Analysis Of Victor Rios 'Punished'

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The fourth book assigned was Victor Rios’, Punished: policing the lives of Black and Latino boys. Rios’ book chronologizes black and Latino boys in Oakland as they encounter various forms of punishment at very stages in their lives. Young Latino and black men are the marginalized group in this book. What Rios criticizes and blames for the egregious policing of these young men is the youth control complex: “The youth control complex is a ubiquitous system of criminalization molded by the synchronized, systematic punishment meted out by socializing and social control institutions” (40). Rios breaks the complex down further into material and symbolic forms of criminalization. Towards the end of his book Rios proposes his alternative to the youth …show more content…
How could the youth control complex have changed the course of Jose’s journey? Well, the youth control complex would have fostered an environment where policymakers, schools, criminal justice institutions, and social programs are receptive to the perspectives of young black and Latino boys on the system and how it should be changed. This environment would have produced a benevolent police officer who would have answered Jose’s cry for justice. In this alternate reality, Jose doesn’t join a gang for protection because he is self-empowered: “When a young man becomes self-empowered and believes he can change his marginal conditions and his environment, his ability to engage in his education and civic participation increases, leading to personal and social transformation” (165). Jose would feel like law enforcement is on his side and that sense of security will empower him to address issues in his community in the absence of law enforcement. In other words, if Jose can receive the gallon of milk he felt he rightfully deserved, then he would believe he could attain other “milks” he deserved. Like: education, housing, clean streets, safety, etc. When Jose is denied his justice, he is forced to believe that his condition is immutable—when it is not. The youth control complex then, seems to transform black and Latino boys into social agents who take the issues plaguing their community, and work with each other …show more content…
The indigent will need to harness knowledge that Muniz provides in her book; examples would be that “where there is an injunction, redevelopment is often close behind” (82), “murders of unarmed civilians by police officers were higher in neighborhoods that had gang injunctions than in areas that were not covered by injunctions. Authorities use accusations of gang membership to justify shootings of civilians (91), and “The gang injunction was not implemented in the area with the most gang activity, assaults, or murders. Rather, it was instituted where borders separating black and white, wealthy and working class were becoming porous” (53). These factoids are just a few examples from the plethora of studies on gang injunctions and gentrification that can be used to stop these oppressive actions. Poor members of the community would become intellectually wealthy and dangerous during meetings with the police and community board members. Instead of pity, they would generate shock, edification, and fear—from those who capitalize on gentrification and gang-inunctions. Above all, these poor community members could make their environment produce for them by ensuring that they are the ones who enjoy the restoration of the community. Opting for analysis instead of storytelling, removes the target from the

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