Chinatown Gangs

Chinatown Gangs - Chinatown Gangs Oakland’s first youth...

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Unformatted text preview: Chinatown Gangs Oakland’s first youth gang Chapter 8 Javier Padilla Hendy Lam Alexi Gonzales­Sparr Chinatown Youth Gangs Topics we will discuss – the historical development of the first contemporary youth gang in Oakland’s Chinatown – the “gang perspective” on the formation – the relationship of the Oakland gang to the Chinatown community – relationship between Chinese gangs in San Francisco and Oakland Emergence of Chinese Gangs 1960 marks emergence of contemporary Chinese gangs in US 1964 Hwa Chings were the first recognized Chinese gang originating in San Francisco Chinatown 1970 Chinese gangs became viewed as a major social problem Chinese gangs were blamed for a lot of things Traditional gang research overlooked Chinese Community Methodology Unlike San Franciscos Chinatown, Oakland’s Chinatown was located in the heart of the city and there were only a few social organizations. Researchers father was a respected tong member and was treated a friend of the organization Conducted numerous informal interviews at restaurants and bowling alleys, often times tape recording interview sessions with members permission. Examination of archival sources such as newspapers and governmental reports Very few published materials concerning Chinese gangs Review of Literature scholarly research were either journalistic accounts based on gang task force reports or descriptive/theoretical studies. Some accounts had very little value often times just glamorized Chinese gangs or heighten fears of gangs flooding the streets with drugs Other accounts theorize a some massive criminal conspiracy involving the youth gangs and Chinese triads based out of Asia in a close contact structurally related organizations. Oakland’s Chinatown “the Chinatown” has been moved repeatedly before it’s present location a few blocks away from city hall Just as in most cities the Chinatown was built upon and restricted to, the most oldest and undesirable sections Factors of its deterioration, dispersal of Chinese to other areas in the eastbay, lack of residential housing and the construction of freeways, museums, community college, and the BART (bay area rapid transit). As well as the decline of gambling with the punishment of heavy fines and prison sentences Mid­ 1960’s Population of Chinatown rose due to the 1965 Immigration Nationalization act 1964­65 “Hwa Ching” came into prominence as immigration laws became relaxed Mainly teenage immigrant youth from Hong Kong, mostly committed crimes such as burglary and assault 1967, the Hwa Ching gang increased in levels of violence and began committing extortion from Chinese Businesses. 1968 Threatened to burn down Chinatown if their demands for better jobs and educational opportunities Hwa Chings in San Francisco Chinatown Hwa Chings Cont. While the gang did not and probably could not follow through with their threat it prompted the Chinatown establishment to tried to negotiate with them, offering the gang members jobs in the various gambling dens, a club house, and a “slush fund” to be used for bail This backfired as what was once one large group was split into five smaller gangs vying for control of the gambling dens as well as the fear and respect of the Chinatown Community In the end, the leader of the Hwa Ching and his followers were inducted in the “Suey Sing Tong” and the Suey Sing Tong emerged the strongest gang in Chinatown. Suey Sing Tong Descended from Triad and other secret societies that originated in China Inside Chinatown they took control of gambling and prostitution Suey Sing Tong headquarters located in San Francisco Chinatown There are 9 branches in the western U.S.:Oakland, Stockton, Watsonville, Salinas, Marysville, Monterey, Portland, and Seattle Suey Sing Tong Cont. Chinese New Year is a significant event for the different Suey Sing Tongs By the 1970’s the Suey Sing Tong served 4 basic functions – Celebrate special occasions – Provide assistance such as interpreter services, employment referrals, and burial arrangements – Tong clubhouse provided opportunities for members – Tong protected business interest of their leaders Why form a gang? 3 studies concerned with Chinatown youth gangs examine why gangs are formed Lyman – asserts that gangs were a product of conflict and rebellion Takagi, Platt – due to social structure, asserting that the Chinatown structure, specifically the Tongs, were the reasons for the violence in Chinatown Chin – causative and intervening social factors gave rise to Chinese gang delinquency, including school problems, family problems, and the lack of employment opportunities. – (Chin 1990; Lyman 1970; Takagi, Platt 1978) Why form a gang? Cont. On arrival to U.S. gang members were verbally harassed and physically abused by many different groups at school and in their neighborhoods People who harassed them the most were American­born Chinese (ABCs) Chinese immigrants forced to band together for protection Why form a gang? Cont. Why would the ABCs antagonizing the Chinese immigrant children commonly referred to as FOBs (Fresh Off the Boat)? – The Chinese immigrant children were everything that the American­born Chinese kids did not want to be. – They were seen as not American – They were ashamed of their ethnic background Oakland Suey Sing Tong Youth Group The Suey Sing Tong youth group was a group of teenaged kids that hung out in Chinatown. They hung out on the corner of 8th st and Webster in Oakland The motives of these kids was to just have a place to hang outand have fun. They also desired affiliation to the Suey Sing Tong for protection from other youths. They became known as the Suey Sing boys Suey Sing Boys East Bay Chinese Youth Council (EBCYC) was established in 1969 EBCYC was founded by American­born Chinese college student and some Suey Sing Boys They used the EBCYC as a means to recruit gang members They hoped to get money through the council’s youth gang prevention program Suey Sing Boys cont. Funding failed and it caused the EBCYC staff to disband in order to pursue work in larger communities This caused the Suey Sing Boys to erode away slowly Rise of Hwa Ching was also a factor in the demise of both the Suey Sing Boys/Tong Conclusions Findings from the study suggest that early Chinese gangs on the West Coast were not originally a product of mere greed and irrational deviant behavior but instead they banded together for protection and survival Still today young immigrants are joining gangs today Suey Sing Boys did not come into existence because of the older gangs. They were already acting as a gang. Affiliation with the older gangs just influencedtheir development. Their rise and demise were due to factors in the community. Suey Sing Boys were the first youth gang to operate in Oakland lasting about 5 years. There are now 16 ethnic youth gangs in Oakland with many based in Chinatown. Interview We have brought in an authentic Chinese gangster to come and have an interview with us about life as a Chinese gangster. ENJOY!! Questions? ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course SOCI 156 at San Jose State.

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