In an interview with Songfacts, lead singer Steve Perry said that the song was inspired by the Zoot Suit Riots, which began in Los Angeles in 1943, sparked by rising tensions between the American servicemen stationed in Southern California and the Los Angeles Mexican-American community. (Source Zoot Suit Riot Songfacts).
Who's that whisperin' in the trees?
It's two sailors and they're on leave
Pipes and chains and swingin' hands
Who's your daddy? Yes I am