Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

L.A. Youth Set the Record Straight About South L.A. Stereotypes

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

watts-high-school-stories.jpg
Photo by jorizaga via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr


Photo by jorizaga via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
L.A. Youth, the 1988-founded newspaper by and about teens in Los Angeles, yesterday came out with an article featuring students from English classes at Locke High School #3 in Watts. The assignment was to "write about growing up in South Central L.A. to show people what their lives are really like."

15-year-old Yesenia Reyes was in Marina Del Rey when "group of white guys gawking at her] like [she] was an unknown species." Afterwards, one came up to apologize and introduced himself. But then:

After I told him I was from South Central, he asked me if I wanted to go smoke weed with him. “Of course not. I never have,” I responded. He looked confused.

“I thought that you smoked. I thought that every Mexican in South Central smoked,” he said. I was hurt, but I just smiled and bit my tongue. I didn’t want to argue with a stranger. Besides, I wanted to be nice to him so that maybe I could change his mind about “Mexicans.” (I’m actually Salvadorian.)

Frank Reed, 16:
Support for LAist comes from
I want to walk past a police officer without getting judged as a criminal because of my skin color. And I want to be able to walk around my neighborhood and wear whatever colors I want without being stereotyped as a gang member or a drug dealer. I’m not either of those things. I want to go to college, I want to study to become a lawyer and someday, a judge.

L.A. Youth editors worked with the students to adapt their stories for publish. Also of interest are teen reactions to the U.S. Census' race question.