Reflections on Historical Racial Unrest in South Los Angeles and Contemporary Turmoil at Jefferson High School Nidia Garcia, Sergio Hernandez, and Natalie Simon
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This study examines black and Latino race relations within South Los Angeles, specifically Jefferson High School during and after the occurrence of a series of racial conflict during the 2004-2005 academic calendar. We analyze racial deprivation of public services, economic stability, and black and Latino concerns over policing and changing demographics within the historic context of the Watts Riot of 1965 and the Los Angeles Unrest of 1992. We argue that although the socioeconomic conditions within South LA provided the fuel for such violence, inequality of education is the leading factor in sparking race riots after racial group concerns over such conditions have been minimally challenged or ignored. In a case study of Jefferson High School, our interview results show that most students and parents do not consider race but gangs to be the fuel that started the media reported ?race riots.? Similarly, interview and participant observation of faculty and ?help? organizations point to the racialized gang violence spilling into the school that instigate racial conflict. We purport that because South LA has a history of economic decline and social unrest, this effects contemporary inter-group relation between blacks and Latinos at Jefferson High School. Furthermore, the absence or minimal participation of such stakeholders within intervention strategies alienates their concerns and leads to exclusive organized efforts in response to such conflict.