Gang members wear distinctive clothing, use special street names and symbols, and commit organized and spontaneous criminal acts within the community." (Sachs)
The primary reasons for juveniles seeking membership in gangs are the following: dysfunctional family conditions (poor parenting skills, continuous violent and abusive practices by adult members, drug and alcohol abuse, and a family history of gang membership). More specifically many gang members have poor environmental conditions (poverty) and poor performance in school (serious academic and attendance problems and failure to engage in positive peer relationships and/or activities).
Gang culture can fill those voids in a young person's life. Gangs give their members feelings of belonging, identity, power, security, and even love. Once someone has joined a gang it may be difficult to leave, because of threats. But gang activities range from selling drugs, stealing cars, to brutalizing and robbing. And gang members themselves estimate that 75 percent may have access to a firearm. Gangs cut across all ethnic and racial lines. It's true that the majority of gangs are made up of Hispanics and blacks; however, there are a growing number of white adolescents who are either joining minority gangs or forming their own. These white adolescent gangs copy many of the same characteristics as minority gangs, such as clothing styles, hand signs, colors, symbols, and graffiti. In their efforts to be a part of a gang, "colors" are a member's way of showing their inclusion in a sort of artificial family, in order to achieve a sense of belonging. The "gang look" is meant to intimidate those who are not in a gang. Clothing according to the style, color, and the manner it is worn, might indicate that an individual, a young male or female, is a gang member. Unfortunately, many of today's youths who are not connected with gang activity have adopted the same styles and manners of dress because it's "cool."
Gang members reinforce their sense of gang membership by adopting a style of dress. Most members are proud of their gang and openly display signs of membership. "There are two basic types of gang clothing. The first type of gang clothing is designed to make observers believe the individual belongs to a gang without specifically identifying which one. This clothing may indicate the type of gang, such as Hispanic or black, but not name the particular gang. The second type of gang clothing identifies a particular gang by a gang name, color, or logo which may appear on jackets or sweatshirts. Members of black gangs often identify themselves with specific colors of clothing. Members of the Bloods use the color red, while members of the Crips use the color blue. Colors can be represented on headgear, earrings, shoelaces, belts, handkerchiefs, bandannas, and even vehicles. Other than jeans, Bloods will avoid wearing the color blue. Likewise, Crips will avoid weari