Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles

Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles

Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles

Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles

Synopsis

In Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity, Gaye Theresa Johnson examines interracial anti-racist alliances, divisions among aggrieved minority communities, and the cultural expressions and spatial politics that emerge from the mutual struggles of Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles from the 1940s to the present. Johnson argues that struggles waged in response to institutional and social repression have created both moments and movements in which Blacks and Chicanos have unmasked power imbalances, sought recognition, and forged solidarities by embracing the strategies, cultures, and politics of each others' experiences. At the center of this study is the theory of spatial entitlement: the spatial strategies and vernaculars utilized by working class youth to resist the demarcations of race and class that emerged in the postwar era. In this important new book, Johnson reveals how racial alliances and antagonisms between Blacks and Chicanos in L.A. had spatial as well as racial dimensions.

Excerpt

The unmistakable roots of the universal solidarity of the
colored peoples of the world are no longer ‘predictable’
as they were in my father’s time—they are here.

—Lorraine Hansberry

This is a book about interracial antiracist alliances, about divisions among aggrieved minority communities, and about the cultural expressions that emerge from shared urban spaces. Examining Afro-Chicano politics from the 1940s to the present, I reveal the radical antiracist and egalitarian cultural politics that helped nurture and sustain working-class alliances, intellectual advances, and cultural practices that challenge traditional boundaries of race, space, and region. These politics have resulted in critical interethnic challenges to structures of dominance in Los Angeles, making this story relevant to the history of diverse urban political cultures in every American city.

Relationships between African Americans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles from World War II to the present have been characterized by both conflict and coalition, by antagonisms and alliances. The histories of these two groups have been linked in the City of Angels (and all across the nation) by parallel but not identical histories of labor exploitation, housing segregation, and cultural demonization. Yet while sharing the experiences of containment and confinement, Black and Brown people have also been continually pitted against one another, manipulated by a white power structure to compete with each other for jobs, housing, prestige, and political power.

Sharing struggles, spaces, and sounds has enabled Black and Brown people to work together for social justice in Los Angeles over the . . .

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