A Riot of Color

The Demographic Setting

Published in: The Los Angeles Riots: Lessons for the Urban Future / M. Baldassare (ed.) (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1994), Chapter 2, p. 19-46

by Peter A. Morrison, Ira S. Lowry

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The Los Angeles riots of 1992 were examined in the context of changing demographic and socioeconomic conditions. There was not support for the notion that the disturbance was a rebellion of Blacks against Whites. In fact, the ethnic composition of the area in question was mixed, and over 50% of those arrested were Hispanics. The main thesis of this demographic analysis was that the setting was conducive to the resulting conflict; the preconditions for South Central's riots were ethnic conflict and competition for limited resources and the availability of large numbers of young men ready to participate in unrest.

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