Gangs and gangsters. I’ve briefly discussed this topic before in this blog, but I’m going to describe them in two different perspectives today. I will then relate my experiences to the larger society, both in the past and present.
Before I begin, let me establish my two stances: I’m going to first assume the role of an outsider. Society might deem this person as a “normal”, compliant, functional member of society. I will then assume the role of an insider, where I explain the origins and background of those I will describe.
Thoughts of gangs as an outsider:
They’re dysfunctional members of society. Their rebellious behaviors cause them to drop out of school, be it secondary, primary, or higher education. They’re lazy and unmotivated. They indulge in heavy drinking and drug use; many of them start selling controlled substances for revenue. They perform illegal activities, and as a group, maintain power in numbers. They frighten complacent, innocent bystanders, and they revolt against peacekeepers. They plot against other rival gangs and wage war against them, for those who establish the biggest empire becomes empowered.
Thoughts of gangs as an insider:
Luis J. Rodriguez lamented, “What to do with those whom society cannot accommodate? Criminalize them. Outlaw their actions and creations. Declare them the enemy, then wage war. Emphasize the differences – the shade of skin, the accent in the speech or manner of clothes.” An outsider might make all those aforementioned assumptions based on their preconceived notions, personal observations, or from various mass media sources.
I used to be an outsider. Although some of my friends agree with my “Outsider” description, every one of those assumptions once belonged to my own mental vocabulary. As I slowly built my networking and started meeting gangbangers, my mentality quickly changed.
I know many gangbangers. As I built relationships with them, finding out why they “bang” became ever-so-obvious. I’ve been inside their household, and I’ve driven around the neighborhoods they walked and played on. I’ve seen the colors they represent. I’ve seen some of the straps they carry. I’ve observed the ink they wear. I’ve listened to their stories. I’ve met their siblings, parents, uncles and aunts, and nieces. I’ve met their friends, and I’ve seen their kids.
What I see isn’t the same thing as what many other people see. I see regular human beings. I am as similar and different to them as I am with Bill Gates, with Kobe Bryant, and with an al Qaeda militant. We’re all essentially the same; in biological terms, we’re homo sapiens: bipedal primates on Earth.
So, what is it that makes these people different? I’d very much like to discuss how their skin color, living environment, social status, and family demographics play an enormous role (and they MOST CERTAINLY do), but I’d like to talk about the most important, but least obvious fact: conflict of interests.
The origins of numerous gangs in the US (a brief history lesson):
In the United States, Chinese secret societies (tongs) first formed to protect themselves (physically and financially) against the Whites. The White working class despised the Chinese competitors, for they worked more efficiently for lower wages. They forced legislators to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act (CEA).
Because there was a need for labor (slavery was now “abolished” and the CEA was imposed), the Japanese were then allowed to emigrate into the states. The government then set up authorities to dissuade the two ethnic minorities from collaborating into unions and collective groups. They often spread rumors or had them plot against the other. A couple example would be, when the Chinese people held strikes for better working conditions and/or higher wages, the Whites would pay the Japanese workers higher wages for promise of future obedience. When the Koreans established their existence in the States, the plantation owners loved plotting them against the Japanese.
These examples apply to Blacks, Latinos, and every other ethnic minority in the States. These people are systematically set up against each other by the Whites, for fear of… whatever it is they fear of. I actually do have a theory of what their fear is, but unfortunately, I have a feeling it would be better not to state it publicly. I feel as though I am already treading dangerous waters.
Some people call this racism. I propose a different thesis, for those who think that this is racism are greatly misinformed (as you’ve read above, we are all biologically identical). Laws are passed, police organizations are built, and groups of people are discriminated against to protect the empowered peoples’ (Whites) interests. They then spread false words and accusations to gain the general population’s support.
Time Magazine December 22, 1941. “How To Tell Your Friends From The Japs.”
Following the Pearl Harbor bombings, this picture was published. Read the baseless descriptions of the two photos. Afterward, embrace the irony that is about to bestow upon you: the descriptions were reversed following World War II, when China became a communist country and Japan became an allied nation.
It’s not racism. The only racists in the world are the idiots that don’t stop and think for two seconds that all the stereotypes and slander is actually systematically created. Rivaling Chicano gangs in the 70s were slowly dwindling down on the violence, for they were sick of killing each other; they agreed to have a cease fire and created an alliance to rebuild the community. After hearing this, the policemen reacted. They fired upon one gang while yelling out (representing) another gang. They repeated this process several times. They also searched for and arrested the leaders of the alliance. That’s not racism. That’s a conflict of interests for those in power.
First off, I’m not going to lie: I’ve spent two days writing and revising this blog post. This is the longest time I’ve ever spent writing a single entry, perhaps seven hours total. Although I doubt my reader-base is large, I am concerned about specific target audiences reading this. However, what I speak of is the truth. Virtually every ethnic minority in the US has encountered systematic discrimination before. I could personally vouch for Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Asian Indians, and African American people; I’ve written several papers about their harsh experiences.
I don’t fear any of my friends that others call “gangsters”. They’re regular people who are struggling with an institutionalized behavior established by those who are empowered. A large portion of these friends of mine are Latino. When I think of Latinos and the larger society, I think of the Arizona’s current state. I think of the DREAM Act’s denial. These current issues only touch the surface of the almost uncountable instances of Ethnic Minorities v. The Empowered People of the US.
If I ever work for the UN, a Peace Corps Officer, or as a diplomat, I wonder if I could better the world…
P.S. Just realized that this is my 100th post.