During World War II, many minorities in the United States saw an increase in opportunities as a result of the war. Many American citizens left to fight in the war, and as a result many job opportunities became available. Jobs that were previously held by white men were now filled with African American males and Mexican Americans. This was a huge social change because it led to an increase in minority populations in major cities throughout the United States. However, as is often the case, one social change led to another. The increase in minority population as minorities flocked to major cities resulted in increased dissatisfaction and racism from the Anglo community. This dissatisfaction led to multiple conflicts, which later led to the most dynamic social change: increased racism.
One minority that saw an increase in opportunities during World War II was African Americans. Before the war, most African Americans lived in rural areas in the south, but during the war many migrated to the North to fill factory jobs that were vacated by whites who went to fight at war. In Detroit, a riot broke out in which whites protested the selling of apartments to African Americans. The protest turned violent and white soldiers even joined, leaving thirty five blacks dead. Similarly, many Mexican Americans left rural farms in the Southwest and migrated to Los Angeles for job opportunities and many more immigrated from Mexico. Labor unions in California resented the Mexican Americans because they did not like the competition. The citizens of LA were afraid the Mexican youth and their gangs and all of this combined to form tension in the city.Eventually, hundreds of white sailors invaded Los Angeles and targeted the Mexican gangs as violence broke out and many were left dead. Meanwhile, the press blamed the gangs.
All of the tensions and riots resulted in the major social change that occurred in the United States following the war: racism. While the minorities were simply looking to seize opportunities presented by the war, the whites did not view it this way. The tension during the war led to increased racism after the war that would not improve until the civil rights movement.