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Upstate Sureños


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Since this server is going to have norteños, it makes sense to discuss their counterpart, which will inevitably be roleplayed too. The purpose of this thread is to cover the basic concept of "upstate sureños". I never saw this done on LSRP, and I wasn't even familiar with their history and culture until only a couple of years ago after I had already left. Therefore I'm assuming it's not widely known knowledge. I'd like to get this information out there so that it might be of assistance to anybody considering a faction like this, or perhaps it might bring these gangs to your attention if you're unfamiliar with them.

 

"Upstate sureños" are sureños in northern California. They differ from Central Valley/'Centro Valle' sureños and proper Southern California sureños in very significant ways.

 

Traditionally, the only sureños who actually had contact with norteños and fought them outside of prison were those in the Central Valley area, in towns like Bakersfield and Visalia where the north/south lines met. This changed with the growth of upstate sureños. Since the 90s, sureño gangs have been growing in Northern California and now represent a significant threat to the business interests of the Nuestra Familia.

 

The important thing to note about upstate sureños is that they are not sureños from L.A. or SoCal who "moved", as some might think. They are homegrown northern gangs. Their roots lay in Hispanic varrios who had conflict with norteños. Many of them were 'paisas' or the children of paisas, who were considered southerners by the norteños and thus targeted. These groups started their own varrios, beginning in the 80s, and eventually took up the sureño identity purely out of hostility to norteños. These northern sureños would be exposed to SoCal sureños in prison, who up until then were not aware of their existence. At some point the Mexican Mafia, or more likely one member of it with central or northern territories, put these gangs under their flag. I am not familiar with the specifics of this story but it definitely happened, as northern carnales collect tax from them. This essentially made upstate sureños bonafide sureños, and there have been '13' gangs in the north ever since.

 

Most of these varrios are located in the major cities in the Bay Area, but there are also some in traditional norteño stronghold towns like Salinas. Their combat with local norteños is vicious. 

 

The second important point is that these are no longer paisa gangs. They are in their 3rd or 4th generation and are now as northern as the norteños in their 'breeding', so to speak. It's just that if you're born into a 13 neighborhood instead of a 14 neighborhood, you're going to be an upstate sureño. 

 

I'm not totally familiar with all of the cultural differences between NorCal and SoCal sureños and how that plays out in prison, but I know that they are significant. Upstate sureños are notably different to, for example, an 18th St member.

 

The Eme-NF truce inside the prison system has been very confusing and frustrating for both upstate sureños and for the norteños who have them in their communities. These gangs are brought up to hate each other in a way that is probably fiercer than most other gang rivalries, but are then told they are not permitted to fight them once they get to prison. Just an interesting point of trivia.

 

I'd like to encourage discussion on this topic, and the possibility of having both norteños and upstate sureños roleplaying in Grapeseed/Paleto Bay. If roleplayed properly, there is potential for extremely interesting gang interactions and dynamics.

Edited by largehazard
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Great point @largehazard

 

I honestly see no harm in letting Nortenos be on the server, I know the competitive server prevents them from flourishing. I remember a few Norteno gangs in Fort Carson on SAMP LSRP but nothing really elevated to prominence. It's just crucial that people understand the cultural gang differences between LA influenced Surenos and those from upstate. The violence carried out by Surenos isn't just found in LA but all over the state and they did have continual conflicts. I actually enjoyed seeing Norteno RP in SAMP as it was something unique, and refreshing. I remember roleplaying in a Sureno faction that had a beef with a Norteno gang and lowkey I admired watching their DM videos. I thoroughly believe this server can handle the management of these factions as LSRP has quite the long history with illegal gang roleplay. It just all depends on how the leaders can portray something unique to the upstate Norteno vibe. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, i hold the shank said:

Great point @largehazard

 

I honestly see no harm in letting Nortenos be on the server, I know the competitive server prevents them from flourishing. I remember a few Norteno gangs in Fort Carson on SAMP LSRP but nothing really elevated to prominence. It's just crucial that people understand the cultural gang differences between LA influenced Surenos and those from upstate. The violence carried out by Surenos isn't just found in LA but all over the state and they did have continual conflicts. I actually enjoyed seeing Norteno RP in SAMP as it was something unique, and refreshing. I remember roleplaying in a Sureno faction that had a beef with a Norteno gang and lowkey I admired watching their DM videos. I thoroughly believe this server can handle the management of these factions as LSRP has quite the long history with illegal gang roleplay. It just all depends on how the leaders can portray something unique to the upstate Norteno vibe. 

 

 

Agreed. Norteños were almost always done pretty badly but their culture and way of doing business is very interesting, so in theory you could get a really good faction out of it. I would rather have that possibility open than not. Idk why it was locked off on GTAW.

 

Anyway, I don't think the possibility of having norteños was ever in question here. This thread is more about the possibility of having accurate sureño gangs in the northern parts of the map as well. I would like to see both, and I can only imagine those who are already planning to lead norteño factions would like it as well considering their neighborhoods will be pretty inactive without something like this.

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1 minute ago, largehazard said:

Agreed. Norteños were almost always done pretty badly but their culture and way of doing business is very interesting, so in theory you could get a really good faction out of it. I would rather have that possibility open than not. Idk why it was locked off on GTAW.

 

Anyway, I don't think the possibility of having norteños was ever in question here. This thread is more about the possibility of having accurate sureño gangs in the northern parts of the map as well. I would like to see both, and I can only imagine those who are already planning to lead norteño factions would like it as well considering their neighborhoods will be pretty inactive without something like this.

 

My bad if I interpreted it in a different way as you said you've never seen it done on LSRP. 

 

Honestly I think the roleplay as a whole surrounding Sureno RP and Norteno RP changed after 2016 or so on SAMP LSRP. It went from making historic factions from LA or up north to these weird ass lowkey DMer squads of gangs that didn't even exist. Some factions had wild and outlandish names, I found most of these were the Norteno factions and they didn't focus much on RP and only liked shooting turfs up and repping the 14 or 13. 

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5 minutes ago, i hold the shank said:

 

My bad if I interpreted it in a different way as you said you've never seen it done on LSRP. 

 

Honestly I think the roleplay as a whole surrounding Sureno RP and Norteno RP changed after 2016 or so on SAMP LSRP. It went from making historic factions from LA or up north to these weird ass lowkey DMer squads of gangs that didn't even exist. Some factions had wild and outlandish names, I found most of these were the Norteno factions and they didn't focus much on RP and only liked shooting turfs up and repping the 14 or 13. 

yeah that's pretty much how I remember it lmao

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On 2/28/2022 at 1:17 PM, largehazard said:

They are homegrown northern gangs. Their roots lay in Hispanic varrios who had conflict with norteños. Many of them were 'paisas' or the children of paisas, who were considered southerners by the norteños and thus targeted.


I'm not super familiar with NoCal gangs, but a lot of your post matches what I've seen in research by Norma Mendoza-Denton on gang members in the Bay area. I'll share some info I learned.

Looking mostly at Surenas across multiple studies, the NoCal ones seemed obsessed with saying "I'm a Surena because I'm not like a Nortena" but the SoCal Surenas never really talked about being "Surena". The whole concept didn't seem to matter to them. Girls were more likely to talk about their specific gang/barrio, rather than the larger "Sureno" or "Southern" culture.

I think the important thing is that a lot of the Bay area kids in the Mendoza-Denton study were acting a certain way not because of their upbringing/childhood, but because they wanted to show "we're different from that other group". Maybe in Los Angeles you don't need to prove you are a "true Mexican", but the Bay area kids in her study are obsessed with questions about being a real Mexican or fake Mexican. I think living in that type of border zone (between gangs of the same ethnicity) can create that drama and tension and confusion. So much of this matches up with the idea that NoCal Surenos "took up the sureño identity purely out of hostility to norteños"

In the Mendoza-Denton study, Spanish was "backwards" and English was "snobby". Southern students would speak Spanish and follow Mexican pop culture trends, but Northern students would speak English and follow American (black) pop culture trends. At one point the Surenas try to get Mendoza-Denton to break up with her "gringo" boyfriend. Nortenas would date white boys, black boys, anyone they wanted, but Surenas would only date "Spanish" boys. A lot of the specific elements of this dynamic are dated now, but I think the overall dynamic itself is interesting. They were using symbols to prove they were North or South.

Like largehazard was saying, the Southern students were often from rural/working class immigrant families. (The more middle/upper class Mexican immigrants tried to avoid gang dynamics.) Even if Surenos knew English, they would speak Spanish to prove that they were "Southern". It was the same with the Northerners insisting on English. If a kid ever switched between North and South (maybe because their family moved) they would suddenly forget how to speak the other language at school. An interesting thing to me is that so many of these kids probably knew Spanish, based on the demographic data. But in some schools, Spanish=13 and English=14.

Adopting symbols/language/code was of course super important. When Mendoza-Denton was talking to an MS13 member, he told her about a Mexican-American boy who started speaking like a Salvadoran when he joined their gang. It wasn't because he grew up around Salvadorans, it was because he joined the gang. This type of shift isn't something I saw as much in Los Angeles research.

 

On 2/28/2022 at 1:17 PM, largehazard said:

At some point the Mexican Mafia, or more likely one member of it with central or northern territories, put these gangs under their flag. I am not familiar with the specifics of this story but it definitely happened, as northern carnales collect tax from them.


I don't know the specifics either, but my takeaway from Patrick Lopez-Aguado ("Racial Sorting and the Spillover of Carceral Identity") is that the California correctional system itself can play a big role in defining culture. Sometimes the feeling of gang culture is created by experiences in jail/prison or youth facilities, and sometimes a homeboy doesn't know he's a Norteno, Sureno, Bulldog, whatever, until he actually ends up in juvenile/jail/prison. (Girls adopt this culture from their neighbourhood/family, not from incarceration.) And my takeaway from David Skarbek's work on prison gangs is that the correctional system starts segregating populations when the violence reaches a certain level. When violence spread between Fresno gangs and other Northern gangs, the authorities separated the Fresno gangs, and Lopez-Aguado's work suggests the real Bulldog culture was born after this happened.

So I'm just speculating but at some point there might have been a spike in violence like that, so the authorities separated the NoCal Surenos from the Nortenos. Some of these NoCal Surenos might not have even thought of themselves as "Surenos" until they were segregated, and that's when they came into contact with the Mexican Mafia. So maybe it was just a case of different groups taking advantage of the situation. (So I think the Lopez-Aguado stuff matches what you're saying as well when you say "These northern sureños would be exposed to SoCal sureños in prison, who up until then were not aware of their existence.") You can see this on a smaller scale in high schools in the Mendoza-Denton study, where ESL performance could factor into Norteno/Sureno status, often because of who you got put in a class with. The gangs would recruit whoever the teacher put in front of them. So in one case an upper-class girl almost became a Surena because of her class assignment. You'll hear some academics argue that schools are just mini-prisons.

Edited by La Mala
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9 hours ago, La Mala said:


I'm not super familiar with NoCal gangs, but a lot of your post matches what I've seen in research by Norma Mendoza-Denton on gang members in the Bay area. I'll share some info I learned.

Looking mostly at Surenas across multiple studies, the NoCal ones seemed obsessed with saying "I'm a Surena because I'm not like a Nortena" but the SoCal Surenas never really talked about being "Surena". The whole concept didn't seem to matter to them. Girls were more likely to talk about their specific gang/barrio, rather than the larger "Sureno" or "Southern" culture.

I think the important thing is that a lot of the Bay area kids in the Mendoza-Denton study were acting a certain way not because of their upbringing/childhood, but because they wanted to show "we're different from that other group". Maybe in Los Angeles you don't need to prove you are a "true Mexican", but the Bay area kids in her study are obsessed with questions about being a real Mexican or fake Mexican. I think living in that type of border zone (between gangs of the same ethnicity) can create that drama and tension and confusion. So much of this matches up with the idea that NoCal Surenos "took up the sureño identity purely out of hostility to norteños"

In the Mendoza-Denton study, Spanish was "backwards" and English was "snobby". Southern students would speak Spanish and follow Mexican pop culture trends, but Northern students would speak English and follow American (black) pop culture trends. At one point the Surenas try to get Mendoza-Denton to break up with her "gringo" boyfriend. Nortenas would date white boys, black boys, anyone they wanted, but Surenas would only date "Spanish" boys. A lot of the specific elements of this dynamic are dated now, but I think the overall dynamic itself is interesting. They were using symbols to prove they were North or South.

Like largehazard was saying, the Southern students were often from rural/working class immigrant families. (The more middle/upper class Mexican immigrants tried to avoid gang dynamics.) Even if Surenos knew English, they would speak Spanish to prove that they were "Southern". It was the same with the Northerners insisting on English. If a kid ever switched between North and South (maybe because their family moved) they would suddenly forget how to speak the other language at school. An interesting thing to me is that so many of these kids probably knew Spanish, based on the demographic data. But in some schools, Spanish=13 and English=14.

Adopting symbols/language/code was of course super important. When Mendoza-Denton was talking to an MS13 member, he told her about a Mexican-American boy who started speaking like a Salvadoran when he joined their gang. It wasn't because he grew up around Salvadorans, it was because he joined the gang. This type of shift isn't something I saw as much in Los Angeles research.

 


I don't know the specifics either, but my takeaway from Patrick Lopez-Aguado ("Racial Sorting and the Spillover of Carceral Identity") is that the California correctional system itself can play a big role in defining culture. Sometimes the feeling of gang culture is created by experiences in jail/prison or youth facilities, and sometimes a homeboy doesn't know he's a Norteno, Sureno, Bulldog, whatever, until he actually ends up in juvenile/jail/prison. (Girls adopt this culture from their neighbourhood/family, not from incarceration.) And my takeaway from David Skarbek's work on prison gangs is that the correctional system starts segregating populations when the violence reaches a certain level. When violence spread between Fresno gangs and other Northern gangs, the authorities separated the Fresno gangs, and Lopez-Aguado's work suggests the real Bulldog culture was born after this happened.

So I'm just speculating but at some point there might have been a spike in violence like that, so the authorities separated the NoCal Surenos from the Nortenos. Some of these NoCal Surenos might not have even thought of themselves as "Surenos" until they were segregated, and that's when they came into contact with the Mexican Mafia. So maybe it was just a case of different groups taking advantage of the situation. (So I think the Lopez-Aguado stuff matches what you're saying as well when you say "These northern sureños would be exposed to SoCal sureños in prison, who up until then were not aware of their existence.") You can see this on a smaller scale in high schools in the Mendoza-Denton study, where ESL performance could factor into Norteno/Sureno status, often because of who you got put in a class with. The gangs would recruit whoever the teacher put in front of them. So in one case an upper-class girl almost became a Surena because of her class assignment. You'll hear some academics argue that schools are just mini-prisons.

Thanks for this. The only thing I really knew about their culture is exactly what you pointed out, they're more "black influenced" because that's the style in NorCal. But they also make a point of distinguishing themselves from Norteños so I think they try to "Latinize" some things up to be different, and more like Sureños.

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  • 2 months later...

So just a little context since I live in the Visalia/Tulare Ca area, the norteno/surenos fighting isn't as predominate as it was in the late 80s early 90s, as of late though there have been many "Upstate Surenos" moving into neighboring towns such as Orosi (A small Farm town) and have many problems with its neighboring town (Cutler). Since I've been living here since middle school, I notice more people claiming red (Nortenos). I know a lot of people from both side and even when in high school it wasn't an everyday occurrence to see a gang fight even with adults. The only real issue we have right now have been Nortenos from Out-of-Town causing problems with the sets here and that leads to a few issues throughout town. Other than that, just regular crimes.

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