Due Tonight part 1: In chapter 1, (P. 10 – 13) your text discusses stereotypes of gangs. List one stereotype you were aware of and one you weren’t awar

part 1:

In  chapter 1, (P. 10 – 13) your text discusses stereotypes of gangs.  List  one stereotype you were aware of and one you weren’t aware of.  As you  watched the Gang Starr video did you see or hear anything that may  contribute to stereotyping? What is an important question you have about  gang stereotypes? What are the facts? What is your reaction to gang  stereotypes?

part 2:

Define  a Zoot Suiter.  See pages 54-59. What happened involving these youth in  the 1940s? How long did this incident last?  What role did the police  play in this incident? How did stereotyping play a role in this  situation?

What question do you have about Zoot Suiters?  Use the Inquiry Based  Learning method to answer your own question. Ask your question, conduct  your inquiry, create a list of facts, then reflect and discuss.

 Having trouble with a question?   Here are a couple of example  questions, “Are Zoot Suiters a street gang?”  or “Are Zoot Suiters still  relevant today?

Gangs: Counting Gangs & Gang Stereotypes

PA352 – Gang Theory

Rated: Adult Content and Disturbing Language

Objectives for Today’s Class

For today’s class we are going to cover the general description of Gangs and Gang Members.

Define Stereotype

Attributes of Gang Members

Colors and Gangs

Stereotypes of Gangs

Impact of Stereotypes

Statistics About Gangs

Class Activity – Part 1

So far you have a name for your gang, you have a territory and you each have a moniker.

Now let’s add some colors to your gang and develop a hand sign.

An “OG” from each table will come up and take a slip of paper with a number on it. Then when I call your number, you can come up and select the bandanas your gang wants to wear.

The gang with the next number can take from another gang or from the table. If a gang’s colors are taken from them they will go up to the table and select a new set of bandanas. A bandana can only be taken 3 times then it is locked in. You have 1 minute at the table to select your ideal bandana.

Class Activity – Part 2

In your group develop a hand-sign. You can be as creative as you want however, you can’t incorporate any profanity or sexual suggestion into your hand sign.

Then create a motto you will use for your greeting. Again, no derogatory terms associated with race or sex and no profanity.

When you come to class you will sign in with your moniker under your gang name on the dry erase board. You will greet each other by flashing your hand-sign and repeat your motto.

The Reality of Gang Stereotypes

All of you have an image of a gang member. Is your image accurate? Are gang members mostly inner-city minority males who love to fight, wear certain clothing, have tattoos, wear “bling,” carry guns, and sell drugs? Are they big “beefy” Italian types that wear 3-piece suits and run prostitution, gambling and drug operations? According to your author this is true in many cases but in other cases gang members may look much different from the stereotypical image most people have of gang members. The fact is there are a wide variety of gangs and gang members and some neatly fit the ”profile” while many in today’s world are not recognized for their gang membership and criminal activities.

Where Do Gangs Come From?

Where do gangs originate? Researchers such as Frederick Thrasher discovered that friendship is the basic connection that links gang members to one another. The fact is that many gang members knew one another before forming a gang. Most of these gangs started out as play groups.

This type of gang that forms from an informal association of friends is called a spontaneous gang. This gang was unplanned but just happened. The activities evolve from hanging out, sports, school to crime and criminal activity.

However, once a gang is formed and develops a history/reputation over time, the gang becomes a deliberate gang, developing a structure, subculture and avenue for recruitment to maintain gang strength.

(P. 8)

Gang Practices

Interaction among gang members varies with the size and complexity of the gang. In larger gangs it is common for interaction to be limited to immediate cliques or sets (close knit group). Hard-core members associate with one another almost exclusively, while peripheral members may associate with people outside of the gang, along with other gang members. Gangs will mobilize everyone when a criminal act of retaliation is pending. This mobilization increases group cohesiveness. Primarily it is the hard-cores who form “traveling cliques” in order to patrol turf, marketplaces, hang out at parks, or become involved in planned crimes from assaults on other gang members to “flash” crimes. The gang is dependent on shared activities from socialization (partying) to crime, otherwise the gang will dissolve. (P.9)

What Gang Members Value

Social interaction among gang members allows for the transmission of subcultural beliefs and attitudes. Younger gang members learn such values not only from older gang members but are also influenced by the surrounding adult culture as well. Individuals who may be “retired” from gang life but have lots of street cred, will share stories with young bangers on the what to’s and what not to’s of gang living.

Primarily the traits of manhood, such as toughness, street smarts, being cool, and excitement are dominant core values. As a result, core gang members often act, dress and attempt to look tough. Their stories are about combat with other males to build their reputation in the “Hood” for being “tough” and “aggressive.” A core gang member will never “punk out” or act like a “candy ass.” Note: The “manhood” trait varies from culture to culture

According to Delaney, ”People in lower socioeconomic classes possess limited resources, and they are expected to defend the items they do possess. Thus, the importance of toughness comes into play.”

Of course, Loyalty and having other member’s backs is highly valued in addition to the capacity to make money. (P. 9)

Let’s Watch

Gang Stereotypes & The Media

The primary ways we get our “images” and “understanding” about gangs and gang activities is through the media.


Print Media

Social Media

Video Games



What does a Gang Member Look Like?

Let’s break out into our groups and what I would like you to do is to describe a “gang member.”

You can use any context or image that you would like. But describe a gang member and their activities.

Gang Stereotypes?

Where Do Gang Stereotypes Come From?

In your groups list three different areas that contribute to gang stereotypes?

Stereotype Definition

What is a stereotype?

In your group come up with a definition for stereotype.

Then create one example of a stereotype involving gender

Let’s Watch – Gang Starr

Stereotypes of Gangs

As you all discussed and pointed out, the image many people have of a gang member is greatly influenced by the media. A large segment of the population remains relatively removed from the daily problems that gangs represent in certain communities. Thus our knowledge of gangs is limited to what we see in the news, hear in music or see on television/movies or what is spread on social media.

Stereotype Definition & Example

Stereotype Definition:

A standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.”


For Example:

From “girls suck at math” and “men are so insensitive” to “he is getting a bit senile with age” or “Athletes struggle at university”, there’s no shortage of common cultural stereotypes about social groups.


What are some of the Stereotypes?

There are a number of stereotypes of street gangs, some based on current realities, others based on popular culture and media presentation on gangs.

1.Gangs are a black or Hispanic problem – Gangs today like gangs since their early days reflect societal prejudice and discrimination. That is any category of people being victimized by society is most likely to dominate the gang world. Gang problems are a societal problem not a black or Hispanic problem.

2. Only males are gang members. While the vast majority are, there are female gang members as we shall study later on in the semester.

3. All gang members come from poor broken families. There are gang members from all socioeconomic backgrounds. The reasons for joining gangs are varied thus there is no one single reason why a person joins a street gang. Having said that there are some gangs where the members are comprised of disadvantaged at-risk youth without access to jobs, counseling, recreation etc.

Stereotypes List Continued

4. Street gangs are an inner-city problem. While it is true that there are gangs in the inner cities of some of American’s largest cities, gangs and their activities exist in all areas of the country, rural, suburban and urban.

5. Street gangs are the same today as in the past. While some traditional gangs do still exist, most current gangs are far removed from their historical roots, the changing population of members brings with it their own subcultures, many are more financial driven rather than territorial and the advent of “Hybrid” gangs even counters the ”ethnic only” gangs. “Hybrid” = Situational and short term secondary groups.

6. Members of gangs are in for life. Many gangs now have fewer hard cores and less control allowing members to join and quit without repercussions. There are only a handful of gangs that are “For Life” members such as the Mexican Mafia, The Italian Mafia, MS-13 etc.

Stereotype List Continued

7. Gangs are too disorganized to run criminal enterprises. While many street gangs especially those that are newer and younger have more emphasis on the social/confrontational aspects, older more entrenched gangs have relationships with international/transnational criminal organizations and partner with them to commit complex crimes. These gangs are highly organized in their structure and business practices.

8. All gangs are the same. There is a great diversity in street gangs in regards to settings from neighborhood to motorcycle gangs to prison gangs, types of process, structure, criminal activity etc.

9. Gangs are really groups of misunderstood youth similar to those depicted in West Side Story. Many at-risk youth understand the risks of living in a gang dominated neighborhood and fully understand the choice to associate to be safe or to participate in recreational activities, as with all children in this age group, gang members are trying to develop a sense of independence, reject authority, are risk takers and are subject to peer pressure. Gangs offer one alternative to ”Life’s Problems” associated with growing up.

10. All gang members commit crime. Not every gang member lives a life of crime, many more non-gang youth commit delinquent acts, but the percentage of violent crimes is higher with those associated with gang membership.

The Impact of Stereotypes

In your groups list some of the impact

That stereotyping may have on gangs

Policing and Stereotyping Gangs

Laws can be written that may result from stereotypes that are derived from media and other influences.

Law Enforcement policies as related to gangs can be shaped by stereotypes.

This leads to the unwanted and unnecessary discrimination against minority youth by police.

For ex- ample, in 2013, in the face of sustained public criticism and constitutional litigation over racial disparity in its stop-and-frisk encounters, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) issued several directives that discouraged racial profiling and increased the reporting requirements for such encounters

Although it seems unlikely that the directives would have instantly transformed any beliefs or biases held by individual NYPD officers, the directives produced

an immediate, steep decline in the number of stop-and-frisk encounters, and

by 2015 the racial disparity in such encounters had been eliminated (MacDonald & Braga 2019).

If we are looking to reduce racial disparity in stops, searches, and use of force by police, researchers must identify, and policy makers must address, the contextual factors that may frame officers’ judgments and behaviors.


Policy and Practice based on Stereotypes

Although between 11% and 27% of self-identified gang members are estimated to be White, and White gang members report levels of criminal offending equal to those of their non-White counterparts, a powerful racial stereotype associates gang membership with Latinx and especially Black boys and young men (Esbensen & Carson 2012, Esbensen et al. 2008, Natl. Gang Cent. 2014). Thus, for example, over the past 20 years in Chicago, police officers recorded more than 128,000 adults and 33,000 children and youths in a database of gang members and “gang-affiliated” persons (Sweeney 2018, Sweeney & Fry 2018). Nearly all were non-White, with 95% of adults logged as Black or Hispanic (Dumke 2018). The criteria used to identify people as gang members or affiliates were not made public. Despite evidence that the “gang” listings were riddled with obvious errors (Dumke 2018, Sweeney & Fry 2018), the department had no procedure for removing inaccurate or outdated records from the database. Police officers acknowledged that some people had their names added to the database “based solely on where they live” (Dumke 2018). Yet the database was used for criminal investigations, background checks, immigration enforcement, and criminal sentencing (Dumke 2018).

Negative Impact on Youth

Stereotypes can and do have significance because they influence policy development and response to gangs. Too often youth crimes are labeled as gang crimes when in fact they are not. However, we don’t want gang denial either. There is a balance. When the evidence is clear cut then we are open about it and when it is not then we don’t create a climate of fear.

Do Gangs Promote Stereotyping?

In your group discuss whether or not you think gangs promote stereotypes. If they do, how and why?

Statistics – Tracking Gangs

According to your text, Gangs exist in all 50 states, in all socio-economic classes and all racial and ethnic groups.

There are about 28,100 gangs and over 700,000 gang members in the U.S.

66% of the 167 responding cities with populations over 100,000 people had a total of 1,017 gang homicides.

Gang Membership Data

According to your text (Delaney) gang members are primarily located in large urban areas with minority populations. The National Gang Center (OJJDP) reveal that greatest percentage of street gang members were

>50% Latino

32% African American

10% White

7% Other Races (Asian, Native American etc.)

Whites had higher numbers in rural areas – 19%

Adult Gang Members 60%

Youth Gang Members 40%

Gangs Exist in All 50 States

More than 28,000 gangs consisting of approximately 700,000 members exist in the United States

(P. 11 -14)

Gang Crime Data

Delinquent activity for gang members:

GTA: 44 – 90% of gang members have stolen a vehicle.

Drive-by Shootings 40 -65% of gang members have participated.

Guns to school about 80% have taken a gun to school.

Selling drugs: 70 – 75% of gang members have participated

Delinquent activity for at risk youth:

5 – 15% for same states.

2 – 7% for the same states.

33% for the same states.

2.5 – 7% for the same states.

Source: NIJ Research, 1998


In this section we covered the issue of stereotyping as related to gangs.

Define Stereotype

Attributes of Gang Members

Colors and Gangs

Stereotypes of Gangs

Impact of Stereotypes

Statistics About Gangs

In My Hood



Real Talk




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2016-02-16 23:00:59




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