Book Review: Divide & Conquer: Race, Gangs, Identity, and Conflict (Studies in Transgression) by Robert D. Weide
When you hear the term “gangs” what is it that comes to mind? Los Angeles is notoriously known for its subculture of gangs and subsequent gang violence, from the likes of Crips co- founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams as well as Sylvester Scott, who is credited with the advent of the original Blood gangs. Popular media is obsessed with stories of these gangs and its members– whether in sensationalized reports on Fox 11 News or fictionalized stories playing out in TV shows or box office movies, like Boyz in the Hood or Colors. Such portrayals become in fact dehumanizing by reinforcing a narrative of depravity instead of recognizing the reality that gang members are among “the most marginalized, demonized, and criminalized population in America and throughout much of the capitalist world” (Weide 2022:7-8). This insider participant observation ethnographic case study serves as an in-depth look into the humanity and nuance of the lived experience for Sureño-affiliated, Crip and Blood gang members in Los Angeles.