachucos weren’t the only ones carrying around chains and knives. Like Fred Ortiz said, "you had the white greasers too". It wasn’t just the Mexican Americans, it was every race. So why single out one and compare them to dogs? Doesn’t make sense to me. What really gets me is how Fred Ortiz said that his father explained the riots beginning because of white navy guys thinking it would be fun to beat up the guys the saw wearing their fancy suits. If the service men didn’t beat up the Mexican Americans I’m almost positive the Zoot Suit riots wouldn’t have occurred. And even though, the whites started it all, the newspaper didn’t tell the full story and was thought of sounding racist towards the Mexican Americans. That’s where I think the line needs to be drawn. People only see what they want to see and they never want to admit their wrong. I never knew much about the Zoot Suit riots but reading the article "Orale Vato: Understanding Pachuco Culture" makes me want to learn more.

    Kaylee Brummett
    T/Thur 8:30-9:45

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  11. Daniel Bruno
    Eng 60
    T/Th 2-4
    Orale Vato:
    I had learned a little bit about pachuco culture and the zoot suit riots when i took a California Literature course in high school, but for the most part what i learned about the riots was closer to what those false newspaper headlines said. I always thought it seemed a little off though, it makes sense how unreliable the newspapers were and how misinformed so many people must have been due to it what with the racial tension and extreme prejudice of the time. I think its pretty messed up that those false headlines actually wound up causing even more uproar and violence when they were read by servicemen. I think its a little disturbing that even now after all this time has passed they cant or wont get the facts straight or at least vaguely straight in mainstream textbooks meant for high school seniors. They say hindsight is twenty twenty but i suppose that doesnt often include the more inconvenient truths.

    The Town I Live In:
    I always knew that Fullerton had a music scene but i never knew that so many punk bands formed and often played here like social distortion. It makes sense that because punk bands thrive on conflict Fullerton was a good place for them what with the clashing social classes and the majority of Fullerton being primarily conservative. Its also pretty cool that Fullerton is still a host to many modern punk bands as well, and it makes sense since theres such a variety of different venues that local bands can play in and sort of get noticed and build up a fan base and most importantly do what they love to do.

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  12. I have always loved how the pachucos dressed. I used to see it in movies or actually in shops they still have pachuoco suits, but I thought that they dresses liked that because they saw celebrities dressing like that and they just wanted to keep the trend going on, but now I know that what I thought is not true. Its so cool that the pachucos wanted to stand out and wanted to start there own trend and it’s a cool trend too. I mean different color suits or different style of hats. I would of love to lived back then because of the type of color full clothes they wore. I bet it would have been cool seeing some one walk down the street and see them walk with stile and all that and thinking man those guys are so cool and groovy. It would be cool if they bring the trend back, that would be awesome and do like parades and all that I bet it would be cool. I would of loved living in that era but just because of there type of cloths but I don’t think I would survive so much discrimination. I never knew that people were already discriminating Mexicans since the 1940’s. It’s so sad seeing people discriminate other people and especially how they discriminated the Mexicans in the 1940’s. I mean they discriminated them and half of the stuff that were published in news papers were not even true. They were all made lies and sometimes they would of flip the stories around. For example the story with the navy men, even though they serve the country during WW2 they didn’t had they right to discriminate other people and harm the pachucos the way they harmed them and the fact that they went a second time around and thinking they were going do the same thing that is wrong. I mean the pachucos of course they were going to be mad because they were humiliating them. The funny thing is that the pachuchos story never came up in the newspapers but they flip the story and they opposite story made head line . That was just too much lies, the pachuchos of course they were going to have chains and knifes because they were never know how they were going to be attacked by other people. I mean they were just trying to prevent not being kill.
    Tamara Jimenez
    English 103 W: 3-30-6-40

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  13. Being Mexican American, the pachuco history is interesting to me. I never actually researched it, I just went from what I hear about them from other people, which is that they were gangsters. I basically believed the stereotype. Reading this article about the riots is, honestly, not shocking to me. It is sad that the pachucos were seen as these people who just caused trouble and hurt others. In this time of prejudice, they just wanted respect like everyone else. They did not want to be pushed around like their family and wanted to make a name for themselves. This is hard when you have someone breathing down your neck saying that you are not allowed to do anything because your family is from Mexico. I do not believe that violence is the answer for everything, but the pachucos were basically pushed to it. Their trend began as a way to stand out and be different. They had the guts to go against the norms. When the white Navy men came to take their identity, they were not going to just sit back and return to being nothing. They fought back, but were not respected for that. Everyone just saw them as disrespecting the people “fighting for them.” I see their retaliation against the Navy men as the outlet to their anger. The pachucos found a way to stand out and feel important to contrast the racism. When they were being stripped off their suits, the Navy men took what the pachucos had worked for and they did not want to go back to the beginning. It is sad that their moment of courage and their moment of defying racism was twisted.
    Derenice Hernandez
    English
    W 3.30 - 6.40

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  14. Growing up i have heard a lot about pachucos mostly about the clothing they wear. Being Hispanic I have been to many quinceneras and a lot of the chambelanes (which is the court)would wear those types of suits. It was in wearing those types of suits. I never knew the history behind them though i just thought it was somehting that was in like any other trend. I can see the stereotypes forming with wearing those suits because people judge by what they see no matter what clothing you wear and they judge especially when it’s about race. Now knowing the history behind it, it does not surprise me that the media would lie. Anyone causes trouble no matter what race and just because someone in a pachuco suit would do harm does not mean they all will. Just like he said about the greasers it does not mean that all of them are the same. This really interested me learning about the riots and problems they had with racism and the navy men. This was interesting i think i might even check out that book: the woman in the zoot suit.
    Eng 103
    Wed 3:30-6:40
    Maria Hernandez

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  15. I definitely felt connected to this article. Growing up in a Mexican household I often saw pictures of my uncles fathers dressed up in zoot suits. Having remembered the pictures I noticed they looked a lot like the guys in the painting above. The Chicano/ Chicana movement was huge in the la area while Mexican Americans demanded the same rights as everyone else. As stated in the article I do believe that being Mexican was like being black. Still today I see a lot of discrimination among the Hispanic and Latino community. Every race that is not white has gone through their fair share of injustice blacks, Mexicans, Asian, Middle Easters , Indians, etc that injustice usually causes some kind of culture shift and tension between different races. I asked my mom if my grandfather would dress that way and she said no. She stated that she believed it was a Mexican American trend not a Mexican trend because those who lived in Mexico did not dress this way. Dress in different races and cultures are sometimes used to say” I am not like you”. Different cultures don’t always yearn to be like each other in fact want to seek their own cultural trend and norms. I did know that Mexican American were mistreated however I learned that they were many times denied services from others. While I hardly see any one dressed in Pachuco anymore once in a while you do. Some girls in their quinceneras do chose to have their chambelanes dressed in Pachuco suits rather than tuxedos. I find that at these parties where the guys are dressed in Pachucos the guys are confident you can tell they are very proud of who they are and where they came from. I do believe that Pachucos have a negative stigma. They are seen as the cholos of today. I enjoy reading about the Chicano/Chicana movement because it is very inspiring to read about how far my people have come. I am reminded not to take anything for granted to continue my education because back then all they wanted was a chance to go to school. I also very much admire Emigido Vasquez because he very clearly represents his culture in his amazing artwork. While I do see many of my fellow Mexicans fall into the “melting pot” I am glad I have several proud and traditional family members to remind me that I am a Chicana and never to forget where a came from.

    Stephanie Trujillo
    Eng 103
    Wed. 3:00 - 6:40

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  16. Michelle Carter
    Jesse Latour
    English 103 (M, W 8:35)
    21 February 2013
    Blog Entry #2
    Lol I think that this is probably the most interesting blog that I have every read! One of my favorite things to do is learn about other cultures and their problems. Throughout all of our lives we are mostly taught about African American oppression. But in reality there are many more races that were also oppressed. I know a lot about the Pachuco culture because my tio was a pachuco and my best guy friend dresses and is bringing back this style. When my tio would talk about it he made it sound bad-ass! With regards to this blog I feel terribly bad about what went wrong during that time. It is a shame that authoritarian figures, like the Navy, feel that they have the right to bully the less fortunate, while having the power to get away with it. In a time like the 40’s I can understand why Mexican Americans felt that they had to stand together and create something all their own. As Fred said: “It was young Mexican-American guys who wanted to create and express their own identities, and be different from the gringos.” I like to see this act as being heroic because they were taking a dangerous chance. They were being different in a world doing everything in its power to make them feel like they were worthless. This is why I think the Navy men attacked them. Just like the mural that was painted over in Fullerton, they couldn’t stand seeing a minority being proud of their status. I could only imagine having to be a minority in the forties; always having to watch what you say, what you wear, and how you act. With regards to the Pachucos carrying weapons, I am not surprised. Like I said, being a minority in such a racist time has to be very frightening. You always have to be on your toes because you never know when “gringos” might feel the need to beat you up. There are many cases throughout history that show non minorities beating up a minority for no reason.
    Thinking about all of the history that I have learned I think I know why schools don’t teach us about what happened in the past. America’s founders are extremely ashamed of what they did in the past. They realized how much of a bulky they were. As a result, they try to exclude all that they can from the books. Americans like to think that they were the ones that had to run from oppression. But in reality we were the biggest oppressors. We believed in Manifest Destiny, we excluded Orientals from immigrating here, we started the Trail of Tears, and we made laws based on race and culture to oppress our minorities.

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  17. Rachael Mauter
    English 103 M/W 8:35


    This blog has helped open my eyes up a little more to the extent of racism during the WWII era. I think most people tend to get so caught up in the fact that during that time and still to this day many racists pay all of their negative attention towards the blacks. This article shows that they were not the only ones being attacked for who they were, even if others did not take the heat quite as much. I really do not know much about this Pachuco culture, and after reading this blog I am highly interested in hearing more about it. It really makes it sound like they were just being attacked for trying to create their own sense of style. They were not at all hurting anyone or treating anyone unfairly, and they got it instead. I wish more people could find interest in others rather than criticize them for being different. This to me is what makes everyone so special and the world an exciting place. I think it is great that we live in an area where cultures like this one have so much available information and are shared throughout the community. It is so important to be able to open up your eyes to the ways other people live, not only in your own towns but across the world. Having it so close to home is definitely an advantage for your learning experience though! This blog makes me want to go check out all the art and info in the museums and places all over our cities! It seems very exciting and I know it will help me have a broader knowledge of the people I am surrounded by every day!

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  18. Ivy Beaton
    English 103
    Monday/Wednesday 8:35-10am
    02/23/13
    The article about the “Zoot suit” men really didn’t surprise me when it came down to racism back in the 40’s and 50’s. People back then judged everyone if they were not part of society’s normalcy. The fact that these “Zoot suit” men were violent shows that any culture has its negative side of its culture. Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, we all have are faults and our own beliefs and cultural values and to judge someone on them is not right. I had never heard of the “Zoot suit” men people I had read this article, and I feel informed now that I have and it has enlightened me to keep on learning more about things I don’t know about. I feel that the People were treated very poorly and they didn’t deserve that. The way the author of this article talks about the culture makes it sound like they were just regular people trying to be innovative and live their daily lives just like the rest of us. People tend to judge before they ask questions, and in this case they certainly did. I can’t believe how some people think and act out. Back in the 40’s and 50’s people still were a lot more racist then they are now. I think that this Pachuca culture is just like any other trend or culture. There was the hippies and their culture, they dressed differently back in the 60’s and 70’s. Some people dress like hippies today and they are tormented like they would have been back in the day. I feel that today’s generation is more excepting then back in the 40’s and 50’s. The Pachuca people were discriminated against for what they wore, how they looked, what they did, and who they hung out with. I feel that discrimination is a never ending trend. People are born to judge, even as a baby. Baby’s are very particular about what faces they want to look at to who they want to play with. I feel that people can change how they feel about other cultures, but it will take a life time to learn. This article has really made me think about other cultures and how I feel about those cultures. I feel that the more people read about wrong doing, the more they will start to think about what is being done wrong.

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  19. Alexa Romero
    English 103 MW 0835
    February 24, 2013

    Reading this reminds me of when anytime something happens to a black person and are not recognized for it but “if it was a white kid” everyone and their mother would actually care. Sadly enough, things like that are still said today and I almost feel like as long as people are being prejudice, putting themselves as a lower equivalent as someone who they think is higher than them, then these things will always been seen that way. But I do believe that the service men did jump these pachuco and no one probably acknowledged it what so over, but the moment it happen to them it was almost a death sentence! It is unfortunate that the people who ever get remembered or are heard in history are people who do “have power” or of a higher class than others. Why is this? Why is at that some people are more of a priority to be acknowledged than others? This whole issue kind of goes back to do not judge a book by their cover. People are discriminated on the way they dress, their ethnicity, where they grew up, sexuality, etc. The same person that is getting judged in the streets cause they are covered from head to toe with tattoos could possibly be a heart surgeon. Or the same person you are discriminating against by voting them to not get married to their partner is the same person who you are thanking for serving our country. All these prejudgments and assumptions of how people are going to act because of how they look or where they are from are beyond out dated. In the past people were so narrow minded and that is why I think they saw the Pachucos and automatically thought something bad of them, as if they already gave them a reason to not like them. And the real sad part about this, is that no one ever knows they are being prejudice for the most part. People do not see what they are even doing and how their little opinion does actually matter to some. I think people need to take a step back from being narrow minded and open up to the twenty first century because things have progressed and they will continue to do so. But, I guess just as much as people will not progress and others will get mad because of so, it will be the other way around as well

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  20. Caleb Lippolt-Rios
    English 103

    when i started reading this article i immediately started to think about my Grandma who grew up in Placentia California during the zoot suit riots. Being full Hispanic she was subjected to much racism and was actually affiliated with the Pachucos at the time. she told me a story about how she went to a club one night and a group of white people just randomly started a fight because the other people she was with was wearing a zoot suit.

    What really struck me was the fact that it was entirely the Servicemen fault. especially disturbing because of the sheer hate that was happening to the jews in europe, its tough too see that even here in the US where we were pride ourselves in fighting for others peoples rights that this kind of blatant hate crimes were taking place right here at home.

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  21. Cheyenne Farrell
    english 103
    tues/thurs 7:00

    I had absolutely no idea about this essay topic, let alone that there were well-known riots that happened during this time. Usually as a kid you hear about all these riots that happened back in the day during the racism years, but I have yet to learn about this one. After reading this essay I am very surprised that I had never heard any speak of these zoot zuit riots, this surpirsed me because the mexican-american culture is still activiely growing throughout california.
    It is really said that racism was such a popular topics back in the day. I dont believe its fair to look down upon some because of the color of there skin, the language they speak or even the way they stand out from the rest of the comminty.
    These “pachuco's” were simply just trying to set themselves apart from the white people and express there culture. They weren't trying to harm people it seems like until the whites started to act them. Then I can see where people would almost want to associate them with a “gang” type group. I competely blame the riots on the white serviceman woho thought they were above everyone and could make fun of this social group. This just goes to show that just because the whites were the superior ethnic group that the were always right and had all the power. Look at all the problems that have occurred due to racism and how white people use to treat all other different minority groups. For example, the watts riots, that was other huge riot that was cause my racism. I just dont understand how people thought this was okay and thought that they could get away with doing such stupid things to people.
    Of course these actions turned into a riot, I mean who wouldnt stick up for themselves if there about to get bullied for the second time around. It just sucks that the media gave them the bad reputation of course and them look bad. And I also think this may have even lead to more gang like acts among these people sort of like a defensive mechianism and may have even gave them a bad look. I also think this zoot zuit riot may effect even people today and how they look down among the same type of social groups.

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  22. Jessica Sanchez
    English 103
    Mon/Wed 8:35
    I really enjoyed reading this blog. This blog helped me open my eyes and see that there was not only racism against black but also against mexicans. I thought that pachucos were a type of gang members, but now theres more of a understanding about why they were looked that way . The service men made them looked like bad people and white people would just take advantage of mexican americans. Ive always thought that pachucos were violent and looking for trouble but it wasnt only them. They tired staying out of trouble in there own town (East LA) but the servicemen started everything. In order to protect them self and there friends they had to become violent and carry knives and guns, but not all of them did. The servicemen were white so they really didnt blame them for anything. Pachucos wanted to have there own identity and style there wore suits. Reading this blog was so interesting i would love to know more about the pachuco culture. Its a culture that catches my attention coming from a mexican family. Its a history that my parents dont really talk about but maybe if i asked they would tell me a little about it. This article has really made me think about other cultures and how I feel about different cultures. I feel that if more people know more about there life style they wont think that they were only gangsters and bad people , the more they know they will see what it was really like to be a pachuco.






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  23. Johnny Escalante
    English 103
    Mon/Wed 835
    When i first read the title of this blog, it really caught my attention. I didnt really know much about pachucos until i read this blog. When i first heard of pachucos, i always thought of violent gang members during the world war 2 era. I thought they all carried knives and guns, and were just looking for a lot of trouble. But what i didnt realize, is that being a pachuco was an identity and not all were violent carrying weapons. They thought it was a cool style at the time by wearing some cool suits and hats. It was really wrong that most service men abused these pachucos and made them have a bad reputation to the open public. But of course at that time there was a lot of racism and prejudice. This blog has helped me a little to understand some of the history of pachucos and where they originated from. Hopefully ill look into them a little more and learn a lot more in the near future.

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  24. Karina Esparza
    Eng 103 M/W 8:35
    I already had some sort of knowledge of the pachuco’s before reading this article. One semester I decided to take Chicano studies to learn more about the Chicano people and the history behind it. In this semester I had the chance to learn a little history on this infamous pachuco’s that were starting to become a big influence on society. I read about how the pachuco’s started this new trend were many men and women were started to follow, the trend consisted of this loose fashionable clothing that many people found to be going nowhere good and just a bad influence. I also learned about the famous zoot suit riot that was on how some service men took this whole fight right out of proportion and in the end ended up making the pachuco’s look like the bad guys. I feel that both the service men and the pachuco’s were both to blame for the brawl they had together but at the same maybe the service men to it too far. I feel that the brawl between the two groups got way to out of hand and that the white people took it farther than it is because of how racism of blacks and Mexicans was going around.
    When these two fights were going around racism between the white people and Mexicans was something that was going around everywhere. I just found it funny how the service men were able to end up being the good guys and leave the pachucos got the blame for it all. I really enjoyed reading this article but it was sad so see back in the day people were so racist that they would do anything in their power to find ways to bring other races down and for more people to dislike them. Using the pachucos wardrobe as a target was not right. There are many people to like to express their style and culture through what they wear and it just happen to be that the pachucos were into the zoot suit. People talking bad about their clothing and how they were saying that they were wearing that because of their “gang” was wrong. Just like this article states the pachucos weren’t the only ones carrying around deadly weapons. Yes the suits were loose and had the capacity to hold dangerous items that can harm and kill but there were many others that very easily could have done the same thing even without the baggy clothes.

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  25. Khalide Khandaker
    Eng 103 MW 8:35
    I did not know anything about the Pacheco culture or the Zoot suit riots before I read this blog. It is fascinating to learn how this country was different 50 or 60 years ago. Everybody know Martin Luther king Jr. and his movement change the face of racism, but I think the Pacheco and the Zoot suit riots also played an important role. I knew Mexican people had been victim of racism in the past but, I had no idea it was so bad that they couldn’t even get a job. This article opened my mind in many ways. It made me read more about racism, so I checked out some other article online. I found lot other cases. For example, Chinese railroad workers in the late 18th century. They were also discriminated as the Mexicans in 1950’s and 60’s Even though, racism is not is not as bad as the 50’s but it still exists. I think it is a grate shame that we still have to think about the issues like racism when we left behind all of our past generation in almost everything. I think this the time to take some action to make this world racism free.

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  26. Anthony Shaw
    Eng 103 MW 8:35

    This article filled in some of my missing knowledge about what exactly the “Zoot suit riots” were. It is so sad to me that suck prejudice and violence has existed in this country and still exists to this day. I think it is fascinating how the minority group chose to look so different from the majority by wearing the baggy clothes which led to baggy clothes still being popular today? I think it is also interesting how this minority group of pachuco/a’s went on to become major players in Mexican civil rights and civil rights for all.

    In the interview with Fred Ortiz, I found it interesting that he noted: “Being a Mexican-American in Los Angeles in the 1940s was kinda like being black," he said, "There was a lot of prejudice." Growing up, it seems like the emphasis of our civil rights education was on the African-Americans and how they overcame their struggle through the long years, while not too much is mentioned of the other ethnicities and what they went through to establish equality, liberty, and freedom. I thought this was also intriguing: “I've been reading different accounts of the pachucos and, depending on what you read, they were either vicious gang members, or iconic heroes of cultural identity and solidarity.” I think this is intriguing because there is such a stark contrast in the way these individuals were portrayed. They were either considered to be causing the problem, or helping to find a solution. I would say that the ones who were getting into violent altercations were causing the problem and the ones who were conducting peace movements and what not were part of the solution. I am interested to know just how many pachucos there were and how they all directly tied into the larger civil rights movement.

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  27. Mirna Veneags
    English 103
    MW 8:35

    While reading this article I learned a lot about stereotype and segregation in the 1950’s. Citizens and business owners did not enjoy the presence to colored people such and hispanics and black or anyone who was not white. Courteous signs were posted in front of business warning people of color that they will not be served. The Zoot Suit Riots taken place in this date in time was made believed that these zootsuit-wearing citizens were out to cause violent acts with navy men. With the violent acts in which were portrayed in the newspapers, these people had a bad reputation and angry gangsters out to get everyone. Pachucos were the hipster/gangster cool guys of our time. They carried knifes and chains but at the time it was the “cool” thing to. But the media was not telling the full story, they were being racist towards different races.

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  28. Jesse Aguilar
    English 103 T-R 7a.m.

    When I was in high school I remember my history teacher lecturing the “Zoot Suit Riot.” He had old picture of his family members, who used to be Pachucos. I thought it was a cool fashion teand. He mention that Mexican had no rights back then and they were treated like crap. Young Mexican Americans started hanging out together to protect one another from the white gangs. They dressed in baggy clothes because they wanted to been seen differently from other cultures and they thought it looked cool. The riot happen because a couple of races serviceman though it would be fun to beat up on Pachucos, but little did they know, the Pachucos fought back. After reading this article I kinda new about the Zoot Suit Riot and the Pachucos. When people think of Pachucos they think they are bad people recking the town as a group. People should understand when one race in being bullied they would stick together and united as one to help and protect each other. That is what the Mexican American did to be secured. After reading this article it is cool to hear someone, who was there in that year, side of story.

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  29. Jazmin Diaz
    Jesse LaTour
    English 103 T/Th
    7am-8:35am
    Oh man! Lol just by the title, it already had me smiling like I knew this is going to be a funny article you wrote. Right from the start, I didn’t even know what “pachuco” actually meant and despite that I’m Mexican-American, pretty sad. Anyways, these Mexican “pachucos” from back then still exist today. I actually have some family members, my dad’s uncle and all his sons are till this day “pachucos.” Its crazy how prejudice they were against these Mexican-American due to how they were dressed and till this day, prejudice keeps following through. My uncle and his sons can’t go anywhere without being asked to leave or being looked at all vicious. Even though my family tells them to just change up their style, they honestly don’t care. They are so stubborn in keep their tradition alive no matter what and they are always happy about it. My family isn’t really close with my uncle’s family, but we all have major respect for what they are doing no matter how many times they have been dropped down. It gets me angry, how these white Navy guys beat the hell out of Mexican guys with their fancy suits and nothing bad was proposed out of it. It’s seemed to be like these Navy guys were jealous of these Mexican “pachucos” with their nice suits, living life well and of course they had to destroy the atmosphere. Always, some other race stands up for themselves, like these Mexicans did, they become famous headlines of being terrorizing group of people. It’s so observed, it’s like I’m watching a movie, and I already know how it’s going to end, just like the rest of the movies. I’m really interested in reading the book, The Woman in the Zoot Suit. That sounds like it would completely change in more in my perspective on these “pachucos” like my uncle and his family. This is literally something I can find myself being very passionate about, digging deeper. Especially when I know that these pachucos aren’t all evil people, because I have testimony to that right on the spot. My cousins are nothing but harder workers. They go to school, they go to work, and they do their homework, take care of their girlfriends and still manage to spend time with their traditional family. I don’t know what other way to express this, but not every pachuco due to one article is terrorizing. Before judging a book, read a page.

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  30. Throughout eight grade, I guess that was the only time segregation and the civil rights movement were brought to my attention. Books, like Watson go to Birmingham, and poems reflecting the civil rights movement, colored the picture of how dire circumstances were towards African Americans. I barely remember touching upon other civil rights movements away from the blacks. As far as I know, majority of Mexicans were placed among the same line as blacks. Because of their thickened dark skin color, Latinos and Mexican Americans were only given the same privileges as blacks at the time. The description of the Zoot Suit riots resonated with a picture I saw in Art 114 class few semesters ago. Although the name is ambiguous to me, I vaguely remember my professor referencing the Zoot Suit Riots and how it was reflected in the picture. Reading over the description of the battle between the puchacos and whites during the riots echoed a scene from the American classic “Westside Story.” In that scene, both Mexican and white gangs are shown strangling each others neck and pounding their heads. Maybe, the riot more or less influenced the scene. Haha!! Mexican-Americans, in addition to other diverse ethnic groups weren’t given the same respect and honor they deserved. Though Mexico is a neighboring nation, they still were treated as second class citizens alike with the blacks. Because of the racist stereotype, “Whites are Better,” all different ethnic groups, primarily Blacks and Mexican Americans, were considered scapegoats to all dysfunctional problems in the society. Also, their culture and view towards life was ridiculed, like the Puchacos dressing style. I wished my teachers from past grades at least educated us somewhat on domestic problems in our own society, instead of emphasizing most of their time on the civil rights movement. It’s devastating to learn that Mexican Americans living in California were treated no less than blacks, despite settling there first.

    This week’s chapter of Post suburban California discussed the emergence of the City Irvine by the Irvine Co. Not only that, it explained the process of how The University of California—Irvine was established. Interestingly, the school inhabited several thousand acres of an Irvine Ranch, which one was desolate. In addition, the author discussed how affluent Whites resided in resort like communities throughout in Irvine and how they were to catered to great leisure and opulence, such as gym facilities, pools, and clubhouses. For the most part, this chapter wasn’t as boring as the last, mostly because the terminology and sentence structure was comprehendible. However sleepy parts, like the formation of Irvine council were unappealing to my ears. For a moment, I believed the writer will discuss Disneyland in great detail. Yet it wasn’t the chapter’s main emphasis. Hopefully, the book will grasp my attention to more interesting facts about Orange County. 



    Mariam Lakhani
    English 103 T/R

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  31. I always wondered why people dislike the pachucos; mainly white Americans. It's true what this article says because it demonstrates how dressing a certain style can lead to Judgment. I don't know why the news never tell us what really happen. The US servicemen are the ones who started the whole riot. They have no right to be doing those awful things to the pachucos. I never really understood why in the American culture we are so bias. Just because a person is dressed a certain way doesn't make them a bad person. In the article it mentions that "some pachucos had knives and chains and that they were not the only ones ..." It's true there other people who are not even pachucos or greasers who carry pocket knives. I thought that US servicemen where suppose to give and be a good explain of America. Young kids look at up to these servicemen , and all they see is violence being perform in front of their own eyes. That's why racism continues to be a problem as well as bullying. We should read articles like this or learn in history class , but in a way I feel like they don't want us to know what really happens in American History.

    Elouise Hernandez
    English 103 T/R

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  32. Chelsea Solis
    Eng. 103
    Tues, Thurs. 7-8:25 AM
    I was immediately drawn to this post because lately I've been into knowing more about mexican americans. My boyfriend has really gotten me into those mexican gang related shows on television. Though the pachucos weren't necessarily a gang going around killing everyone, it was still so interesting. First off, it's so awesome Fred Ortiz walked in as you were there, especially after reading The Woman in the Zoot Suit, was that fate or what! After reading your post, I really like the Pachucos, I like how they wanted to create their own identity, and did so in their style! Coming from someone that is in love with fashion and just different styles in general, they had me immediately. Even though some of them carried around knives and chains and terrorize people, it doesn't really mean they were out to kill. I love the fact that they were just about being cool, identity, and respect. Coming from a big mexican american family, they always remind how important respect is. Reading about the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 was not a shocker. Knowing how racist people were in East Los Angeles to mexican americans, I could only imagine they would hide the real truth about what happened. The whites were the most powerful people in history, anything they say most would believe and follow what they do. They were like Simon in the game Simon says, everyone else was the followers. In the Zoot Suit Riot the Navy guys were cruising and saw the Pachucos, decided to beat them up and humiliate them. Soon after their first visit, they went back, but of course the Pachucos were ready for them and they fought back. The pachucos were about looking cool and respect. After the Navy guys humiliated them and disrespected them, there was no way they would get away with it again. Of course because they're mexican americans, the LA Times twisted the real story and stated headlines "Zoot Suiters Beat Up and Stab Servicemen!" This was during World War II, therefore it was horrible to beat up a serviceman. However, they don't state that these servicemen (supposed to be heroes) are the ones going around beating up innocent people. I think that should have been the real headline in this case. Racism towards mexican americans was everywhere during this time, especially to the pachucos. For what? Because of the way they dressed, they looked different. This makes me so upset, how ridiculous is this!!! On the bright side though, I absolutely love how you're interested in telling the stories of those without power. You definitely get the real truth that way, which is just what I love.

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  33. Irene Cabrera
    English 103
    Tuesday/Thursday
    It was surprising to hear about all the racism that was occurring during that time. There is a lot of things that are not taught in history classes. It just makes me wonder about all the other events that we do not know about. It just makes me feel like they are trying to hide certain things because they are embarrassed or want to forget about the past. I really enjoy the fact that in this English class we are learning about things that we have little knowledge about or things we have never even heard. It just makes it more interesting.
    I did not know that there was this much racism toward the Mexican Americans during that time. I thought most of the racism at that time was towards African Americans. I also did not know that Mexican Americans were involved in the zoot suit riot. I always thought that most of the people rioting were African Americans. The Pachuco’s were just trying to differentiate themselves from the white people. At that time, the Pachuco’s thought zoot suites were stylish and cool. The zoot suites came in many different colors and they were different from what was considered “normal” clothes.
    The Pachuco’s experienced racism because of the way they dressed. They did not do anything wrong. It is true that some of the Pachuco’s would carry knifes and hurt people but not every person is the same. People should not be judged based on other people’s mistakes. In my opinion the servicemen are the ones to blame for the riots. Everyone deserves to express themselves. Servicemen that thought they were higher and better than the Pachuco’s. There should not have been a riot in the first place. If the servicemen would have let them express themselves freely this would have never happened. Instead of people racist, people should get to learn and understand each other’s culture. If people understand other people better, then racism and violence would decrease significantly.

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  34. Shayda Hashemi
    English 103
    Tues/thurs 7-8am
    I, for one, have never even heard of such a thing as “zoot suit Mexicans”. This was the first time and it really made me want to go and re-search more about it after reading it. I hadn’t even realized how far racism had really gone against Mexicans as much as it did to blacks. It really surprised me when I read that Fred had said that the Mexicans were the blacks of those days. It was eye opening to see how low people can really go when trying to be cool. These zoot suit-ers were trying to be cool by their stile of clothing but the others were trying to be cool by beating them up and stripping them of their clothes. If you ask me, that’s not cool at all. Personally, I think everyone of different race should be treated just as equal as anyone else. They may look and believe in different things but does that make them any lesser of a person? No. you can have a person of the same race as you standing right next to you and totally believe in the complete opposite things as you, but you’ll still like them because they are the same color, And vice versa. I don’t think so. Im not surprised that I hadn’t learned about this before, mainly because schools leave out so much about history. In the end you really just end up having to teach yourself. It was either that the pachucos were either good or bad, nothing in between. The fact that they carried weapons and everyone was against it and the fact that whites also carried weapons and everyone was okay with it is shocking. Its pretty upsetting. I was extremely interested and had a lot to think about while reading this blog entry. I had a lot of emotions rushing through me too. The one time the “Zoot suit” men fought back, was to a servicemen and all hell breaks loose after that. I understand that it’s a serviceman, but it’s also unfair that the zoot suit men did nothing and are being blamed for everything. This was really an eye opening article on the world in the 40’s for Mexicans. I am so much more informed on something I didn’t really know anything about at all.

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  35. It is interesting to see how much racism and segregation occurred during this time. I love how you mentioned that; “history is written by winners and not losers.” This concept is used through out the world, but I think the story of the loser is sometime far more interesting then that of the winners. The winner tends to forget all the little details that occurred leading up to their victory or triumph; normally the loser will take time to clear up all the gaps. The truth is no one ever remembers second place, you either win or you are forgotten. Many people could remember past super bowl winners but if you ask them whom they played against most wont remember. This interview shows how the newspaper is always controlling the community; back in the day everyone read the newspaper now it’s the media. However you see it racism still exists in many different parts to the world and it’s the winner the media is most interested in. A side from all that I think that the Zoot Suit Riot was an act of jealousy. Personally I’m not a fan of the Zoot Suit, I prefer a more slim fit style but that gives me no right to beat up a couple of Mexicans for fun. I for one am Mexican, although I don’t look it, every time I mention it people always poke fun at my race because many of my people hop the bored and there are many people who believe they should not be allowed into this country. I don’t think people ever take the time to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It much easier to make fun of someone, rather than to understand him or her. I believe these pachucos just wanted to be understood but when they weren’t they would rebuttal with violence, now I’m not siding with the servicemen on this one but knowing many Mexicans when it comes to their country and culture they are very proud of who they are it’s a subject that shouldn’t be touched unless it’s in a positive matter. At the end of the day racism will always exist the only thing we could do as a nation is become more tolerant of each others culture just like we are of each others religion. The more tolerant we become as a nation the more peace will come out in the end. This nation is very tolerant when it come to religions, that’s why there has not been constant wars that occur because of religion if that concept is applied to race and culture then there will be much more peace on earth.

    Manuel Martinez
    English 103
    T/Th 7:00am - 8:25am

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  36. Andrew Chung
    English 103
    T/Th 7-8:25am

    Is it sad that we live in a country where we are fed lies on a daily basis yet have come to accept them as the truth? It seems that we, in the eyes of the government, are nothing more than sheep; believing everything we hear on the news, T.V., radio, etc. There was a particular passage in this article where you mentioned the newspaper's false accounts on the Zoot Suit Riots that made me think about how these national informers can get away with lying/deceiving the public to favor the majority (in this case the White American). I don't think they would get much praise writing an article supporting the Pachucos or explaining the reasoning behind their stand. I didn't live back then but apparently it was acceptable to label these people as second class citizens. Reading the part where the servicemen attacked them because it would seem fun stems the question, maybe they did something to provoke them in the first place? Maybe they did or maybe the didn't, but still the servicemen got what they deserved and it really is a shame how the newspaper portrayed the Pachucos as infamous thugs. It just shows you that you can't always depend on the news for the truth and ultimately shows that people themselves really are the best resources. I think if everyone challenged or just thought about what they hear about going on in the world; thinking that it may not always the true, then maybe we can better expose and stand up against all the corruption going on behind the curtain of lies we have all been fed.

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  37. Jose Villanueva
    Professor Jesse LaTour
    English 60 T/Th 5-9
    Reading this short blog made me realize how criticism was bad in the 1940's. Pachuco's and Pachuca's were more like immigrants coming from mexico who wanted to make something of themselves, they wanted to stand for something not just the mexican's who crossed the border. Men dressing is a suit and Woman wearing a dress was just their way of being fancy. There were a lot of riots back in the day's. Especially when Navy Sailors got into a fight with the zoot suits, Many think the Zoot Zuit's were looking for a fight and really they weren't they were just keeping to themselves and it's very interesting the way treason came up as a sentence back in in the day. Many did have knives and chains, but that was for their own protection. Look at the Navy Sailors with baseball bats and police man not really giving a F#&K. I think thugs will always be thugs, but Zoot Zuiter's will always be a part of History.

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