My Brother Was More Than His Inmate Number

My Brother Was More Than His Inmate Number

Can I meet your family?.....Um about that.

My Brother Was More Than His Inmate Number
Personal Photo

Picture a Latino man with tattoos, a baggie red t-shirt, khakis, the newest pair of Jordans, a gold watch, a red bandana hanging from his hip and a joint tucked behind his ear. What are you thinking? Gangster? Criminal? Trouble?

No that's my brother.

From his outside appearance, you are intimidated, you might even hold your things tighter to your body or avoid any eye contact with him. Why?

It's because he creates this sense of fear which makes people question his innocence or lack thereof. Everyone has a stigma attached to gangster, a bad stigma.

Yet for the people he knows, he creates a sense of protection, safety, and security. I'm in that second group.

There were times I was embarrassed to be near him, because of the way he looked. The way he talked and the way he carried himself. Then there were times I grew sad.

Sad because his appearance made him look like he was only trouble. That he was going to steal. That he was going to start a fight. That he was a criminal and only that.


My brother was my protector. He was everyone's protector. He'd buy me food if I was hungry. He'd give me money if I desperately needed something. He'd defend me when I would be bullied. And he made me laugh.

He did whatever he had to do to survive and provide.

He was a man of his word. A father, a son and a big brother.

Raul had a lot going on in his life. Schools seemed to give up on him and family life was anything but easy, I know this because I came from the same place. Luckily I got the upper hand in life with my education and persistent adult.

But for him, the social workers, teachers, and tutors didn't put in 100% which hurt. I knew he had potential but everyone seemed to give up.

Never once did I fear him, but there were days I felt like I was going to lose him. To me, he was like a father figure, and though we were separated for a long time I knew he would do anything for me.

He pushed me to pursue my education and to prove people wrong. He wanted me to make a life for myself. I didn't want to let him down, because everyone else had.

Of course, this also meant he wanted me to avoid guys because he knew that some of them didn't have their heart in the right place. He was right.

Somedays he didn't think before he acted out, but does everyone? Sometimes he would get angry but never once did he lay a hand on a woman.

If you asked me if I wished my brother was different? I'd say no. Yes, I wish he would have made better choices but never once did he not love me, my mom or my siblings. I didn't want him to be different because he had so much passion and was driven in other ways. I didn't want him to change that part of himself.

Because of him, I knew life didn't come easy for people. That people needed to see more than a person's appearance. That life gives people different paths that they must learn how to walk on.

Some people find their belongingness in books, music, and friends, his was a gang. There's more to his story than I could ever write in one article but for now, this is what you need to know.

Society needs to see more than the crime. These criminals have had such diverse lives with societal factors affecting their upbringing. Some feel like society gave up on them. Some feel like society expected too much out of them. And for some, the criminal justice system is a joke. The world knows so little of people's stories, we all need to listen.

For me, my brother was more than his inmate number, more than a gang member, more than what people see.

He was a little bit of everything and more.

He is a human with emotions, with a purpose and with a family but wasn't given an equal chance. Today he is a “free man", I use free loosely because his appearance does not grant him the same freedom as someone else.

There is more to him than the tattoos, choice of music and record and I know that side will make people smiled.

To you he is scary but to me, he is the biggest goofball I know.

To you, he's a gangster but to me, he is a good father, a hard worker, and big brother.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Things You Need To Know About Our NEW Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams

Could THIS be the most dramatic season in "Bachelorette" history?

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Macronutrients, Because A Diet Should Be More Than Calories

Pay attention to what you're eating, not just how much you're eating.

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Just Because You're Asked To Be In A Wedding, Doesn't Always Mean You Should Say Yes

If you can't invest time, money, and YOURSELF, maybe say no to the offer for the bride's sake!

Being in a wedding is a really big commitment. I personally think if you've never been in one before, you don't understand the time, money, and energy that goes into being a part of it.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.


Keep Reading... Show less

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less

As any poor college student, a little kick of caffeine for less than a dollar has always sounded great to me. So, naturally, AriZona Iced Tea has been a go-to for as long as I can remember.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Dear Closeted Latina,

You were never alone.

Remember how the Latin world got rocked when Ricky Martin came out?

Keep Reading... Show less

If you're anything like me, you're probably anxious about going back to college. The uncertainty of nearly everything is stressful and makes it difficult to prepare for going back to campus. Take it one step at a time and remain calm! If nothing else, take a look at this list of six essentials for living on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic! You got this!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments