Symbolic Criminalization In Latin America

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As a result of the low economy, and constant wars, due to the United States funding Latin American countries’ military and police forces, which are usually controlled by gangs and cartels, Latin Americans are feeling unsafe in their home countries. Latin Americans seemed forced to flee due political and financial barriers (Abrego 26). As established in Abrego’s book, fathers who migrated during the civil war claimed that it was because a family member was being persecuted and they seemed to face life or death situations constantly (Abrego 32). These persecutes common in Latin America even when there is not a war due to gangs and cartels having more money and being more manipulative they control authorities and use them to attack anything that…show more content…
This system consist material and symbolic criminalization. Material criminalization is when authorities harass youth, and youth are held to this zero-tolerance polices, which excluded youth from settings that would benefit them. These policies usually lead youth to a detention rooms, or incarcerations. Symbolic criminalization consists of youth’s daily experience with being profiled, stigmatized and closely observed during every action they take just waiting for youth to commit an error and be placed in jail. These forms of authorities criminalizing youth can be easily justified by them using youth’s own stereotypes to work against them. Despite the strength of this system, youth found ways to resist either through committing violent crimes, or politically organizing and returning to schools (Rios 41). A perfect example of a youth resisting is Mike, who stole a bag of chips after being accused of coming into the store to steal by the store clerk (Rios 106). Mike’s form of resistance was to follow these criminalized roles he was given. His race, the way he was dressed, and the people he was with gave the impression that he was up to no good. However, the store clerk performed a symbolized criminalization by observing every move they made throughout the store and profiling the youth as troublemakers and potential criminals by the way they looked. Many youth’s forms of resistance were to live up to the low expectations that society had created for them. As well as by showing Hyper-masculinity, a form of emphasizing man’s role of being unafraid, because youths witnessed that only by doing that could they gained
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