Norteño emblems and clothing are based on the color red. A typical Norteño outfit might include a red belt, red shoes, and
red shoelaces. They may favor long hair "Indian" style, or sometimes shaved on the side with a Mongol top-knot in
back. They will also favor sports team apparel that shows their affiliation through symbolism such as; the University of Nebraska
(red with a capital "N"), UNLV (Us Nortenos Love Violence), and San Francisco 49ers (Red and Gold with a number
4). In areas where Norteños are allied with the Crips (C-14), the use of colors is less straightforward since a Crip use's
the color blue.
The word "Ene", Spanish for the letter "N", is often used as a term of endearment between Norteños.
This is seen as a backlash to the term "Ese", which is now strictly affiliated with Sureños. Norteños use the number
14 in tattoos and graffiti because "N" is the fourteenth letter of the alphabet. It is sometimes written as "X4",
or in Roman numerals as "XIV". A Norteño may sometimes tattoo four dots on themselves to represent "4";
this is a response to a Sureño tradition of tattooing three dots. A Norteño derogatorily refers to a Sureño as a "Scrap",
while a Sureño will likewise refer to a Norteño as a "Buster".
Norteños also lay claim to images of the Mexican-American labor movement, such as the sombrero, machete, and "Huelga
bird", symbols of the United Farm Workers. At the same time that Norteños were first organizing in prisons and calling
for liberation from the Mexican Mafia, the UFW and its leader César Chávez were folk heroes and symbols of liberation to many
Chicano youths, including several Northern California gang members who had met Chávez when he was imprisoned for his union
work. Chavez never actually endorsed the group, as he was a peaceful individual, but he did bring attention to the Northern
Chicano presence by attracting the media to some of the most important farmland in the nation; California's Central Valley.
Originally, Norteños claimed images of Chicano youth culture, such as lowrider cars and cholo imagery. A Northern California
based Latino rap group called Darkroom Familia, who have openly admitted their Norteño gang membership, have long been established
and continue to be role models for Norteños. But recently Norteños have begun to adopt street slang that lies somewhere between
African-American Hip-Hop and Chicano Caló terminology. Caucasian and African-American Bay Area rap acts such as the late "Woodie"
(who was a Norteño himself) and the late Mac Dre are also becoming modern role-models for young Bay Area Norteños.