END NOTES: +++++++++++++++++++++
1. It is important to note that aggregate data on "Hispanics" includes Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Hondurans, Chicanos, and many other groups of Spanish speaking origin. As a result, aggregate statistics, lumped together under the heading of "Hispanics" nowadays, do little more than misrepresent the experience of groups included.
2. Poverty line- is an index developed by the Social Security Administration and is calculated on the lowest cost for a nutritionally adequate food plan as developed by the Department of Agriculture. It is based on family size and is calculated by multiplying the cost of this food plan by three, assuming that a family spends one third of its budget on food ( In a city like Los Angeles where housing costs are prohibitive, this assumptions is immediately suspect.) Nonetheless, the figure is then adjusted by the Consumer Price Index.
3. DISCLAIMER: Studying gang members caused me discomfort and consternation at times because their actions were unnatural and even bizarre. I discussed events that were completely foreign to my personal values. As an interviewers, an observer and not a judge of their actions, the remarks here are neither in their defense nor condemnation. Furthermore, it would have been counterproductive to take issue with gang members whose values were formed over a long period of time and not likely to change quickly because of the chastisement of one researcher.
We often stood on street corners and talked, or on front-yards, on someone's lawn, in front of stores, and on sidewalks in the park. Some refused to answer some or all of the questions. Other members answered everything and would have gone on and on indefinitely. Most of the time I was alone, sometimes I was assisted by other female graduate students. Alone, there was less opportunity for comment and intrusion from an assistant researcher. Many said I reminded them of someone in the extended family -- older sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, cousin, godmother, great-aunt etc.
In their investigation, Hopper and Moore say "It was hard to fathom the chasm between bikers and the rest of us." (Hopper and Moore l990:369) I could say the same about the Hispanic street gang members and the rest of society.
Their obsession with being treated with respect was particularly
interesting and in many ways ironic. They do not deal with
"citizens" and do not like social workers or sociologists. They
never trust anyone except their own. I thought it was important
to study gang and non-affiliated, as observer rather than critic
or reformer. It may be the only way to get to the pee-wees and
the recruits in time. Most of what I witnessed caused me great
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