A Riot of Color

The Demographic Setting of Civil Disturbance in Los Angeles

by Peter A. Morrison, Ira S. Lowry

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This paper examines the demographic and socioeconomic context of the Los Angeles riot of April 1992. The authors consider how recent waves of immigration have changed the ethnic composition of Los Angeles's largest black ghetto, setting the stage for interethnic conflict, and how the ghetto population's economic and family characteristics augmented the supply of potential rioters. The characteristics of the arrested rioters and of their targets are inconsistent with the common view that this disturbance was primarily a "rebellion" by blacks against white injustice.

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