Zoot Suit Questions and Answers
by Luis Valdez

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What are some cultural/racial themes in Luis Valdez's Zoot Suit and "My Ride, My Revolution"? Is there a message that Luis is trying to portray throughout the play?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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Luis Valdez's play Zoot Suit is primarily about the relationships among justice, race, ethnicity, and cultural representation. The flamboyant young men who enjoy displaying their style through the unique, elaborate suits they wear are using fashion as an arena of competition amongst themselves. The specific style also emphasizes their group solidarity.

Members of the dominant white society, however, associate this fashion trend with a set of negative stereotypes they have about Mexican Americans. The European American characters seem to believe that all young Mexican American men are gang members or “pachucos.” The resentment extends to the their very presence. They be inconspicuous, and they should not show up to certain locations.

The 1940s era in which the play is set provides...

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