please help me revise my paper based on the feedback. this paper is about a book that talks about American MaxicanLuis Rodríguez, “Always running”
Racism and police violence are not new issues in the US, as observed in the very recent
demonstrations against the killing of George Floyd by police officers. The harsh reality of
growing up in poor neighborhoods riddled with non-native Americans has caused a lot of
African Americans, Latinos and other minority groups to experience segregation and intentional
violence by the police force. The stories told by some of the people from such areas highlight
their struggles that is growing up, and how much it means to them, to survive into adulthood.
These stories are often riddled with death and pain, as growing up becomes a running battle from
police officers and gang violence, rather than school drama and the usual teenage thrills. The
children growing up in such areas are therefore hardwired to the system of the street. The system
is portrayed in the memoir by Luis Rodríguez, “Always running” that highlights his life and why
he had to keep “running”. According to Rodriguez, his environment is ultimately to blame for his
involvement with gangs, and his mentor Chente saves him from gang life by inspiring him to
fight injustice via the right channels rather than gang violence.
In his Memoir, Luis Rodriguez blames his environment for his involvement in gangs.
Growing up in his early years, Luis’s family lived in Juarez, Mexico. The area is also well known
for its violence and gang-related control. His father, Alfonso, therefore, moved to the US to
escape bringing up his children in such a harsh environment. However, the environment in Los
Angeles was not any different. Luis highlights the critical factors in his environment that pushed
him into the gang life. One of the critical factors was the perception held within the
neighborhoods about police officers. Law enforcement officers are essentially supposed to
protect the people, but, in this case, they were considered a threat to the community. In his
memoir, he writes, “By the time I turned 18 years old, 25 of my friends had been killed by rival
gangs, police, drugs, car crashes and suicides. (Rodriguez 3)” His environment, therefore, meant
that he had to join a gang in order to ensure safety from the police. In joining the gangs, the
environment was also crucial to his changing behavior and whom he becomes. The environment
also meant that most of his friends were gang members, and he was therefore influenced into
joining the gang’s activities and engaging in various heinous acts of violence and collisions with
Luis Rodriguez credits Chente, his mentor, for saving him from the gang life. Chente
ultimately becomes of the most critical influences in Luis’s life. He initially worked at the
Bienvenidos Community Centre where gang members received support and also impoverished
Los Angeles residents. Chente inspires Luis by revealing to him the kind of life that he could
have and leaves him to think about it without forcing him to leave the gangs. Chente’s Influence
Luis Writes, “He was someone who could influence me without judging me morally or telling
me what to do. (Rodriguez 184)” Luis becomes more involved in grassroots politics, and Chente
also introduces him to the Marxist ways of thinking. One of the most important ideologies that
capture his attention is the Marxist idea that many explained people of all kinds have something
in common that transcends culture or race.
Gangs are appealing to people as they provide masqueraded care and safety in exchange
for a much higher price, that people often do not realize. Taking from the memoir, Luis imagined
that joining a gang would offer him safety from the police. However, the price he had to pay for
joining the gang was a near-death experience everywhere he confronted the police or engaged in
heinous acts of violence against the public and other gangs. The violence is evident where he
highlights various news reports, “Do it! were the last words I recalled before I plunged the
screwdriver into flesh and bone, and the sky screamed (Rodriguez 186).”Therefore, it is clear
that gangs do not offer safety, only misery.
Rodriguez, Luis J. Always running: La vida loca: Gang days in LA. Simon and Schuster, 2005.
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