When someone makes charges of "blaming" his environment on Luis Rodriguez, I can only wonder what book they were reading and what kind of background this person has in order to level such a charge.
First, there can be no doubt that conditions that exist in such areas as East LA and surrounding areas for those of Mexican heritage aren't even comparable to those in, say, Beverly Hills. So, "taking responsibility "for one's own actions only goes so far. Things aren't ëqual "much less "fair" in America, and this is evident. Just look at how we have a privileged person in the White House.
Second, and related, Rodriguez does nothing of the sort in terms of äbsolving himself because of the conditions in his youth. It's interesting that instead of seeing Rodriguez's story as one of transcendence, this reader instead focuses on a negative, conservative viewpoint, rather than the positive, very human story of transending. It all depends upon what one's reference points are.
Stories such as Rodriguez's and Piri Thomas's, Malcolm's, Claude Brown's... are inspirational. They point the way for others in similar situations and show that with the help and attention of others in the community, young people in bad situations can go far, much further than those with narrow minds who sit back and see negativity in transcendent examples.