Always Running

Throughout Always Running, the memoir by Luis Rodriguez, the author describes various adversities faced in East L.A. during the 1960’s and 70’s. Along with the uprisings in the Latino communities in this period came the formation of the gang life and culture. Rodriguez vividly describes his youth involvement with such a lifestyle and the range of places it can forcefully direct the lives of partakers. Even though participation in the way of life requires personal choice, strong factors can influence a human’s judgment in making the decision as well. Discrimination and insufficient education are unpleasant problems individually, but when combined can lead to a synergetic outcome that bonds with poverty, drugs, violence, and can inevitably cause incarceration and death.
Many people who don’t speak English immigrate to the Unites States and start families without having adequate plans for work. Because they are illiterate and new to the country, they get taken advantage of by others. When Luis walks into a laboratory in which his father works as a janitor, he discovers the way his father is treated:

“Mr. Rodriguez, you have to be more careful with the placement of laboratory equipment,” trembled a professor’s stern voice.
“I unnerstan’…Sarry…I unnerstan’,” Dad replied.
…My dad looked like a lowly peasant, a man with a hat in his had – apologetic. At home he was king… But here my father turned into somebody else’s push-around. (136)

The professor clearly takes control of Luis’ father because of his bad English and passiveness. Poor working conditions allow minimum wage as the only accessible and legitimate salary to migrants. Rodriguez depicts how his parents both worked but were making barely enough to survive, “We couldn’t always pay the gas or light bills. When we couldn’t, we used candles... we ate without any light, whispering because that’s what people do in the dark” (22). This indicates that parents foreign to the country had tough times supplying...