In The Outsiders, why do Greasers and Socs dislike each other?

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The Greasers and Socs are rivals gangs, whose members continually fight each other in rumbles and cause ruckuses throughout their city. The Greaser members hail from the poorer East-side of the city, while the Socs come from the affluent West-side. The Greasers despise the Socs for numerous reasons. Many of the Greasers resent the Soc members because of their wealthy upbringing and stable home lives. Unlike the Socs, the Greasers come from broken homes and do not enjoy the same privileges. The Greasers also view the Socs as callous individuals, who have nothing better to do than to fight them for no reason. The Socs are notorious for jumping defenseless Greasers, which is one of the main reasons the Greasers loathe their rival gang. The Greasers are also aware that the Socs view them with contempt and get away with nearly every crime they commit. Unlike the wealthy Socs, the Greasers have a bad reputation because of their intimidating appearance and lower social status. Despite their many differences and hateful attitude towards the Socs, Ponyboy learns that the Greasers have more in common with their rivals than he initially thought.

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The Greasers and the Socs dislike each other, because they do not understand each other.  There is a vast socioeconomic divide that exists between the two groups.  The Greasers hate the Socs, because the Greasers believe that the Socs have it easy with all of their money and privilege.  The Socs hate the Greasers, because they are easy targets to hate.  The Greasers are poor and powerless, so the Socs feel that they are entitled to beat upon the low life Greasers.  Each group cannot seem to relate at all to the other group, so there is fear and hatred there.  People tend to dislike what they do not understand.  That's why I disliked college philosophy.  I just flat out didn't understand any of it; therefore, I told everybody that it was the worst class ever.  Socs and Greasers don't understand each other, so dislike follows shortly after. 

What neither group understands though is that they are more alike than different.  Cherry understands it, and she understands it early in the novel.  It's why she tells Ponyboy that "things are rough all over" in chapter 2.

Late in the novel Randy comes to talk to Ponyboy.  At the end of the conversation, both boys seem to genuinely understand where the other guy is coming from.  Because of that, both boys leave the encounter with mutual respect for each other, not dislike.  

"Thanks, grease," he said, trying to grin. Then he stopped. "I didn't mean that. I meant, thanks, kid."

"My name's Ponyboy," I said. "Nice talkin' to you, Randy."

I walked over to Two-Bit, and Randy honked for his friends to come and get into the car.

"What'd he want?" Two-Bit asked. "What'd Mr. Super-Soc have to say?"

"He ain't a Soc," I said, "he's just a guy. He just wanted to talk."

Notice that once understanding between Pony and Randy happened, all negative slang and name calling dropped out.  No longer was there a faceless group to dislike.  Now there was another person, with problems of his own.  

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The conflict between the Greasers and the Socs is rooted in class distinctions. The Socs are rich; they have influence and power in their society. They get preferential treatment, even when they break the law in acts of selfishness and arrogance. The Greasers, on the other hand, are poor and powerless. They have no social standing. Their crimes are born out of their poverty and are punished. No breaks for them.

The Socs and the Greasers feel contempt for each other for these reasons. Each group feels superior to the other in one way or another. Greasers and Socs live in different worlds. There is no understanding between them. Generally speaking, they do not relate to each other as individuals, but only as members of an opposing, hated social class.

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