Latino Gangs Case Study

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1. Latinos as biggest minority in the US According to Juana Bordas “the Latino population in the United States grew by 43 percent in the last decade, accounting for more than half of the population gain” (IX). As a consequence the Latinos represent one of the largest and most diverse groups in the USA (cf. Saenz 352). The word Latino is often mistaken with the word Hispanic. Any person with an Latin American origin living in the United States can be defined as a Latino but being Hispanic refers to people who have their roots in a country whose primary language is Spanish (cf. Garcia-Navarro n.p.). Rogelio Saenz found out that the Latinos started as a minority with slightly more than 500,000 citizens in 1900 (cf. 352). But CNN shows that “as…show more content…
2. History of Latino gangs Gangs are defined as 'any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of one ore more of the criminal acts […], which has a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity. ' whereas a gang member is defined as 'any person who actively participates in any gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, and who willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang. ' (Hoover n.p.) Latino gangs began forming in California during the early 1920s and started as loose-knit groups1 for unity and socializing in the barrios2 where everybody had the same culture, customs and language. Potential gang members were male youths with the age of 14 to 20 committing crimes such as burglary, strong-arm robbery, and vandalism. Later the order for committing a crime became a way of gaining status within…show more content…
Many of the markings of gangs are symbols and they have symbolic meaning for gang members. Some of these symbols are so meaningful that disrespecting the graffiti can be lethal for one person who paints over it or disrespects it in some other way. (ch. 4) Graffiti of Latino gangs is different than graffiti of other gangs. It is more ornate and the individual writer 's name appears smaller than the name of the gang in order to show that the individual isn 't as important as the gang as a whole (cf. Carlie ch. 4). Graffiti can also be used to honor a fallen member or to demonstrate for the freedom of a gang member who is in jail with the word “Free...” and his or her name (cf. Martinez n.p.). “Tattoos are much like graffiti, communicating one thing or another to other people and making a statement to them about one 's self” claims Carlie (ch. 4). The inked mark on the skin may signify a connection to a gang, one 's status within the gang, past life experiences, and can be used to honor important people who have died like family members or other gang members. Tattoos often symbolize “manliness” and appear intimidating towards others (cf.
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