Gang Violence In Hispanic/Latino Communities

Gang violence is an issue many low income Latino/Hispanic communities have had to face in the United States. Although youth violence can affect all young individuals, research has shown that it disproportionately impacts ethnic and racial minority youth. It is known that there are many Latinos involved in the gang culture and factors such as low education, impoverishment and low family involvement all predict whether someone has more of a predisposition to join a gang. Many Hispanic young men come to the US alone, already fleeing violence in their home countries. They know little to no English, are often impoverished and discriminated against and so the only people they can turn to are other young men similar to themselves. Young men and women are often made to join gangs as a necessity to protect themselves from other gangs or the general need to belong to a group. Low income Latino communities and families as a whole are often most negatively impacted by the ongoing gang violence further exasperated by drug use and negative role models.

This literature review will further examine the impact of gangs violence in relation to families, specifically on home environment and parent roles.

Home Environment

Being in a gang entails many negative aspects, particularly in the way it affects the individuals involved and their families. Drugs and gangs contribute to one another, leaving a highly negative impact on health and communities at large. The survey study presented aims to investigate the causes and effects of drugs on individuals, particularly those in gangs and delves into which particular ethnicities engage in alcohol and violent activities afterwards. There were 352 participants from most major ethnic groups in America and of the 352 participants, 88 were from the Latino community. The study goes into details about the activities that are done before, during and after drinking by gang members. Participants were given an anonymous questionnaire regarding their drinking activities to obtain the information. Results of the study revealed how important alcohol use is in gang culture and how much it really contributes to violence. The results suggest that gang violence and alcohol use are intertwined and really how much drugs can influence a person’s violent actions. Limitations of the study were the fact that it did not take into account any contributing factors to alcohol use or violence in gangs.

Nonetheless, the study still concluded some very important information alcohol use and violence. Gang violence is a pervasive issue throughout many communities but especially in Latino families. When a family member in a gang is engaging in dangerous activities such as drinking and violence, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy home environment.

The study further proves and contributes to the idea that drinking can negatively impact immediate family and the surrounding community at large, particularly in Latino/Hispanic families. A persons home life can be influential in the way it can steer them to either drink and engage in violence or not. It is beneficial to be able to maintain a home environment that is wholesome to promote healthy relationships and to deflect potential gang violence from arising within the home.

Parent Roles

It is known that there are numerous amounts of youth that are involved in gangs, particularly those formed in schools. Joining a gang as a young person leads to large amounts of violence and negative behaviors in school and also in the community at large. This survey study aimed to examine the relationship between gang presence and proper mentoring from teachers in relation to delinquency and academic outcomes for students. A total of 9,552 participants (4,924 boys and 4,628 girls) who were between the ages of 12-18. The 2013 National Crime Victimization Survey: School Crime Supplement was used to study the relationship between teacher roles and gang presence on delinquency and academic outcomes.

The study found that the negative teachers students had, such as those that made negative comments and put down students had the most effect negative impact on delinquency and academic outcomes. It also found that positive teachers led to greater outcomes in students in aspects of school life. The findings suggest that as a role models to many students, what a teacher says to students can have a great impact on them. Negative comments led to negative results and positive comments had positive results.

Limitations of this study include not using a race or household income specific sample, it would’ve been very helpful to have that information included in the study. The questions could have also been more specific to yield better results. This information is relevant to the topic of gangs violence and parent roles because it further adds to the evidence that having a supportive parents really does impact you in multiple ways. In this case, Latino parents may need to be more positive and understanding in order for youths to not engage in gangs and everything that involves that culture. This further proves that if a teacher can leave a lasting influence on a study, just think of what unconditionally supportive parents can help their child achieve.

Overall, an important figure must be able to positively influence a child to end the cycle of gang violence.

03 December 2019
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