When They Call You a Terrorist


Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

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War on Gangs Term Analysis

The war on gangs, though less of a popularized phrase than the “war on drugs,” is an on-going effort by the U.S. government to reduce gang-related activity, such as violence and the illicit drug trade. Its initiatives to monitor and deter gang activity include legislation, federal programs, and local policing tactics.

War on Gangs Quotes in When They Call You a Terrorist

The When They Call You a Terrorist quotes below are all either spoken by War on Gangs or refer to War on Gangs. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the St. Martin's Griffin edition of When They Call You a Terrorist published in 2020.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Whatever goes through their minds after being half stripped in public and having their childhoods flung to the ground and ground into the concrete, we will never speak of this incident or the ones that will follow as Van Nuys becomes ground zero in the war on drugs and the war on gangs, designations that add even more license to police already empowered to do whatever they want to us.

Related Characters: Patrisse Khan-Cullors (speaker), Monte Cullors, Paul
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

For my brothers, and especially for Monte, learning that they did not matter, that they were expendable, began in the streets, began while they were hanging out with friends, began while they were literally breathing while Black […] For us, law enforcement had nothing to do with protecting and serving, but controlling and containing the movement of children who had been labeled super-predators simply by virtue of who they were born to and where they were born, not because they were actually doing anything predatory.

Related Characters: Patrisse Khan-Cullors (speaker), Monte Cullors
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

In 1986 when I am three years old, Ronald Reagan reenergizes the drug war that was started in 1971 by Richard Nixon by further militarizing the police in our communities, which swells the number of Black and Latinx men who are incarcerated. Between 1982 and 2000, the number of people locked up in the state of California grows by 500 percent. And it will be nearly a quarter of a century before my home state is forced, under consent decree, to reduce the number of people it's locked up, signaling, we hope, the end of what will eventually be called the civil rights crisis of our time.

Related Characters: Patrisse Khan-Cullors (speaker), Gabriel Brignac
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

The groups of kids they first called gangs were really young people who were friends, they were my friends, and they took a defensive posture against what looked and felt like an actual advancing army that came in on foot and came in police cars for which the county had appropriated ever more dollars to patrol us with. And worse than the cars, most frightening of all, were the helicopters overhead. At all hours of day and night they hovered above us, shone lights into the midnight, circling and surveilling, vultures looking for the best next prey.

Related Characters: Patrisse Khan-Cullors (speaker)
Related Symbols: Helicopters
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
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War on Gangs Term Timeline in When They Call You a Terrorist

The timeline below shows where the term War on Gangs appears in When They Call You a Terrorist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Magnitude and Bond
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
This is the 1990s, the middle of the war on drugs and the war on gangs . Being Black or Mexican makes you a drug dealer or dangerous criminal, and a... (full context)
Chapter 8: Zero Dark Thirty
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Intersectionality of Identity Theme Icon
...are good jobs. Patrisse accepts that her mother is leaving but also feels that the war on gangs is a “forced migration project” and “ethnic cleansing”—people of color out and young white people... (full context)
Chapter 16: When They Call You a Terrorist
Black Lives Matter Theme Icon
Prisons and Policing Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Healing Theme Icon
...part of a forgotten generation—people who are written off by the war on drugs and war on gangs , who have no access to good schools, and who are pushed out of their... (full context)