Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States

By Arnold M. Rose | Go to book overview

process, but the spirit of fair play will go farther and greatly expedite the process. The treatment accorded by a nation to any minority group residing within its borders cannot any longer be hid under a bushel. What is done, whether it be good or ill, is known around the world the next day, and is promptly appraised to the credit or the shame of a nation so involved. Any treatment of a minority group is likely to be magnified and to help or to hinder in bringing nearer the day of one world in human spirit as well as in geography and in economics.


20.The Los Angeles Riot of 1943 *

Carey McWilliams

[ California was the scene of another major manifestation of race prejudice during the Second World War. Unlike Japan, Mexico was an ally of the United States during the war, and the loyalty of Mexican American citizens was unquestioned. Furthermore, Mexican Americans were in the armed services and war industry. Nevertheless, race prejudice, fanned by the newspapers, caused one of the largest riots in the recent history of this country in Los Angeles in 1943. One of the leading publicists of our day, and also an eye witness of the events which he describes, Carey McWilliams, is the source of our information on this outstanding display of race hatred and illegal violence.

On Thursday evening, June 3, 1943, the Alpine Club-- made up of youngsters of Mexican descent--held a meeting in a police substation in Los Angeles. Usually these meetings were held in a nearby public school but, since the school was closed, the boys had accepted the invitation of a police captain to meet in the substation. The principal business of the meeting, conducted in the presence of the police captain, consisted in a discussion of how gang­strife could best be avoided in the neighborhood. After the meeting had adjourned, the boys were taken in squad cars to the street corner nearest the neighborhood in which most of them lived. The squad cars were scarcely out of sight, when the boys were assaulted, not by a rival "gang" or "club," but by hoodlum elements in the neighborhood. Of one thing the boys were sure: their assailants were not of Mexican descent.

____________________
*
From North From Mexico, pp. 244-53, 256-8, Copyright, 1948, by Carey McWilliams. Published by J. B. Lippincott Company. Reprinted by permission of the author and J. B. Lippincott Company.

-208-

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