Law Changes In "The Chavez Ravine" By Eric Avila

Throughout all of history, laws have been found to be manipulated by those in position of power, simply because laws are often vague, or subliminally discriminating toward minority groups that are vulnerable. Countless times, this has been the case, but this specific incident that is brought to light in the play, “Chavez Ravine,” by Culture Clash, is one that targets a specific group not because of their culture or color, but their socioeconomic status.

“Revisiting the Chavez Ravine,” by Eric Avila, also helps by introducing exclusive information, and providing another perspective. “Chavez Ravine” does a great job showing the importance of remembering this event and exposing the unlawful jurisdiction that allows socioeconomic injustice to take play because it serves as a precedent for future law legislature, insinuates that a community needs to unite in order to come out on top, and that American society tends to scapegoat for the sake of American patriotism.

Although the event at Chavez Ravine was very unfortunate for the community there, it serves as a precedent for future law legislature. For example, “.the 1994 Taft-Ellender Wagner Act. This act which enabled the replacement of so-called slums with public housing in cities throughout the nation” (Avila 125). This was thought to be an appropriate, righteous act, but in reality it was quite the opposite. It contradicted with the rights that were in place so that the people wouldn’t lose their homes and actually resulted in people losing their homes. Perhaps this stands as a great example for when legislature wants to infringe on the rights of the people for the “betterment” of all. That being said, anyone can refer to this moment in history, making it an influencer in any similar legislation in the future.

In order for a community to fight against discriminatory laws and win, they must unite, and show heart; they must show strength in numbers, and not dwindle when the pressure is towering. Unfortunately, this was not the case in, “While most inhabitants of the Ravine abided by the instructions of the City Housing Authority, a handful of residents who did not share the official view of their neighborhood as a slum expressed their intention to remain in place” (Avila 125). Evidently, the people of Chavez Ravine were not unified when fighting for their rights. Most of the people accepted the money thinking it was a good deal, and others just didn’t mind conforming to an American ideology. Either way, the fact that they were not fighting as one, was a huge factor to why they lost their homes.

As seen a lot throughout American history, society tends to scapegoat a certain group, typically a certain culture, for the sake of American patriotism. When this occurs, anything that opposes American ideology is painted as the “bad guy” in the picture. What ensues from this is the ability for Americans to feasibly criminalize anything in the path of what they envision; “The land of the free.” As seen in “Chavez Ravine,” city officials had no problem taking the homes away from residents and even had mass support from the conformed Americans, despite the blatant socioeconomic discrimination toward Chavez Ravine residents. This demonstrates the potentially criminal extent Americans are willing to achieve in order to pursue “liberty.” America likes to portray itself as an objective haven for every being, regardless of variance, yet the Chavez Ravine incident heavily contradicts with American ideology and values.

Ultimately, remembering the incident that happened at Chavez Ravine is important and beneficial to the nation. Because of it, we as a country are able to prevent some unjust laws from surfacing. Also, the occurrence has influenced the way cultures advocate for themselves; they are more unified, compared to that of the residents of Chavez Ravine. In addition, the general population is more supporting of these minority groups, or subcultures, than before. Lastly, scapegoating has become more difficult to stimulate.

Today, society, especially the media, has to be a lot more wary about their message if it comes with a malicious intent. This makes it less possible for patriotism to blind those who believe in the American dream. The outcome of Chavez Ravine may not have been fair, but it is a moment in history that will never be forgotten, and it shall forever be remembered as a blunder that we as a country want to eschew.

11 February 2020
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