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Ill-at-Ease in Compton

Published in 1967, Ill-at-Ease in Compton is a book of reportage, about the mechanisms of discrimination at work in Compton, California a city with a large lower middle-class population. Richard’s first visit to Compton (a population of 75,000 at the time), was during the 1964 election when he had been sent there to prepare a script about the community for an educational TV station. Compton had been picked as a typical Democratic town which was to be compared to a typically Republican town in program about voting patterns. When Elman reported that the population of Compton was nearly half Negro, the producer was aghast. “I asked for Main Street, U.S.A. and you’ve given me Harlem.” Elman was told to “shoot around” the Negroes. When this was done and the program appeared, it was “Just another piece of skullduggery in that long, squalid chronicle known as broadcasting history.” about the mechanisms of discrimination at work in Compton, California a city with a large lower middle-class population. Richard’s first visit to Compton (a population of 75,000 at the time), was during the 1964 election when he had been sent there to prepare a script about the community for an educational TV station. Compton had been picked as a typical Democratic town which was to be compared to a typically Republican town in program about voting patterns. When Elman reported that the population of Compton was nearly half Negro, the producer was aghast. “I asked for Main Street, U.S.A. and you’ve given me Harlem.” Elman was told to “shoot around” the Negroes. When this was done and the program appeared, it was “Just another piece of skullduggery in that long, squalid chronicle known as broadcasting history.”