Zoot Suit Questions and Answers
by Luis Valdez

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Was there ever any compensation or reparations given to the targeted people(s) or the descendants of the targeted group?

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The zoot suit riots occurred in Los Angeles during World War II -- 1942 and 1943 to be exact.  The riots featured white sailors and other servicemen fighting with Mexican-American youths.

No compensation or reparations were ever given to anyone as a result of these riots.  In your question, I assume you refer to the Mexican-Americans when you use the term "targeted group."

The two most likely reasons why reparations were never given are

  1. Unlike the Japanese internment, this was not an overt government action that had the force of law.  While it was government troops that attacked the Chicanos, they were not acting under official orders.
  2. Also unlike the internment, it is not clear that the Chicanos were completely innocent.  In clashes between young men, it is often hard to identify who caused what.  One can certainly argue that there was wrong done by both sides.

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