Artist: Luis Valdez
Confronting Bodies: Santana High School
Date of Action: 1994
Specific Location: Santee, California
Description of Artwork: Film "Zoot Suit," which depicts prejudice against Mexican Americans in Los Angeles during World War II. The film contains strong language and scenes of violence between U.S. servicemen and Mexican Americans.
Description of Incident: English teacher, Reiko Obata, decided to show "Zoot Suit" to her eleventh grade class to help counteract prejudice against Mexican Americans at the predominantley white school. Obata followed school policy for viewing an "R" rated movie by requesting permission from the parents of her students. However, school officials blocked the film's showing, citing that it did not relate to school subject matter.
Results of Incident: The school suspended Obata with pay for the remainder of the semester. After recieving 200 signatures requesting that the decision be reversed, the school decided to view "Zoot Suit" however no students attended it's showing.
Source: Artistic Expression Under Attack, 1995
Submitted By: NCAC