This area of Los Angeles, despite its poverty, is still a white district off limits to Bob (when he stepped into a bar “everyone in the joint got on their muscle” (139)). The scene is one of the novel’s turning points, one of the many times it builds to violence only to relent.
The dialogue here references the greater geographical distinction between the west and the south. Madge yells that just being alone in a room with a white woman would “get you lynched in Texas.” Bob counters with “this ain’t Texas” (147). Is he right? Are there any differences between the Los Angeles of If He Hollers Let Him Go and “the south”? If so, is it any better?