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Sosa 1

Adrian Sosa
Prof. Malvin
English 115
30 November 2015
Equalizing Society
L.A. has come so far when it comes to racial equality. However, it seems that no matter
how much we do to improve relations between people of different races and ethnic backgrounds,
society still reverts to its old ways of racial and social divisions and even oppression in some
areas. We must break these deeply seeded patterns that most of us have grown up with and felt
the effects of, so that we can grow as a community and ensure a truly unified future in which
everyone sees their neighbor as their equal. However, to this, we must all recognize why we have
these social and racial divisions before we can come up with solutions for them. The main points
to understand where these roots come from are basely found in L.A.’s history along with the
pattern of the social hierarchy through the county’s history. From here, one must then understand
the habits of the residents in Los Angeles. After understanding the causes of these negative roots,
we can begin to discuss a way to tackle them.
The first point to establish in why we have racial and social divisions, lies in Los
Angeles’ history back when L.A. was first established. In short, Los Angeles originally was
created by Spanish settlers in 1769 and was soon also populated by Mexicans. This explains the
very large Hispanic and Latino portion of the population that makes up Los Angeles we have
today. Along with this, the gold rush in 1848 caused L.A. and California all together, to see a
very large spike in the population which diversified the state even more with people from all
over the United States and other countries from around the world. This shows Los Angeles was

Today there are plenty of divisions and subdivisions within Los Angeles’ society. to make their own communities. This is likely where the racial divisions in Los Angeles and in the rest of the state began to become prominent. But it seems that there are still ethnic or cultural groups who are marginalized from mainstream life in L. Californians began to resent the Chinese immigrants. This could happen from several different reasons. but each took on a life of its own as it was repeated. Others simply never improve their lives and never climb the social ladder. we are born into our place in society and we strive to improve our lives. Of course any one explanation for social divisions would be too simple for the complicated subject. L. could show that the Chinese were the first to be oppressed and generally separated from society. As immigration slowed down after the gold rush. However. “There was no truth to these stories. Generally. Before this. and told yet again” (Smith). Despite this fact that the rumors of the attacks on California never turned out to be true.A.Sosa 2 never completely dominated by one race. exaggerated. However. as we see it through the 1900’s began to take shape and social and racial groups began to separate and divide themselves from one another. Before the second world war. and America began to be paranoid about the Japanese that lived in the country. Generally. California joined the United States as a free state and offered citizenship to a wide variety of people but this changed when the gold rush began. there are a few reasons that come to mind to . Californians became very wary of the Japanese and began to treat them differently and essentially. This changed after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor though.A. oppress them. thousands of Japanese had made California their home.A. Rumors of new attacks were formed and the Japanese were forced into detainment camps. the Japanese were accepted by the Americans. The author of “The Guide to Twilight Los Angeles” says. most of them being citizens. Wealthier citizens lived further from the poor and different ethnicities adopted different parts of L.

If a child is taught the stereotypes of people who are different from them. Teachers at school are known to have favorites and treat other children differently. and for many. this child would grow up to believe they are inferior and that the only place that they belong. kids learn at an early age where and how society expects them to live their life. kids are learning their beliefs from their parents and peers. then that is how that child will grow up to teach their children. One of the most important points to be made regarding the reasons we see racial divisions in today’s society is how we treat children. then nothing will change. A more feasible explanation for the divisions in society could be the caution that different groups show each other based off of stereotypes they learned over time. More often than not. From here the cycle continues again.A. Because of these practices. If a child is taught to believe that he or she is superior or inferior to another group. The caution for other races could keep the residents of these one race communities from moving to more diverse places. is where they grew up. There have even been cases in which a teacher turns the class on other students for . If a child is constantly made to feel inferior to another person. Though much the of Los Angeles residential areas are very diverse. who are the future generations of L. this could mean in an impoverished area living a troubled life. It would be very easy for someone to opt to continue living in a place they aren’t happy in because they are afraid of being rejected by those living in places where they would rather live. there are communities that have dominant races. But planting these seeds in kids doesn’t only happen at home. and nothing changes.Sosa 3 explain the complex issue. Perhaps their caution for each other makes people treat one another differently in the work place or in everyday life. Another possible explanation could lie in how people treat each other. The kids are going to reflect our teachings. One possible reason is that ethnic or cultural group doesn’t have the drive to improve their position in life.

Fortunately. The school Rodriguez went to clearly was not meant to have any students who spoke different languages. Mike Davis comments on this lack of communication in Anna Deavere Smith’s book “Twilight Los Angeles”. However. we don’t seem to do this enough. This in today’s standards would be unacceptable. He talks about how the teacher didn’t know how to get him involved with the class and just had him sit at the back of the class because he didn’t speak English.Sosa 4 being different. At this rate students. A city that metaphorically neglects its younger generations to maintain old ways. The reason the focus is on the future generations of L. feel afraid of being judged or discriminated against in the class room. It got so bad. Davis says “… this is a city at war with its own children. we would have to look at the stereotypes we unintentionally feed our younger generations. Unfortunately. a place where they should feel safe and accepted for who they are. This means we can’t blame the youth for making the same mistakes older generations have made because that’s all they were taught. will never evolve and eventually will fail to properly function. This could be that parents are raising their kids to be warry of people who are different from themselves. is Luis Rodriguez when he recounts a childhood memory in his novel “Always Running”. I didn’t even tall anybody when I had to go the bathroom I did it in my pants” (Rodriguez 26). we need to focus on our kids. when he was being put into a new school.A. For us to evolve as a society from our darker habits. and refuses to talk to those children…” (Smith 29). Rodriguez says “It forced me to be more withdrawn. . To do this. kids still treat these non-English speaking differently. A prime example of this. most schools now have staff who aid in teaching students who speak different languages. is put well by Mike Barber of the Huffington Post when he says “The young students can't be blamed for their naiveté because they're not being given the tools needed in order to critically think about racism” (Barber).

even at the earliest of ages. when future generations take over Los Angeles. how it manifests and from where it comes” (Barber). children in the class room should be intergraded diversely to make them learn for themselves that they are all equal and the same. but gradually breaking the racial barriers in society is much more subtle than specifically teaching kids to question their parent’s opinions. this should be done indirectly through changing the way children are taught. we have to get serious about educating young minds about what racism is. This way. Parents influence these decisions by showing which are right and wrong. When it comes to recreational activities. Barber says “If we're going to be serious about ending racism. Almost every choice someone makes is influenced by their peers. With the conscience shaped by years of social coaching. The kids would need to be closely monitored to prevent racial barriers from forming. One might argue that the children’s parents have a greater influence on their lives. However. Allowing kids to interact with kids of other races and ethnicities will only alter they treat and feel about other people. Barber also comments on this call to action. The racial barriers between people will ultimately stop us from evolving. kids could actually end racial barriers and the . Some may even argue that this would teach kids to defy their parents. The greatest achievement for parents is for their kids to grow up to be better than their parents. but ultimately. the choice is made with peers in mind. Changing the way we teach our kids to interact is a monumental task when it comes to a nationwide movement. they can change the county for the better and allow the county to evolve. In their early years.Sosa 5 The procedure to take in changing the way we teach our younger generations lies in the class rooms and in recreational settings. However. but for Los Angeles to begin the change would be a good step. the same thing must be done. this would be underestimating the power of peers in a child’s life.

.Sosa 6 oppression that comes with them. thus showing previous generations that evolving is a possibility and that living hand in hand with people of all walks of life is a tangible goal.

Los Angeles Study Guide. 28-29. Smith. TheHuffingtonPost. Always Running: La Vida Loca. Web. Gang Days in L. n.p.d. 18 Nov. "Ending Racism Starts with Educating Youth. 2003. Print.Sosa 7 Work Cited Barber. N." Twilight--Los Angeles. 30 Nov. Web. NY: Dramatists Play Service. "Twilight. New York. CT: Curbstone. Smith. Anna Deavere.com. n. Print." Facing History and Ourselves. 2015. Anna Deavere. 1993. 1992.d. Luis J. 2015.. Rodriguez. Mike." The Huffington Post. "Surfer's Desert. Willimantic. .A.