Class and Culture in Urban American

Powerful Essays
Class and Culture in Urban American

A gang is a loosely organized group of individual people who join forces for social reasons. Or anti-social reasons depending on how one looks at it. A person may join a gang for numerous reasons. These reasons include the need for “identity, discipline, recognition, love, money, and belonging.” 5 “Today there are approximately 274 Blood and Crip gangs in Los Angeles County alone.” 1 The gangs that are often in the news are usually made up of African-Americans. “African-Americans first formed street gangs in the late 1920s and early 1930s on the east side of Los Angeles near Central and Vernon Avenues. They were also forming in the downtown area of Los Angeles around the same time.” 4

Los Angeles is not the only area where gangs are visible, but it is often the area that will be associated with the topic of gang violence. “During the years to follow the early 1930s, African-Americans began to move south from downtown Los Angeles, down Central Ave towards Slauson Avenue.” 4 Whites primarily occupied this area during the 1920s, but African-Americans started moving in when the 1930s began. As the years went on and the time became closer to the present, these old gangs faded away, and new gangs surfaced. These new gangs were a more violent, dangerous type of group. Confrontations that would have led to fistfights in the 1930s progressed into fights that included chains, knives, and guns during the 1970s and 1980s.

The two main names that will be associated with gang crime and activity these days are the Bloods and the Crips. These two names raise fear in most members of the community in the United States. The Bloods and the Crips are names that are synonymous with bloody ...

... middle of paper ..., and parents to do their part. Together maybe we can put a halt to gang activity all together.


1James Haskins, Street Gangs: Yesterday and Today. (Hastings House, Publishers of New York, 1984).

6G. Larry Mays, Gangs and Gang Behavior. (Nelson-Hall, Publishers of Chicago, 1997).

7Mary G. Harris, Ed. D., Girls and Gangs. (AMS Press, of New York, 1988).

8Susan A. Phillips, Wallbangin: Graffiti and Gangs in L. A.. (The University of Chicago Press, 1999).

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