The Pathway to Gang Life: South Asian Youth Perspective

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Bains, Manvir
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Torn between parental pressure to conform to the motherland culture and the freedom Canada offers, South Asian youth struggle to find the balance between parents' worldviews and the endless choices Canada has to offer. Adolescence is a time for the development and exploration of identity that South Asian youth struggle to grapple with. The hardships of finding a sense of meaning in their life can result in some turning to gangs on their quest for self-identity and belonging. It is important to recognize that in the past decade there has been an increase in the level of violence amongst South Asian youth in the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia (Tyakoff, 2003). This demonstrates the serious need for more research to better understand the root causes of South Asian youth engaging in violence and criminal involvement. Although there is an abundance of literature that examines risk factors and motivators for youth joining gangs, limited research is available specifically examining South Asian youth involvement in gangs. The purpose of this capstone is to identify and examine key risk factors and motivators that draw South Asian youth into the gang life. Specifically this capstone will examine risk factors such as South Asian family structures, South Asian youths sense of connection to community, South Asian youths level of school engagement, as well as the role media plays in portraying the South Asian culture. The hope for this capstone is to have community stakeholders recognize the dire need to implement early intervention programs for South Asian youth that are culturally appropriate, which will provide these youth with positive community and peer connections. Lastly, it is vital to highlight that there is a lack of research available on female youth involvement in gangs, therefore majority of this capstone will discuss South Asian male youth.
cultural acculturation , protective factor , South Asian , youth , youth gang
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