Element of Racism Among Rival Latino Gangs in Oakland

Scott Johnson, Oakland Tribune, May 22, 2011

Karina Najeva arrived in the United States from El Salvador when she was 13 years old. Behind her were painful memories of war and poverty.

“I saw a lot of violence in Salvador,” she said. {snip}

At first, life in the U.S. was difficult, much more difficult than she had imagined. {snip} And there was still violence, the same kind of violence she had hoped to escape. Much of the fighting was between Latinos and African-Americans.

{snip}

But the brutality between black and brown that Najeva saw soon spilled over into wars between groups of Latinos, different shades of brown, she said. The gang violence and its effect on the larger Latino community is at issue this month as Alameda Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman deliberates on a proposed gang injunction targeting 40 people suspected of being members of the Norteño gang in Oakland.

{snip}

Varied beliefs

Gang members, however, don’t always see eye to eye. In Oakland and across California, there is a tremendous amount of subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination within Latino gangs about the degree to which someone is legitimate, sophisticated or valuable. The criteria vary widely. Norteños, for instance, are often American-born citizens of Mexican ancestry. Many don’t even speak Spanish. They may detest other Latinos, like Najeva, who arrived more recently.

“They look down on new arrivals as being ignorant, not sophisticated, as dressing funny and talking funny; there’s no connection between them,” said Oakland police Lt. Fred Mestas, who ran the Oakland Gang Unit in the mid-1990s. “I’ve had Norteños walk up to me and say, this (violence) is easy to fix, just deport those (expletives).”

Sureños and Border Brothers, in turn, have their own set of ethnically or racially tinted guidelines. Border Brothers tend to accept people of all races.

{snip}

There are illegal immigrants and African-Americans in some Norteño cliques, just as there are plenty of Chicanos, Mexicans born in America, in some Sureño and Border Brother groups. That inconsistency points to the complex nature of the way race is perceived and discussed in gangs, said Jeff Duncan-Andrade, a sociologist and expert on youth behavior at San Francisco State.

“That’s a legacy of colonialism,” he said. “Ranking people based on their value inside this racial hierarchy allows you to dehumanize people. It’s a classic racist thing: ‘You’re not like those others.'”

{snip}

On the streets, however, the language Latino gang members sometimes use to describe one another is harsh and uncompromising.

Bloody, a Norteño, describes his Sureño enemies as “scraps.”

Drips, the Border Brother, said Sureños “are dirt to me. They ain’t nobody.”

‘We’re killing ourselves’

{snip}

At least some of the purportedly racial distinction may come from a displaced sense of propriety and ownership about the land to which they have all come: the United States.

“It’s absolute madness that Norteños look down on people fresh over the border because they’re not as sophisticated, their haircut is different, or their clothing is different and not brand name,” Mestas said. “These guys are just a generation away from being in the same boat. Mexicans are killing Mexicans because one was here 15 years longer?”

{snip}

That cultural thing has severe consequences for Latino youths in Oakland who are trying to navigate their way through the confusing constellation of gangs, allegiances and colors simply to survive. A Latino kid wearing too much of one color can get into trouble. So young people are forced into wearing drab colors just to avoid being drawn into violence.

{snip}

‘Same struggle’

Ultimately, many experts agree that Oakland’s Latino gang dynamics have much more to do with turf and loyalty to specific streets and neighborhoods than they do to race or ethnicity. When schools and family have broken down or failed to provide the necessary social safety net, the streets step into the void.

“Kids are cliquing up around turf, and that’s misinterpreted as black or Latino,” said sociologist Duncan-Andrade. “At some level it is, but in those neighborhoods that are mixed, you have racially mixed gangs. So people conflate these various factors into a false racial solidarity centered around black or Latino culture. There’s some element of that, but it’s often overblown.”

Najeva agrees. The notions of street identity she so cherished as a young immigrant from a war-torn country have in the years since evolved into much larger notions of solidarity with the wide range of Latinos who form the basis of her now-American cultural identity.

{snip}

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  • Anonymous

    Note that there is absolutely no criticism of the fact that Oakland is overrun by immigrant criminals. Just sob story “we are the world we are the children” maudlin decrying the fact that

    the criminals are joining gangs with their own tribe and kind.

    Author might mention that most of the immigrants are Indians who don’t speak Spanish, only their Indian languages. So how can the different tribes communicate.

    A girl I know works at a Baskin Robbins. She noticed right away that different races like different flavors of ice cream. She says Whites like vanilla and chocolate. Blacks like anything with nuts and caramel. Asians like the pink fruit flavors.

    Viva la difference

  • Anonymous

    Humans, like many social primates, evolved to express kinship — they recognize who is in and who is outside their group, and they show allegiance for those in their group. These traits were evolutionarily selected for, because groups that showed tremendous intra-group allegiance, cooperation, and defense easily outcompeted groups that showed little group allegiance. Hence those genes survived. A family, clan, tribe, population, or race that does not cooperate and defend itself from a different group is exterminated. Hence, those genes disappear, forever.

    This is what is happening to Whites today. White people not only fail to protect their own interests, but they actually work hard to advance all other races, over their own. As a result, White genes are declining precipitously, and genes of other races are increasing exponentially. It is simple biology – genetics and evolution.

    Humans are programmed to form “groups.” Because throughout most of human history, most people remained within their clan, tribe, or larger racial group, this worked. Though today, modern travel has greatly mixed different “tribes,” humans still have that genetic predisposition to form “gangs.” It is mainly the young men – historically the warrior cohort of the clan or tribe. But, just like the evolved need for altruism, gang formation can be misapplied, because today a geographic area, “the hood” is the “in-group” factor, even when that small geographic area includes different races, with unrelated genes.

  • Anonymous

    ““That’s a legacy of colonialism,” he said.”

    As usual, blame Whites for every problem on the face of the earth. Speaking of colors, remember that episode of Two and a half Men where they take Jake shopping for school clothes and everything has to be White and beige so as to avoid any gang identification?

  • Sid

    This article is an out and out lie.

    Everyone knows ONLY whites can be RACIST.

    Or is it, Only Whites are Not Allowed an Opinion?

  • sbuffalonative

    “Ultimately, many experts agree that Oakland’s Latino gang dynamics have much more to do with turf and loyalty to specific streets and neighborhoods than they do to race or ethnicity.”

    Of course experts agree it has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. Everyone knows non-whites can’t be racists.

  • Who In Their White Mind?

    It’s pretty ironic now that at least two or three times a week, we are reading links about blacks & Hispanics fighting one another over a neighborhood. What is never mentioned, but is implied, is that these are former White American communities. And while it sounds a little far-fetched, the Whites most likely lived in relative peace for years. Years ago there were outlaw White biker gangs in California, but the majority White population would never have made excuses for their illegal activities. Try finding a powerful voice in the black & brown communities to speak ill of their lower element to Whites in public. That would be a rare sight.

    Also, notice the gang “expert” speaks of this as a form of colonialism. That was three hundred years ago. The gangbangers and police and other law enforcement officers of today HAVE NO IDEA of how life was back then. No one alive now has ever walked in those shoes. So yes, maybe there are elements to this gang hierarchy as colonialism, which is all the more reason to suggest that human nature has its own favorites and preferences, especially racial. So what exactly is wrong with that?

  • Jeddermann.

    This occurs in Aurora IL. too. One gang is of illegal aliens. One gang is of legal aliens. One gang is of those that are citizens. All Mexican. And they all hate one another and fight one another. Hard to believe such stuff but it is true. And has been for some time. Decades even. Probably just about the same most everywhere.

  • Anonymous

    “That’s a legacy of colonialism,” he said. “Ranking people based on their value inside this racial hierarchy allows you to dehumanize people. It’s a classic racist thing: ‘You’re not like those others.’”

    1. The internet, cellular phones, computers, modern medicine, automobiles, air conditioning, a lots of things you would describe as “shiny” are also legacies of colonialism. When can we expect you to give those up?

    2. By wanting to maintain your own identity you automatically become guilty of what you seek to demonize Whites for. Of course, this flies right over your head.

  • AWG (AVERAGE WHITE GUY)

    Once again the media defies real life.

    I watch Gangs of New York on TV last night.

    Set in the 19th century, the movie depicted the bad guys as the White xenophobics who hated immigrants.

    Now comes reality: Hispanics don’t like new comers!

  • Anonymous

    Sbuffalonative wrote-

    >>

    Of course experts agree it has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. Everyone knows non-whites can’t be racists.

    >>

    Except for the Sheriff of LA County who said, back in 2008, that ‘what we had was a low level race war here’.

    http://www.amren.com/ar/2009/05/index.html

    Of course, the blacks have largely -lost- that war so it only stands to reason that a culture based on hierarchial terrorism would see in themselves the beginnings of a casta system-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casta

    Because the truth of the matter is that Mexicans _in Mexico_ are far more racist than we ever were. And they define this racism via a ‘color continuum’ that starts dark and goes light, south to north. Indians get the least. Mestizos with browns form the middle class. And rich Mexican elites who form the upper 10% of society get the most.

    It’s the same here. They can’t go ballistic on whites (yet), they’ve already largely driven out the blacks. And so they turn on each other as people nobody cares about. Recent illegals being particularly easy game because they don’t have -anyone- to seek support from.

    Mexifornia is now just another extension of the failed state to the south with exactly the same _racist_ behaviors as that corrupt narco-plutocracy.

    Welcome to the real world you liberal fools. Once the most economically powerful, prosperous and technically advanced, State in our union is now a foreign country in all but name.

  • Anonymous

    If these low-life gang dirtbags are so intent on exterminating each other, GO FOR IT!! They will be providing a great service to the community. When they wipe each other out then those of a more civilized nature will be safer.

  • Anonymous

    That inconsistency points to the complex nature of the way race is perceived and discussed in gangs, said Jeff Duncan-Andrade, a sociologist and expert on youth behavior at San Francisco State.

    “That’s a legacy of colonialism,” he said. “Ranking people based on their value inside this racial hierarchy allows you to dehumanize people. It’s a classic racist thing: ‘You’re not like those others.’”

    ———————————-

    Sociology is nothing but pretentious, politically correct hogwash and lies. Yet this is what our children are learning in university.

  • Anonymous

    11 — Anonymous wrote at 9:47 PM on May 23:

    If these low-life gang dirtbags are so intent on exterminating each other, GO FOR IT!! They will be providing a great service to the community. When they wipe each other out then those of a more civilized nature will be safer.

    ————-

    BRAVO!

    Even before I was a “race Realist”, when I was still a clinton- supporting, Dukakis – loving blissfully ignorant younger man, I HAD A DREAM…

    Put every gang-banger in the country in a giant mega- stadium, give them every gun and knife available. After the last few are left standing, let a flight of strike eagles do a fly- by (carrying a full 22 thousand pounds of napalm, to finish the job.)

    yes, I HAVE A DREAM!

  • sbuffalonative

    From a previous AR article, Compton’s Racial Divide:

    But there’s more to it. Today, the very practices once employed by Southern whites—diluting the voting power of blacks, evading media inquiries, defending their political power against demographic trends—is now the province of Compton blacks.

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2011/05/comptons_racial.php

    From this article:

    “That’s a legacy of colonialism,” he said. “Ranking people based on their value inside this racial hierarchy allows you to dehumanize people. It’s a classic racist thing: ‘You’re not like those others.’”

    This hearkens back to the popular ‘theory’ that white people invented racism.

    Apparently no one saw racial or ethnic differences until the white man began to categorize people.

  • Anonymous

    What is disturbing is how gang violence is becoming a permanent part of the American landscape. Yeah, there were gangs in the past, but these were dealt with by law enforcement, or assimilation of immigrants. Today? Assimilation is a big no-no in multicultist society. Instead, ethnic divisions are to be celebrated as diversity. That this leads to endemic race warfare is conveniently ignored. Perhaps the academics and bureaucrats who promote multicultism and diversity ought to move to these neighborhoods?

    This is what is happening to Whites today. White people not only fail to protect their own interests, but they actually work hard to advance all other races, over their own. As a result, White genes are declining precipitously, and genes of other races are increasing exponentially. It is simple biology – genetics and evolution.

    Interesting interpretation, with the implication that White peoples are being gradually displaced by tribal warfare — with Whites not only refusing to resist, but refusing to even see this as a problem. I wonder at what point will your average White person (never mind liberal!) realize that they are becoming a subordinate people in their own countries?

    I mean, how does your average person plan to cope with a situation in which gang violence comes to dominate cities? Just ignore it and hope it goes away? Doesn’t it dawn on people that they are seeing an end to their way of life with the de facto loss of sovereignty in their own cities? Given the general wussiness of liberals, what do they plan to do when confronted with gangs who move in on their neighborhoods?

    It’s sort of like the Vandals and Goths and Burgundians fighting over the Roman Empire, while the average Roman citizen looked on helplessly. Well, not so helplessly, at least they had the occasional Aetius to lead some resistance. Today, the ruling elites of the Western world no longer fight to preserve their own peoples’ territories.

  • on the lam from the Thought Police

    Much of the fighting was between Latinos and African-Americans.

    – Scott Johnson, Oakland Tribune, May 22, 2011

    ——-

    Blacks are more dangerous to whites than are Hispanics. I give Hispanics credit for standing up to blacks, and keeping them out of Hispanic neighborhoods.

    Since the civil rights movement we whites have become too civilized, and dare I say? too cowardly. We have lost the will to subdue blacks using the only methods that work.

  • Anonymous

    To Poster #13:

    I posted #11 you referred to in your comment. Your “DREAM” is SO similar to an idea I used to share with others. My idea was to have “Gladiator Day” at the local sports stadium, spread flyers all over the area, inviting all gangs to participate, bring whatever weapons they wanted. When the “games” began the stadium would be closed off (no escape), and they could do their thing. The last guy standing wins, and the whole gang problem could be settled once and for all. And let the public watch the action. You and I may have been reading each other’s minds. Interesting……

  • Seek

    #16:

    Actually, back in 1969, Norman Mailer, during his campaign for mayor of New York (he got about 5% of the vote), proposed jousting matches in Central Park as a way of mediating disputes between members of rival gangs. He got lots of laughs, but there was a certain truth to what he was saying.

  • Anonymous

    “That’s a legacy of colonialism,”

    —– I hate this false argument! Go ahead and blame the white man for your cliqishness! I have news for you, before the Spanish came, the people of mexico had a definate racial and ethnic herirachy. The aztecs looked down on non-aztecs, and sacrificed them to the tune of sometimes hundreds a day!

    Every society, even those that were untouched by any european influence in the past, had heirarchies and gradations of people.

    Some people suffered on account of it.

    Stop blaming ‘colonialism’ for all your troubles.

  • Mr.White

    “This is what is happening to Whites today. White people not only fail to protect their own interests, but they actually work hard to advance all other races, over their own. As a result, White genes are declining precipitously, and genes of other races are increasing exponentially. It is simple biology – genetics and evolution.”

    —————————————————————-

    I believe this is a fatal flaw (not inherent) in our White race, developed over the past 50 years. No other race on the face of this planet will work to elevate another race, to the detriment of their race. No race but the White race! Other races are allowed, even encouraged to promote racial unity among their group, in an effort to preserve their race and culture.

    “Cultural pride” amongst various groups is always celebrated and encouraged, so long as it’s not the White race engaging in such merriment. White European culture is not allowed to be celebrated or preserved as we can all clearly see.

    Something must change and fast…..

  • anonislegion

    It is very orwellian big-brother “who controls the present controls the past…” they had to subtley push the notion (because of the book1984) that colonialism and racism was a only white. I have heard a “white” comedian joke that he can’t make racist jokes like the colourds can, despite “we invented it”. Comedy central and mtv and cmt and nick and disney, and all other tv, are agents of the governmedia police state. Big Brother is named Uncle Sam.

    Unfortunately the plan to put all gangs in the same place at the same time may baxkfire- what if they decide to form an army and march against “the machine”.