There is a nascent, but growing, literature on Southeast Asian youth violence that focuses on the role of acculturation, portraying violence as a problem of maladaptation. However, scholars overlook the ways in which violence holds meaning for the youth who experience it and how violence may be related to racial and gender identity formation. We conducted a qualitative study with young Southeast Asian men to elicit the role violence plays in their understanding of what it means for them to be Southeast Asian and male. We conducted focus groups and semi-structured individual interviews with an ethnically diverse group of 21 young Southeast Asian men 13–17 years of age from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California. Data were analyzed using the extended case method approach. Our findings illustrate that violence and engagement with community-based organizations are situational tools that these young Southeast Asian men use to navigate their social contexts in an attempt to be resilient in ecological contexts marked by alienation and discrimination, as well as to construct accepted and successful racial and gender identities. Furthermore, we found that their actions were guided by gendered codes of conduct, such as a “code of the street.”
Find article here.