Data From Watts Riot

The racial language that appears among the most frequent in my collection is Negro. The most distinctive word is police. Is this language what you expected it to be based on the lectures? Yes, since the riot was ultimately a confrontation between the black community in Los Angeles Watts area and the police but extended to the National Guard.

Create a table of the 5 most frequent words in your collection of documents and 5 most distinctive words in each of your documents (excluding the racial language). Are the most frequent words what you expected them to be? Are there any OCR errors among the results?

Police area
Said hospital
Riot know
City citizens
people told

*I removed the OCR errors like Los and Angeles.

I expected more action verbs of description of destruction like fire, looting, etc.

Choose one word from the list of frequent words and one word from the list of distinctive words (excluding the racial language) and explain why it is so frequent or so distinctive? The word police is the most frequently used because the riots began with a police officer stopping a negro/black man for speeding and eventually drunk driving.  His brother ran home a few blocks to tell their mother about it since he was driving her car and that alerted other citizens of the community who came out to witness the scene. They became upset and the violence started to escalate from there.

Use the Contexts, Word Tree, Collocates, and Links tools available in Voyant to look at where in the documents the words appear, their context and the words that appear around them.

Does the word have the same meaning everywhere it is used? Police in collocate had basically the same meaning just different levels within the organization (officers, chief, etc.).  In word tree, the words surrounding the police varied from asked to more aggressive words like taunted and attacked.  

Using the racial language, and the most frequent and distinctive words, compare the white newspaper and the black newspaper – what does the comparison suggest about the perspective of each source?

The white newspaper talks more about the injuries sustained by the police when attacked by a rioters and a mob.  The characterize the rioters as violent negroes and youth terrorizing the neighborhoods.  The police are called upon to protect the citizens in the white version.

The black newspaper uses the term lawlessness to describe the event.  It describe police as a brute force but yet acknowledge the worst uprising in the history of LA.  The black newspaper blamed the escalation on the police in LA not knowing how to work with the citizens/minorities in the Watts area to quell violence and aggression.

Using the racial language, and the most frequent and distinctive words, compare the newspapers and the report – what does the comparison suggest about the perspective of each source?

In the white newspaper, the frequency of police word highlights that prominence given to the perspective and activity of the police in the press reporting, and the criticism of police made in the report. A graph of the relative frequency of police was more prominent in the white newspapers as in black newspapers, highlighting their greater reliance on the police perspective.

The racial term negro was always referred to in the negative as instigators of the riots and destructive of the neighborhoods.

In the black newspaper, the term police were associated more with brutality and oppression.

How well does the text analysis fit with what you identified as the key feature of your riot and the label you applied to it in the first assignment? Does knowing details of the language used in accounts of the riot change or not change what you think is the key feature and label of your riot? Explain why.

I thought it was difficult to choose just one dimension that most defined the events of the Watts Rebellion in 1965. The duration of the riot stood out at six days and the $40 million worth of property damage, to 1,000 buildings over a 50 square mile area of Los Angeles.  The asymmetry of the damage was primarily to African-American neighborhoods as was the number of people injured or killed. Most of the 34 dead were Black citizens. Two policemen and one firefighter were among the casualties, and 26 deaths, mostly the result of Los Angeles Police Department or National Guard actions, were deemed justifiable homicides.

The analysis fits with my key feature since I noted the asymmetry.  The police were involved from the beginning in a confrontation with a negro/black male.  Throughout the analysis, the word police appeared over an over but in different contexts depending on the black or white perspective.  The white perspective looked at police at protectors while the black perspective looked at police at oppressors.  The results indicated the asymmetry because mostly black communities and lives were lost. 

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