This essay GANGS has a total of 1642 words and 7 pages.


Originally the word gang had no negative connotation. In Old English, gang simply referred to a "number of people
who went around together-a group." Today a gang can be defined in four basic ways:
? an organized group with a leader
? a unified group that usually remains together during peaceful times as well as times of
? a group whose members show unity through clothing, language
? a group whose activities are criminal or threatening to the larger society.
Gangs are one of the results of poverty, discrimination and urban deterioration. Some experts believe that young
people, undereducated and without access to good jobs, become frustrated with their lives and join gangs as an
alternative to boredom, hopelessness and devastating poverty. Studies have attempted to determine why gangs
plague some communities but there has been no definitive answer. As a result, people working to solve gang
problems have great difficulty. They find the situation overwhelming, and the violence continues.

No groups completely fitting the above description of gangs existed in America until the early 1800s, but from the
beginning of the European settlement in America there was gang-like activity, especially when class distinctions
came into being. Gang members tended to be from the poorer classes and tended to be from the same race or ethnic
background. They banded together for protection, recreation or financial gain.

In the early 1900s the U.S. economy worsened, the population grew at a rapid pace, and the gap between the rich
and poor widened. All across the nation gangs appeared where poor, hopeless people lived. The dawning of the 20th
century also brought with it a widespread use of firearms.

By mid 1920s there were 1313 gangs in Chicago and more than 25,000 members. Gang warfare in Chicago was
widespread and fighting took place along ethnic, cultural and racial lines. Some gangs had no noticeable cultural,
ethnic or national ties and consisted mostly of whites.

Chicano Gangs
The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of Chicano (Mexican-American) gangs in Los Angeles. By the 1940s Chicano
gangs established their place in Los Angeles-their zoot suits (a style of dress incorporating tapered pants, long wide-
shoulder coats and broad-brimmed hats) had become a familiar sight. Fighting back against harassment of white
residents and visiting soldiers during the so-

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