Human Targets: Schools, Police, And The Criminalization Of Latino Youth

Paperback | March 22, 2017

byVictor M. RiosForeword byJames Diego Vigil

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At fifteen, Victor Rios found himself a human target—flat on his ass amid a hail of shotgun fire, desperate for money and a place on the street. Faced with the choice of escalating a drug turf war or eking out a living elsewhere, he turned to a teacher, who mentored him and helped him find a job at an auto shop. That job would alter the course of his whole life—putting him on the road to college and eventually a PhD. Now, Rios is a rising star, hailed for his work studying the lives of African American and Latino youth.

In Human Targets, Rios takes us to the streets of California, where we encounter young men who find themselves in much the same situation as fifteen-year-old Victor. We follow young gang members into schools, homes, community organizations, and detention facilities, watch them interact with police, grow up to become fathers, get jobs, get rap sheets—and in some cases get killed. What is it that sets apart young people like Rios who succeed and survive from the ones who don’t? Rios makes a powerful case that the traditional good kid/bad kid, street kid/decent kid dichotomy is much too simplistic, arguing instead that authorities and institutions help create these identities—and that they can play an instrumental role in providing young people with the resources for shifting between roles. In Rios’s account, to be a poor Latino youth is to be a human target—victimized and considered an enemy by others, viewed as a threat to law enforcement and schools, and treated with stigma, disrepute, and punishment. That has to change.

This is not another sensationalistic account of gang bangers. Instead, the book is a powerful look at how authority figures succeed—and fail—at seeing the multi-faceted identities of at-risk youths, youths who succeed—and fail—at demonstrating to the system that they are ready to change their lives. In our post-Ferguson era, Human Targets is essential reading.

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At fifteen, Victor Rios found himself a human target—flat on his ass amid a hail of shotgun fire, desperate for money and a place on the street. Faced with the choice of escalating a drug turf war or eking out a living elsewhere, he turned to a teacher, who mentored him and helped him find a job at an auto shop. That job would alter th...

Victor M. Rios is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys and Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D.

other books by Victor M. Rios

Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys
Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys

Kobo ebook|Jun 27 2011

$24.29 online$31.50list price(save 22%)
see all books by Victor M. Rios
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:March 22, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022609099X

ISBN - 13:9780226090993

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Table of Contents

Foreword by James Diego Vigil
Introduction
Chapter One The Probation School
Chapter Two The Liquor Store and the Police
Chapter Three Cultural Misframing
Chapter Four Multiple Manhoods
Chapter Five The Mano Suave and Mano Dura of Stop and Frisk
Chapter Six Immigrant Targets
Conclusion From Culture of Control to Culture of Care: Policy and Program Implications
Methodological Appendix
Acknowledgments
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Human Targets is a gripping, disturbing, and deeply moving ethnographic account of interpersonal street violence. Told from the author’s heart, it is based on careful interviews and his own personal observation. Human Targets is a provocative yet subtle analysis of the relentless social forces that too often undermine and frustrate the everyday lives of a major segment of America’s urban population. Extraordinary and important, this book is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the culture of the city today—it needs to reach a wide audience beyond the halls of the academy.”