Characteristics Of Chicago Gang Gangs

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One of the key – sacred, in some instances – characteristics of Chicago’s gangs of the 1920 was the division across ethnic lines. In other words, representatives of the same ethnic group stuck together and frowned upon the inclusion of outsiders into their gangs. Of course, larger gangs were often multiethnic, but their core was predominantly monoethnic. The same tendency prevailed across the country, as gangs in New York and Philadelphia were also increasingly homogenous. Asian triads, Italian mafia, Irish and
Jewish gangs were all incestuous organizations with ethnically homogenous core. Thus, Johnny Torrio and Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit was an Italian American gang. Their rivals, the North Side Gang, were primarily individuals of Irish descent. Westside
O’Donnells and Southside O’Donnells also comprised mobsters who were most often of Irish origin. Hence, most gangs were based on the perceived bonds of ethnic loyalty or on the assumption that compatriots would not sell out. This perceived truth was inculcated in the children of immigrants since childhood by their relatives and peers alike. Fisher explains that not only street gangs but also such seemingly innocuous associations as social athletic clubs in Chicago of the early 20th century were divided across ethnic lines. Neighborhood identity fueled this insularism, as ethnically diverse children groups from different neighborhoods engaged in melees with others, with the most common confrontations unfolding between
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