Prevent Your Asian Child from Joining a Gang…Through Assimilation?

Young and Dangerous Poster

I just read a very interesting article on how normal gang prevention efforts may not work on Asian kids.

Apparently, it is hard for law enforcement to create gang prevention programs for Asians because the usual factors that are associated with gang behavior–broken homes, lack of economic opportunities and gaps in education, including high illiteracy and drop-out rates–don’t necessarily apply to Asian gangs.

So why exactly do some of these Asian kids join gangs?

According one of the detectives, some Hmong gangs formed for protection because they were getting bullied at school, then they gradually evolved into criminal enterprises.

Hmong gangs also presented the most serious complications because of the stark cultural differences between kids and parents.

The article went on to say how this is a complication because then the parents don’t know the clues to look for in order to determine whether their children are involved in gangs.

But I think it missed a crucial point of cultural alienation that a lot of young Asian kids often feel at school: For a lot of Asian Americans who live with parents who are fairly unassimilated with American culture, their home and school lives often represent conflicting values and cause confusion for them as to what they value more.

Add to that the bullying that is a part of schooling these days–and especially for ethnic kids in largely white populated areas–kids’ self-esteem can plummet greatly.

Some kids will turn the anger within, and some will lash out with violence.

So I think the problem with Asian gangs isn’t that their parents can’t spot their kids’ gang activity.  Rather, it is a problem of building a stronger self and giving them the ability to aspire to something beyond their school day existence.

The problem with Asian gangs is that we fail to give the children a chance to dream and to work for those dreams.  Somehow, the ability to dream gets lost amidst the noise of cultural conflicts and group suppression.

What do you guys think?  How can we help prevent Asian gang activity?

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4 Comments

  1. Hey. Do you really want to know how to keep Asian kids from joining gangs. I came from that lifestyle. I have seen kids from poor family to wealthy Asian family. Social class doesn’t have much influence. Nor does being bullied. Maybe decades ago. When Asians started coming to america they would join up together to protect each other. But we have already passed that. #1. Parents love your child. Show your child you love him. Spend time with him. Teach him how to be a good man and do not let the street teach him. #2 this is something a parent cannot control. But keep him away from bad influence. Such as who society deem as a troublemaker . You are who you hang out with! #3 just as important … Loving your child. Spending time with him. Teaching him… Help him to aspire big things and work hard for it…. And this is how you keep Asian kids from gangs. It is so simple. But people just over complicate it. There is no secret formula that we haven’t figured out yet. You cannot just throw them into jail and think that they will be scared.straight. it will make them come out and be even more of a menace to.society.

    1. Awesome answer! Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us, Terry (my long lost brother?).  You are right that oftentimes, we focus on minutae, but don’t do enough on the fundamental things that make the real difference.

  2. I also think asian gangs are the result of a mixture of parents who spent less time with their kids, racism from non asians and also false friends.
    It’s not only a problem in the US, this year in Australia several TV stations broadcasted the history of Sydneys Cabramatta which is famous for its Vietnamese and Chiniese community.
    Nowadays it is a multicultural district but back to 2001 and the past before it was the hell on earth and the home of asian gangs.
    Take a look to the trailer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSdHkPD5Lio 

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