1 J. Gender Race & Just. 141 (1997-1998)
Critical Race Feminism: Black Women and Gangs

handle is hein.journals/jgrj1 and id is 173 raw text is: Critical Race Feminism:
Black Women and Gangs*
Adrien K Wing and Christine A. Willis'
I. INTRODUCTION
A girl was tortured, tied to a manhole cover, and thrown off a bridge
to her death.' Another girl was attacked on her way home from the grocery
store and one of her fingers was chopped off.2 A young man was beaten so
severely he ended up in a coma.3 Two men were lured to a park and both were
shot in the head.4 All of these brutal crimes have one thing in common: they
were all committed by females, more specifically, female gang members.
Concern about gang violence and crime has resulted in a considerable
amount of research and legislation.' But neither Congress, state legislators, nor
social scientists have seriously considered the particular roles that females play
in gangs. One explanation for the absence of such scholarship is the low
* This article is based on an essay entitled Sisters in the Hood Beyond Bloods and Crips
which was included in CRmcAL RACE FEMINISM (Adrien K. Wing ed., forthcoming 1996). This article
is also based in part on research conducted for a book entitled GANGS: BEYOND BLOODS AND CRIPS, to
be co-authored by Professor Wing and Jim Brown. We would like to thank Professor Devon Carbado
and research assistant Sonya Braunschweig for reviewing drafts of this article.
** Professor of Law, The University of Iowa College of Law, A.B., Princeton, 1978; M.A.,
UCLA, 1979; J.D., Stanford Law School, 1982.
*** B.S., Central Missouri State University, 1994; J.D., The University of Iowa College of
Law, 1997.
1. See Esther Oxford, You Wanna Be a Gang Sister? Killfor It, INDEPENDENT, Dec. 1, 1993,
at 35.
2. See Girl Attacked by Female Gang, CHI. TRIB., May 10, 1995, at 3.
3. See Sarah Lundy, Two Girls in GangArrested, SUN-SENTINEL, Nov. 8, 1995, at lB.
4. Oxford, supra note 1, at 35.
5. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice through the National Institute of Justice has
funded many research projects regarding gang activity. See CLAIRE JOHNSON ET AL., PROSECUTING
GANGS: A NATIONAL ASSESSMENT, NAT'L INST. OF JUSTICE RESEARCH IN BRIEF (Feb. 1995); G. DAVID
CURRY ET AL., GANG CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT RECORDKEEPING, NAT'L INST. OF JUSTICE
RESEARCH IN BRIEF (Aug. 1994). The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act also
includes several provisions focused on gang behavior. Pub. L. No. 103-322, 108 Stat. 1796 (codified
as amended in scattered sections of 16, 18, and 42 U.S.C.A. (1995)).

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