Always Running Book Introduction

The book Always Running is a creation of Luis J. Rodriguez. He uses exquisitely poetic prose to relate the hardships that he faced growing up in a household of sick immigrants. He goes further to elaborate how the lifestyle that he led made him vulnerable to local gangs. In his work, he explains that the gang culture is commonly known as “la Vida loca” provided him with security, control, and a sense of belonging. However, he later realized that the life offered to him by the criminal group offered him a path to jail or the grave. As such, he struggles to free himself from the society and tries to live a better life. Though his story describes his personal triumphs, it also reveals how important the rogue teams are, especially in disenfranchised neighborhoods. The impact of the gangs is seen when Rodriguez cannot prevent his son from being sucked into the Chicago mob life. The book by Rodriguez draws attention to various intercultural communication concepts. Some of the perceptions that stand out include racism and micro cultures in society.

Racism refers to a philosophy that promotes the dominance of one racial group over the others. The superior team gains access to better opportunities in all sectors of development while the rest languish in poverty. Ethnic segregation is one of the intercultural communication concepts that stand out in Rodriguez’s book, Always Running. The author used several examples to show the existence of this degrading ideology.  For instance, he explains that when he was in school, he was bullied since he could not speak English. To make matters worse, he was often asked to sit at the back of the class and build blocks like a baby. Later, he was put in the “C” track. It seems as though the education system did not intend to help him overcome his illiteracy simply because he was not white. It was also racist that the whites referred to Mexicans as the greasers. 

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The concept of racism is used to explain the challenges that faced members of the minority classes. Rodriguez describes it help the readers understand why he chose to join the gang life. As he relates the problems that he faced at school, when finding a job, and in comparing to the rest of society, one can understand his reasoning. He is a young adolescent getting bullied at school and hated by the society simply because he is Mexican. On the other hand, the gangs offer him protection, status, and a sense of identity. The saddest news is that the situation has not changed even during his son’s lifestyle. The lack of equal opportunities for all races has created resentment, thus creating a chance for destructive micro cultures. 

Concept of Racism

The concept of racism is applied appropriately. It explains the existence of the gangs. If this society was accommodating to people of all ethnicities, there is a probability that the life of Rodriguez would have been better. Quality education and well-paying jobs, reduce the motivation to join ruthless mobs. 

Based on the novel by Rodriguez, the consequences of racism in society include the mushrooming of disfranchised neighborhoods most of which are characterized by poverty and unemployment. For instance, Rodriguez and his family lived in shanty towns with poor housing and other social amenities. Such regions often reflect poorly on a city, city, and nation.  Additionally, the ideology creates resentment between the superior race and the minorities leading to the formation of destructive micro cultures such as the Chicago gangs. The mobs promote violence and robbery, thus affecting the security of an area.

The book also addresses the intercultural concept of micro-cultures. The ideology refers to identifiable groups of people living within some dominant cultural context. The teams are often a consequence of the society’s values, attitudes, and beliefs. In most cases, these communities consist of people who are either rebelling or staunch believers of philosophy in the pre-existing civilization. In Always Running, the micro-culture that stands out is the gang in the community.

The groups in Chicago had existed since the 1930s. The author mentions their activities throughout his work. In fact, his book revolves around his life with these mobs. Rodriguez talks about the gang Los Lamos. He was a member of the group. Notably, the crew was responsible for the escalating violence in the region. The teams seem to provide mentorship to the Mexican youths in that zone. The gangs help them cope with the miserable life created by the inequality in the nation. However, the teams are associated with drug and substance abuse, robberies, and other crimes. To make matters worse, the members of these crews face the risk of arrests and death during the heists and gang wars. For instance, Rodriguez goes to jail for shooting a man.

Elaborate Explanation About Gang Life

The elaborate explanation about gang life is compelling. It helps the readers understand the kind of life that the minorities had to tolerate. More so, it provides teenagers with the knowledge about the danger of being in such ruthless groups. In his book, Rodriguez makes it clear that these micro-cultures lead to jail or death. As such, he warns the youth against taking part in such cults. The fact that he managed to mend his life provides hope to the youngsters. He shows that it is possible to adopt a healthier lifestyle. As such, people who have already joined such groups are motivated to change their lives too.

According to Rodriguez, the consequences of gangs include risking a lifetime in jail. Individuals in these groups also face a high risk of death. He explains that about six hundred youths died as a result of their involvement in such criminal activities. Some of the victims were members of his family. On the other hand, he explains that exiting from such teams provides people with a chance to lead better and fuller lives. For instance, he was able to turn his life around and live a crime-free life.

The book provides insight on how inequality in society could lead to the formation of destructive micro cultures. For instance, in Rodriguez time, racism resulted in the rise of gangs that terrorized the society leading to the slow development of the region. The robbery, murders, and other crimes created high levels of insecurity. As such, I have learned that societies ought to be careful about their actions lest they create problems that may be hard to control. On the other hand, Rodriguez escape from gang life shows that there is hope of liberation for those in situations similar to his. As such, his book should be recommended for schools, especially those that are in regions that are faced with such challenges.