Want to learn more about Mexican gangster tattoos? Do you have the right information to tell the difference between a Norteno and a Sureno by looking at their tattoos? Read our guide for more information…
Tattoos are viewed as a medium of expression by anyone who wears one; however, for a Mexican gangster it is much more than that. A tattoo can literally make the difference between life and death in certain situations and tattoos are worn as a badge of pride and belonging, and a mechanism through which potential attackers can recognize an individual as belonging to a certain gang who will protect him and fight for him, thus discouraging others from attacking the Mexican gangster. There are a whole host of different tattoos worn by Mexican gang members, some with nationalistic themes, others with religious themes. However, the most important tattoo for a Mexican gang member to have, especially for one in prison is a tattoo that will make him readily identifiable as belonging to a certain gang.
Mexican gangster tattoos make heavy use of symbolism, as well as numerology. It can be said that many of these tattoos are something like a code that while meaningless to most outsiders are instantly recognized by fellow gang members, as well as members of rival gangs.
Numerological Gangster Tattoos
Tattoos with numbers on them are very popular amongst Mexican gangsters. Often roman numerals are used although Arabic numerals seem to be just as common. In the state of California one of the two largest gangs, who are rivals to each other, are the Surenos, or southerners who, as the name would suggest, come from the southern part of California. Their gang number is thirteen, which is why you’ll usually see members of this gang sporting one of the following number combinations: 13, XIII, or X3. The reason for 13 is that M is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet. Also, a simple letter M is enough to signify membership of the Surenos who originated as the Mexican prison mafia gang known as La eme in Spanish, which translated into English simply means “M” which stands for Mexican Mafia.