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Interview Paper

Christopher J. Colas

Pacific Oaks College


Before I go into the evaluations and interview reviews of this paper, I wanted to thank my

interviewees. They opened up about very personal and deep issues they went through during

their younger lives, and I appreciate and will treat the trust they gave me with their stories with

the respect it deserves.

I will start with my first interview, we’ll call him Daniel because his story truly reminded

me of someone who has survived in a pit of lions. Ill begin with a back story on my subject.

Daniel is 23 turning 24 in a few weeks, he is Mexican and was born in Lincoln Heights right here

in Los Angeles California. I have learned much about Daniel throughout our conversations, he

comes from a family that generationally have been in the same gang all the way back to his

grandfather who was one of its founding members and whose name still holds weight in many

ways. Daniel had little to no chance but to be involved in the life of his Familia. I wanted this

interview to be comfortable for Daniel, so I pondered for days on what to ask him. and the day

we sat down I explained to him that I had a hard time coming up with questions for him. he

inquired as to why and I explained to him that I wasn’t sure what he was comfortable revealing

to me, since it was going on record and would be read by my professor and possibly others. I

went on to explain our classes confidentiality views when he cut me off. He said “check it out I

agreed to do this interview and whatever you ask I’m good.” So now my questions that I had

prepared would go out the window and I decided to drive through this interview blind. And I am

very glad that I did. Our book talks about urban communities and how the surroundings you may

have as an adolescent can affect the way you become an adult. Not only has Daniel been a

product of one of the largest Urban cities in America, but also has been born and bred in one of

its most Underserviced neighborhoods in it. our book Adolescent Development and School

Achievement in Urban Communities describe underserviced neighborhoods as; “Urban

neighborhoods that contain high-rise housing projects, litter strewn yards, and packs of young

men lurking on street corners.” The book does go on to explain about many other aspects such as

healthcare and other community issues that make a neighborhood underserviced, but I wanted

Daniel to read this part to see how he reacted. He told me that he grew up in a neighborhood

similar to that description. Our bond was created due to our similar upbringing and scenarios as

we grew up, in fact our framework as the book also explains as a vital developmental stage for

adolescents especially in urban settings were similar growing up.

Before I get into the interview portion of this paper I want to introduce my second

interview subject. I decided to go on the opposite side of the spectrum with my second

interviewee. Let’s call this person Antoinette, I call her this because she has no clue to any

existence outside her pretty little world. I met Antoinette at the woman’s sober living house that

is a part of the jubilee homes that I work at. She is 19 years old and was born and raised in

“South Pasadena”. Our interview didn’t last very long. I had a hard time finding a second subject

and she came up kind of last minute. I wasn’t prepared to interview a woman either so I had to

adapt some questions. Antoinette had a very privileged upbringing her family has a huge house Commented [CW1]: …upbringing, growing up in a huge
home in South Pasadena near the Huntington Library.
in South Pasadena near the Huntington library. Her life as an adolescent is a complete 180 Commented [DC2R1]:

degree opposite from Daniel’s. Therefore, I was glad to have gotten her to do my interview, I Commented [CW3]: Apostrophe s on Daniels


excited to get the views of growing up from both of them and see if I could find any common


Daniels Interview;

“Thank you for letting me interview you, I really appreciate it.”

“No problem homie let’s do this.”

“My first question is how would you describe your life as a teenager?”

“Shit where do I start, by the time I was 12 I was already putting in work for the big

homies in the neighborhood.”

“Putting in work how?”

“You know the usual shit a kid does at twelve, playing watch out for the dope spot,

running cash and drugs up and down the spot, the usual. So, I did that for a while then when I

was thirteen I got jumped in to the chicos cutdown click of the East Side Clovers. once I was

jumped in I put in a lot more work for the set I was making money hustling H for the big homie

and it was all good for a while. When I was fifteen years old me and some of the homies got

pulled over and my uncle who was driving had a half pound of ice and we were all packing, so of

course he booked it. After a short chase, we crashed, my leg was busted up all to hell so they got

me right away I couldn’t even try to book it. my uncle and two homies were able to get away so I

did what I had to do, what I was taught to do, I took the heat for the dope and the gun that was on
me and the ones left behind too. The judge sentenced me to juvi until I turned eighteen, so I

spent three years in Y.A. we called it gladiator school. After that I got out, caught another B&E


case so they sent me away for that, then I got out again in 2009 I violated my parole fifteen

weeks later and went back in and I was there until July 21st of 2016, spent four months at

homeboy industries getting clean and moved in here in November I think it was.”

“So, you were locked up through most of your young adult life. How would you describe going

through things like puberty and other teenage milestones, while in juvi and prison?

“juvi was a fucking mad house they call Y.A. the gladiator school because that’s exactly

what the fuck it is. It makes little bad asses into monsters. There were tons of programs set up for

us to become better people but none of my people gave a shit about any of that. I had homies

already in there so I hooked up with them real quick. When your spending half the time looking

out for the five o’ coming to take your shit or smack the shit or of you with a stick, and the other

half looking out for big sticks, and prison wolfs trying to catch you slipping and fuck you, or

other cars trying to fuck you up, you don’t really worry about your changing bodies, or your

voice cracking, you know what I mean?”

“Yeah I know what you mean. So, in other words you feel like you missed out on having a

young life and had to grow up faster than most?”

“yeah, I didn’t go to the dance, or get my drivers license, or feel up my prom date in the

back of my dads caddy. None of that shit you see on the T.V.”

“That brings me straight into my next question. Last one promise!”
“O.K. it’s cool.”


“Being locked up at such a young age, fifteen. I imagine, now stop me if I’m wrong, you were

never intimate with a girl. How does a young man in prison get through all the sexual feelings

that young men have during that time, in a place full of men, where like you said, one would not

have that opportunity other young men have with the opposite sex?”

“I don’t know man…I guess if you’re talking about sex?... It’s like this homez, sex for

me at that age came from a completely different place. Sex was never a result of love, sex came

from a place of rage, violence, and punishment. It was a shameful act and was viewed upon as an

act of hate. To many it was a necessary rage. Sex served a purpose. It wasn’t about getting your

chales off, it was about sending a message or taking something from someone. The Punales they

were segregated we never saw them and they never saw us, and that’s a good thing for their

safety. I enjoy women but I never had a chance to be close to a woman, I never had a woman

care about me or me care about her. A relationship is something I can’t imagine being in.

“I know I said we were done but one last thing. If you could talk to your 13-year-old self, what

would you say to him?”

“I would tell him to keep his head up, stay loyal, be strong, don’t be anyone’s bitch, I

guess I’d tell him to stay straight and maybe stay in school, but I know his little hard ass

wouldn’t listen, so I guess I’d have to tell him to keep it gangster que no!”

Antoinette’s interview:
“Ok I know you have to go soon so I’m going to make this quick I have a few questions, quick

and easy.”



“Your currently in a sober living house, due to your addictions’ do you think your adolescent

years differ to other women in the same situation or house as you?”

“I think I grew up with a lot more opportunities available to me than some of the women

I live with. I had a nice house, a car when I was 16, lots of friends, nice things. Some of these

girls never had that growing up”.

“So, you think you had it better than a lot of people?”

“I mean I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but yeah.”

“don’t worry, there’s no judgment here, everyone is different. Can you describe your life as a

teenager for me?”

“I don’t know it was your typical regular life, I was an only child, my dad worked in real

estate and my mom was a stay at home mom. I grew up in south pass, I went to SPHS, had lots

of friends. I was a good student, I played soccer and soft ball, and I got good grades. I don’t

really know what else to say I had a normal life.”

“Well if you don’t mind me asking, how did you end up in rehab, and now sober living?”

“Oh, I started drinking beer with my friends, and then we tried weed and before you

know it I was smoking weed a lot, like every day. And then I guess that’s why my mom sent me
to a shrink, I was “depressed” per my family so I got hooked on zanax. And before you know it I

was stealing from my dad’s Vicodin for his back and taking 10 to 15 different pills a day. My


mom and dad sent me to this rehab in Pasadena and I got through it. they suggested I come to a

sober living and here I am.”

“Last question. Do you feel like you belong here?”

“No, these girls here have tons of baggage. One of them was in jail! All I did was steal a

few pills.”

“Thanks I think that ot to do it.”

“No problem, your welcome.”

My review:

The first thing that I could not get over was how different these two interviews were. Not

only the fact that the people were different, what I am describing is the difference between the

interview itself. I took detailed notes so that the interview that I put on paper was the same as

what was spoken aloud. But what couldn’t be expressed in the writing of this paper was the

attitude and general feel of each one. Antoinette was very bland and vanilla, I don’t know if it

came across but I was having more judge mental feelings about her than the man who was Commented [CW4]: judgmental

confessing a life of crime and violence. I set off to find a common thread in the two subjects, and

believe me it was difficult, they could not be more different. But I did find it! what I found and it Commented [CW5]: Suggestion:.. they could not be more
is very interesting, is that fact that when I asked them to describe their situations they both stated
that it was your normal typical situations of a growing adolescent. Daniel felt that being a drug

lookout at the age of 12 was normal and typical. Where Antoinette felt it to be normal and


typical to be in a nice house with anything and everything she needed given to her. As it states in

our book that a teenager’s surroundings truly do affect him or her in many ways.

Looking back at these two interviews I found it fascinating that two people, that have

nearly nothing in common could be in a similar situation. What I learned in this situation is

whether you grow up in a nice house in South Pasadena, or in a prison cell and on the streets, Commented [CW6]: South

everyone has a bond, everyone has a story to be told and you should always listen. Daniel is a

two striker, with this being his last chance, I can only hope he gets his life in order. I wish I could

say I had high hopes for him, but unfortunately, I see him already sinking into his old ways. As

for Antionette, I feel like she does not have a clue about the real world, her parents forced her

into this. And thus, she has been already kicked out for drinking. I conclude with high hopes for

both and nothing but gratitude and thanks for them entrusting me with their stories.


Calvin, E. (2014, Jan 13). Growing up in prison. Los Angeles Times Retrieved from

Valli Rajah Ronald Kramer Hung-EnSung (July-04-2014). Changing narrative accounts: How

young men tell different stories when arrested, enduring jail time and navigating community

reentry. Punishment & Society Vol 16, Issue 3, pp. 285 – 304. Retrieved from

Carey, William B (02/01/2003). Problems in growing up rich II: like being a beautiful woman.

Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Retrieved from

Gary L. Creasey & Patricia A. Jarvis (2013) Adolescent Development and School Achievement

in Urban Communities.

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