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Oscar Medina
Ms. Kuroki
English 1a
9:15 am
30 March, 2015
The novel of Southland by Nina Revoyr emphasizes the history of racial injustice in
Crenshaw, discrimination, and bullying. This novel takes place in Los Angeles from a Japanese
culture along with African-Americans being involved. The novel begins in 1994 with a lot of
flashbacks and history from 1939 all the way through 1990, which shows three narratives in the
novel that, begins with, Frank Sakai on 1940s through 1960s. Frank is a Japanese old man, who
owned a store in Crenshaw and was a veteran in the world war two. Then Jackie Ishidia a
Japanese-American women in the 1990s, who is Frank granddaughter, and she wants to
investigate how her grandfather Frank Sakai dies unexpectedly. Jackie discovers that four
African-American boys died in the store due to been locked in a freezer. The four AfricanAmerican boys died during the Watts riot in 1965, and it was never investigated or testified. The
victims name who worked in Frank store was Curtis and David, along with other two young
boys who were involved.
Although it shows how Police officers bullied and how they treated the community by
being racist, hatred, and killing innocent people. No one should be punished or offended by the
color of their skin, and everybody should be treated like brothers and sisters. The community
needs to open up and get to know those who are color skins because they have a good heart. We
are all human beings, not animals, for color skins to be treated differently than the white color
skin. Afterwards, James Lanier whos an African-American comes along in 1994, who is the
cousin of one of the victims named Curtis Martindale that died inside Frank store in 1965. Lanier
wants to help Jackie to build a case of the boys death inside the store, but they need to get

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evidence, witnesses, and interviews with other people, so the murderer can be punish for what he
committed.
The connection between southland and the real world is that just like Jackie we all have
curiosity; so therefore, when we find important things from the past it can mean something. We
will go out of our way to find out what really happened, and do justice, for those whom were
innocent. Just because the boys are from a different color skin, they did not deserve to be taken
their life away by an Officer. Out there in the world its not the way how its supposed to be
because Police officers have the power to arrest and control the community by demanding them.
Nick was one of many corrupt police officers and things could have been different if the officer
was not racist, then the black boys could have still been living.
In southland racist people thought that other than whites; color skin people were useless
and dangerous. The solution to Nick Lawson the white officer, who bullied and profile Curtis
Martindale, is a bad example of representing law enforcements back in 1950. An Officer took
away innocent lives because the boys were colored skin with no protection and no rights. Nick
saw Curtis as a criminal because he caused trouble in school, but regardless of his actions he
would get blamed for everything because he was a different color skin, just like his family and
every one whom color skin was not white.
Just like today kids are getting bullied and are afraid of speaking up because they think
that worse things might happen, but in reality they are just harming their self. Curtis would let
everything go and lied to his mom when he got beat up and discriminated by Officer Lawson.
For example, Curtis and his friends found a guitar in the alley and they chose to pick it up, but as
soon as the police officer saw he assumed that they had stolen it because of his color skin.
Instead of the boys standing up for them selfs they started running like if they were criminals.
However, in the novel people assume that colored skins were all bad and they thought less of
them because of the color of their skin. In todays world things like that still exists, but not as

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much as before, now we all have rights and if any one including police officer were not
following the law they would get punished.
Riots are unstoppable and it all begins with hatred or and racial discrimination towards a
specific individual. During riots there are no rules and the community starts destroying public
and private places and go against to those whom they there are different. In addition, the novel
designates how the same race hated each other and betrayed same color skin. Thomas, a black
police officer, who became racist against African-American because he wanted Curtis Martindale
dead and it all happen during the Watts riot. That night During the Watts riot it was like a storm
because Nick Lawson along with other officers came to harass Curtis and to whomever was in
the store.
It all started with the white officer and ended up with the black officer, which he
committed to murder the boys in the store. The novel points out It wasnt me they had a
problem with, anyway. That older cop had some kid of grudge against Curtis against black kids
in general, I think (Pg 325). In reality, most of the times the same color skins are always killing
each other instead of getting along. Its terrifying knowing that even your own race can do such
things, but in Southland situation the African American police officer had no other choice.
Even now we see police doing the same thing. For example, I had a family member telling me
that he got a ticket, and when the officers pulled them over it turned to be with the attitude
towards them, and it was the same race. Compared to the other officer whom was not the same
race was even nicer. This does not make any sense when we start to think about it, but thats how
the world revolves.
In conclusion, if racism stops, then everybody would get along with each other and have
no issues with color skin. For instance, Jackie and Lanier had a good relationship, and even
seemed to be in a relationship because they were together in a mission to find out who the
murderer was. Jackie and Lanier would go on and investigate, interview witnesses, and those

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people who were at the scene during the Watts riot. Also People will not be afraid walking in the
street late at night or worrying about their personal things being taken away by another color
skin. For example, cell phones, purses, wallets, or jewelry because when an African-American
walks by then people feel unsafe showing it expose. We all judge people by the way there dress,
looks, or act and that is the way southland racism was. We might not do it the same way as the
novel, but if taken a close look then we are still continuing with prejudice.
Finally, the community needs to make a change and stop profiling Hispanics and Blacks
or anybody in general, because we are all trying to make a living in the US. People make errors
by stealing personal items, or robbing stores because some have needs, they do not have another
way to support a family or making a living, but that still doesnt make it right. We are all humans
and should not be treated like slaves or criminal regardless our gender, color, age, shape and or
even our way to dress. And even though some people do not show it, we all have feelings, and
they end up getting hurt, and they can even become suicidal. So next time we think of judging
someone because their appearance think before because we never know what the person can be
capable of.

Work Cited
"Biography." Nina Revoyr -. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2015
Revoyr, Nina. Southland. New York: Akashic, 2003. 30 Mar. 2015.