Paper Example on "Crips and blood: made in America"

Published: 2023-04-11
Paper Example on "Crips and blood: made in America"
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Violence Analysis Movie Criminal justice
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1322 words
12 min read

"Crips and Blood: made in America" is a documentary that observes the notorious American gang. The movie analyses the conditions and situations that led to the emergence of criminal gangs and the devastating effects of the gangs in South Los Angeles. The director of the film Stacy Peralta employs a style of analyzing the social conditions that inspire the rise of gangs, which include racial segregation, poverty, high levels of unemployment, and police brutality as well as the government aspect of suppressing movements for progressive change. The film portrays deviance, street violence, robbery, and crime that young people from 12 years of age do to gain power, money, and control if the community. This paper will analyze the film from three sociological perspectives, including functionalist, conflict, and labeling perspectives.

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Functionalist perspectives

The functionalist considers society as a social system that is made of unified parts. The theory emphasizes that everything in society has a role. Functionalists believe that everything that occurs in society, whether good or bad serves a purpose (Andersen & Taylor 176). In regards to the issue of gangs, functionalists believe that they arise for a purpose mostly to reduce the poverty level of the people involved. Even though the money may be quite insignificant, however, it helps the gang members have some money because they engage in the illegal trade of drugs, robbery, and other crimes. It helps the poor have somewhere to go.

Gangs also provide jobs to people, including police officers, lawyers, and criminal investigators. If there were no gangs, then these professionals would not be hired. According to Emile, Durkheim is that gangs and deviance is a normal thing that occurs to encourage social unity and inspire people to rethink of the existing social norms and challenge things as they are. Raymond Washington is believed to have been the founder of the gang known as Cribs. He is said to have been chased out of school due to violence (Peralta). His behavior worsened when he went out on the street because he and his ten friends decided to form a gang and also recruit others to join.

An opportunity to sell illegal drugs excited the young men, and that is when they began to sell the drugs. The violence that followed resulted in the death of innocent young people, the members of the gangs, and members of the community. This situation was devastating to the people living in south Los Angeles since they could no longer walk freely on the streets due to the fear of being murdered. From the functionalist perspective, the rise of gangs is a common issue that arises in every society. However, the goal is to seek stability in case of weak institutions and norms and values. Therefore the emergence of criminal gangs occurred to challenge the social norms and cause society to change and create new social norms.


According to labeling, is that crime and deviance occur as a result of social labeling. Even though other causes and conditions can cause deviant behavior, however, once individuals or a group of people are defined as deviants, they face issues that cause them to react to their self-stigma as well as that of others (Kinnear 8). The negative stereotype causes the individuals labeled as deviants to conform and therefore do things to suit their labels. The deviant behavior thus becomes a way of adapting, defending, or attack to the issues established by the deviant labeling.

Therefore labeling or being defined by others as a criminal can inspire processes that tend to underpin or stabilize participation in crime and deviance. Even though the initial messages of the Cribs were not always violent or hostile, negative stereotypes from the media and the community changed what the gang did. Exaggeration included mostly inaccurate things that served a significant role in shaping how the group was perceived as dangerous members of society. The film features some people who are current or former members of the gang. The interviews combine the experience of former police officers, gang members, family members, and other experts (Peralta).

Three former gang members are featured in the film, and they include Bird, Ron, and Kumasi. These men recount their experiences growing up in the neighborhoods. These men paint a chaotic neighborhood filled with fear, death, and disorder. They believe that initially, the Cribs were not a criminal gang but a group which they identified with. However, as new members joined, they were attracted by the ownership of guns, power, and money (Peralta). Based on the labeling theory is that the young men decided to engage in criminal activity as people continued to define young men with negative stereotypes.

Conflict theory

A conflict theorist would look at the emergence of gangs as evidence of conflict between the different parts of society. According to this theory, gangs arise due to having a dominant group that oppresses the subordinate group. Gangs, therefore, occur due to the dominant group's unwillingness to spend money on social programs as well as education that would help in preventing the formation of gangs (Chaskin 120).

This theory can argue that the formation of Cribs and The Bloods was due to youths growing up in areas with high rates of crime and delinquency, which cause them to believe that crime and violence are acceptable. The members of the gang originate from low-income families and crime-prone areas. The Cribs and the Bloods are gangs that caused so much harm in South Los Angeles (Peralta). However, they arose due to discrimination that the African Africans were experiencing at the time in school and in society. The boys had to come up with something to do, and therefore, the formation of street fraternities made them a sense of identity.

The former gang member recount the past conditions in south Los Angeles where fathers were absentees and mother was too busy working on low-paying jobs. This situation is what inspired the formation and even the expansion of such massive growth of the group. The children had no one monitoring them, and this gave them the freedom to do their things.

According to conflict theory is that the formation of gangs occurs due to the domination of one group by another. The formation of gangs started when the young men felt they needed to protect themselves from police crackdowns, and the unfair treatment in school and other areas where they were intimidated and discriminated against because of their color. Society had neglected the most vulnerable people in society by failing to provide good schools, sporting activities, and other social programs that could engage young men. However, with the rise in criminal activities by gangs, it is when social programs were considered to rehabilitate young men so that people in society could live harmoniously.


In conclusion, The Cribs and Bloods: Made in America is a film that helps to enlighten people bout a devastating time in the US when children formed gangs that terrorized cities. The functionalist would explain this situation by indicating that it was a way of establishing stability by creating new social norms. On the other hand, labeling theory asserts that gangs do what they do because of the negative labels from others. Therefore it is a way of conforming or adapting to their new identities. Conflict theory posits that gangs arise because of having a dominant group that is against a subordinate group. The gangs arise to compel the dominant group to create social programs that can assist people.

Works Cited

Andersen, Margaret L, and Howard F. Taylor. Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2008. Print.

Chaskin, Robert J. Youth Gangs, and Community Intervention: Research, Practice, and Evidence. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. Print.

Kinnear, Karen L. Gangs: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Print.

Peralta, Stacy. Crips and Bloods: Made in America (2008) - IMDb. [online] IMDb. Available at: [Accessed 3 Mar. 2020].

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