Readers React: There are ‘bad hombres’ in the U.S. — but they can be found in the White House, not at the border


To the editor: The fact that so many desperate families are bringing their children across the border sure shines a new light on the image of “bad hombres” who cross our southern border without authorization.

This rending of families and the placement of immigrant children in foster care against the wishes of their parents is a humanitarian crisis — and it proves who the “bad hombres”really are.

The prevailing wisdom that created the Zoot Suit Riot in Los Angeles in 1943 has not really changed. It is time for the United Nations to step in.


Bethia Sheean-Wallace, Fullerton


To the editor: I am a 93-year-old African American. I was caught up in the Zoot Suit Riot in 1943.

I had just completed my first year at UC Berkeley and was returning home to Los Angeles on the bus late at night. I left the downtown station and was confronted by a group of white sailors looking for trouble. I had returned home that June to what would become known as the Zoot Suit Riot.

The sailors’ attention turned to me because I was wearing wide trousers pegged at the bottom — the pants for the Zoot Suit. I was a convenient target.

Their threat to me was sufficient for me to jump on the first available street car in order to get out of there and home in one piece.

Ivan J. Houston, Los Angeles


To the editor: In a generally well-written article timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the so-called Zoot Suit Riot, columnist Gustavo Arellano gives readers the impression that anti-Mexican violence began in 1943.


On the contrary, it can be traced back to the 19th century, when Mexicans were lynched after the U.S.-Mexico War, and even back to 1492, when European countries committed genocide in the Americas.

It started not in Los Angeles, but rather centuries before when a social and economic system was created that valued profits over people.

Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval, Santa Barbara

The writer is a professor of Chicano and Chicana studies at UC Santa Barbara.

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