Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Art, Crime, Family, Teenagers, Youth, Social Issues, Prison, Children

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/03/22

Developing Young Talents

Are more injunctions targeting youth a way of minimizing crime or should we be further examining how to develop their talents to help them avoid gang activity? Restrictions on youth activity have only appeared to make things worse for young people, as well as the prison system. Luis Rodriguez presents arguments in the article “Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art,” stating that he was one such youth saved from falling down by developing his talent in art (Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art). Rodriguez was the unfortunate victim of gang life. Rather than promulgation restricting injunctions aiming the youth that only make life harder for them, governments should be encouraging, guiding them and deal with the negatives of media that in some cases shape youths badly.
In “I’m the King” it speaks of Hispanic males showing their “machoness” through being number one no matter in which path bad or good and certain games like going out drinking alcohol and then driving home drunk, thus potentially becoming murders and breaks laws (I’m the King). Rodriguez was kicked out of high school when he was fifteen for fighting and breaking rules several times, possibly for the same ideals. He felt as though he needed to prove himself in a world that was against him. With the help of the gang and his friend worker, he was able to use his tagging abilities positively by directing his energy into arts (Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art). When he was eighteen-years-old, a judge saw his ability and decided to keep him out of the prison, allowing him the chance to build a new life, which he did. Today he owns a bookstore, which attempts to provide for the neighborhood culture, music, art and literature (Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art). Rodriguez’s story attempts to illustrate that his chance would not be given today. Though there were injunctions present in 1973, when his chance was given, too many tough-on-crime injunctions exist right now for youth to be recognized for their talent or being in prisons. From 1973 to today, Los Angeles experienced a 50% increase in jails that have gone from housing 15,000 prisoners to 153,000 (Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art). Rodriguez was able to build a cultural empire with his skills because he was given a second chance.
The ideals of manliness stated in “I’m the King” are not new; many youths feel as though they need to prove they are tough enough in a world that does not appear to want them or care for them (Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art). They are raised to believe they must appear tougher than the next person to gain the upper hand over the next individual, which is known in body language that the upper hand in a handshake shows force. This mentality could be why so many injunctions are placed in society because of that will erase the government’s control in the society, which might leads to revolts. However, the distinction should be made between adults and children; adults can recognize these thoughts and deal with it, whereas children as simply trying to survive and feel comfortable in the world they do not understand. Rodriguez, for example, may have sought out the only familiar place he knew in a gang because fighting seemed natural and school had rejected him.
Several things should be considered through human behaviors to have a better society built by young competent people. For example, as explained in “I’m the King,” many males are basically trained not to express emotions, but instead to fight and prove their manliness throughout dangerous activities (I’m the King). Rodriguez was probably facing this, as it took two years of convincing before he agreed to take an art course in order to active positively (Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art). Therefore, cultural differences and stigmas such as more understanding of how to deal with youths would need to be considered when attempting to convince youths to express themselves through art, dance, music or writing. Some may be more open to playing sports, or perhaps building things. Humans are sometimes uncomfortable expressing their emotions openly based on how they were raised, but it does not mean that they have to settle for a life of crime. There are plenty of constructive activities that are profitable for society and the individual that they may engage in that can guide them away from gang activity and toward a life that can later benefit them in their futures.
Youth involvement in crime is disadvantageous to the community and the country at large. Young males are usually getting their inspiration to engage in crime from the violent characters in the movies; in these films rarely do we find actors solving their problems (I’m the King). Parents are much concerned with the media that exposes their children to violence (I’m the King). The result is a group of youths who practices crimes and have a bad attitude. In Chicano, most families are made up of single parents, which they lacks a fatherly part to guide and shape the behaviors of boys, they end up coping the actions of the actors in the movies they watch (I’m the King.) Luis Rodriguez in his article “Keeping At-Risk Kids Out of Jail – It’s An Art,” shows that the author was a gang member; he interacted with people of bad influence and engaging in crime at first. The author ended up being arrested several times for participating in crime while in school. However, after going back to school while developing his talent, the author changed his behaviors and consequently he has conducted several initiatives to help the society and mostly youths to stop them from engaging in crime. The same case applies in the “I’m the King” article boys are being in gangs with their accomplices and end up engaging in drug abuse and commit crimes. As a result, it is evident that the culture that has been set in a community influences the youths to engage in crime. In the process, we are raising a society that lacks responsible youths who can start development to help community at large. It is evident that if arrangements are involved to make the youths active in various activities, the rate of crime shall be significantly reduced.
In sum, if an art program had not been available he might be dead today, or most likely in prison. Therefore, the obvious conclusion would be for law enforcement, as well as adults alike, to stop placing so many injunctions on youths in an attempt to control them. Recognizing their potential as a way to help guide them seems to be the appropriate solution to the issue. More injunctions are not the answer to youth gang activity; however, constructive interest in youth’s talents might be. More art and culture could be the answer to helping youths out of difficult or violent paths they wandered into. Those who do not feel comfortable being so expressive should also be able to engage in sports, or other activities such as carpentry welding. Youths need to understand their role in the society and the part they have to play in the community development. The solution of male engagement in in crime is not building more jails, but helping them discover their talents and develop them. Guiding youths constructively while eliminating so many injunctions could help unclog the corrections system and give many youths the chance to help their communities later in life, much like Rodriguez is doing now. Furthermore, these solutions can help change stigmas mentioned in, “I’m the King.” Young people can learn more about themselves and the power of expression, thus becoming more contributive and emotional members of society, ready to help other individuals in the same situation.


The concept of grassroots movements which is at times referenced in the political movement concept is a community driven movement. Its definition implies that its creation is, and the supporting groups are always natural and often very spontaneous. The creation of the grassroots movement has been highlighted as the major differences between this movement and as a similar traditionally orchestrated movement. These movements are usually at a local level characterized by community involvement through volunteering and devotion of their time in support of the national party. A demonstration of this can be evidenced by a case where the movement can lead to significant voter registration with respect to a political party in question which in the end will facilitate the state and national parties.
One may be compelled to believe that the form of art referred to as the grassroots art as just individual creative expressions. A number of concerns and questions have been brought forward regarding how the poems music or paintings can be used as means of expressing an individual’s expressions or thoughts about society(Bartz). Over the years, art has played a very crucial role in a number of activism campaigns in the across Latin America. The concept of art activism is witnessed in a number of struggles, histories, and times. As a number of analysts may urge, the idea of grassroots art activism has been brought about by the advances and exposures to modern technology. Kuryel writes that this concept is firmly rooted on the subversion of dominant messages that some groups of individual may want to bring out for the community to see. But is one way or the other impeded by the hegemonic political powers (Kuryel).
The grassroots movement depicts art as a very important and crucial element of the worth of utility by the social justice movements throughout America. These movements also inspire a number of responses that are inspired by emotion in mobilizing the community through a number of forms including the poems, music and other forms of literature. The literature also conventionally referred to as literatura(Bartz) is a form of creativity in grassroots campaigns that has been extensively used for the empowerment of a number of authors in Latin America. These short stories comprising of a number of written narratives have allowed a number of people to express their personal feeling and experiences of their struggles through written words.
Music commonly referred to as Musica is another medium that is widely employed by the grassroots activism campaigns. Musica(Bartz)has been used extensively in a series of activism campaigns in Latin America. Evidence of this approach is provided by the “World Peace Begins in Central America” that was held in 1986 in Costa Rica. In this event, a number of musicians like Mercedes Sosa and others combined in a massive concert to mark a grass roots campaign in Costa Rica. In fact, Adam (2002) notes that music is a crucial aspect regarding activism because a successful concert can have a significant influence on the lives of a number of people especially those that attend the concert. Not only the people that attend the concert, but also the other individuals that listen to the content contained in the music or song will be of great utility to the listeners. In addition to literature and music, the artistic visual expressions can be of vital importance in portraying the information in a given grassroots activism campaign.

Works Cited

“I The King” Chicano Studies 113B, September 3,2009
Rodrigues, Luis J. Keeping at-risk kids out of jail -- it's an art. Chicano Studies 113B, September 3, 2009.
Bartz, Virginia Elizabeth. Art Became My Window: California Youth Art Activism in the Undocumented Rights Movement. University of California, San Diego, 2012

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