Guns, Violence, and Identity among African American and Latino Youth

Guns, Violence, and Identity among African American and Latino Youth
Deanna L. Wilkinson
June 2003

ISBN-13:  978-1-59332-009-6 / Hardcover
Or  978-1-59332-089-8 / Paperback
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / x, 299 pages


"engaging" -- Security Journal

"a must read for any serios scholar." -- Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice

"essential reading for those who wish to understand the contemporary urban world of poor minority youth." -- Justice Quarterly


Wilkinson studies 125 violent African American and Latino males aged 16 to 24 in New York City, analyzing 306 violent situations of which 151 involve guns. The social world of these youths is characterized by violence, internalized street codes, limited opportunities, and the availability of firearms. Violent events are public social performances. These performances often have serious consequences for social identity and personal safety. Wilkinson shows how violence is a resource for gaining/maintaining social identity (masculinity) and status on the street. The dynamic of moving from victim to victimizer is clearly understood in the socio-cultural context of the street. She demonstrates the role that guns play in "empowering" adolescents to engage in conflict outside of age-specific groups.

About the Author

Deanna L. Wilkinson is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at The Ohio State University, where she was appointed in 2006. Before that she was on the faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She earned her PhD in 1998 from the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.