GANG GANG: WHY WE LOVE THE STREET LIFE

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“It’s raw and we love it.”


why we love it

It’s in the music and our communities. We love for some reason the gangs in America. I once spoke about the gangster mentality and the infatuation. This topic will be geared toward how it has become so popular in the dominant society. And a lot of the music has to do with why gangs are so popular. Only problem is that gangs are not a play thing. You have to realize that people die as well as go to prison. So you can have that life but these are the consequences to being in the street. We have been seeing this play itself out during the trial of rapper Tekashi 69. Over the past few years he has stated how gangsta he is, but now it’s put to the test.

dollar dollar bills ya’ll

I remember growing up listening to hip hop music where gang culture is big in the music. But then, you start to see companies cash in on the market for this love of the streets. Meaning, you would never see a McDonalds commercial with gang signs. But you would see someone performing the Crip walk. A dance that was created and popularized by the Crips gang in the state of California. So when you have a dance created by a street gang, you have to assume there is something else attached to these moves. And the moves are almost like a tribal dance that shouldn’t be popularized by teens who don’t know what they are doing. But companies don’t care, they see hip hop artist Snoop Dogg doing it, now it’s the Snoop dance. Now Snoop would never tell you it’s his, but it becomes that because he is so famous.

rebellion is attractive

Then gang outlaws represent an aspect of daily American rebellious actions toward the status quo. There is nothing more attractive at times than the bad goys who elude the authorities in their attempts to maximize monetarily for their own personal gain. well, why is that good? Because we all have the idea that the government really isn’t out for the good of the people. So when these outlaws create a work around to making money outside the watchful eye of Uncle Sam, it’s enticing. But, all that enticing behavior comes at a cost to the person and society. So inevitably, the marketing and advertising of gang culture becomes a negative externality. As well as also becoming a stain on the communities from which they were created.


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STREET LIFE: WHY GANGS ARE SO APPEALING TO YOUNG PEOPLE

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“The need to belong.”


ganglands

Gangs have been a problem in society for hundreds of years. And questions have always arisen as to why so many young males and females join gangs. Of course we point to the need to belong, but is it deeper than that alone? Is there more to joining a gang? But let’s first start out by defining what I mean by a gang.

Because any group of young people hanging out with each other is a gang. But we define a gang in society in correlation with criminal behavior. And that is what separates the gang of friends who innocently hang out together from those who break the law. It’s the conduct within the group that ultimately determines the character of the group.

american lifestyle

In America, we have street gangs that involve themselves in criminal activity on a daily. Because being in a gang alone is not deemed a crime. So why are so many young men and women joining in alliance with gangs in America? One of the obvious reasons like I said before, a reason to belong to something, anything.

But you also have so many that need some form of guidance in their lives. The gang leaders are generally older and provide them the tools of survival they don’t get at home. But it’s not constructive guidance, but the destruction that ultimately leads to their demise. Sometimes the kid has a stable family life, but an unstable community.

And when you live in an unstable community, you seek to be the guys living around you. Their lives tend to look alluring and much more interesting than your own. But the danger that comes with it is not realized until it’s far too late.

distractions necessary

So, in order to keep your kid from falling into this lifestyle, a major way is distractions. You keep them as busy and involved in activities as possible. It’s close to impossible if your kid is constantly in a sport or some out of school activity. And when they become of age to leave your house then you send them into the world.

The distractions are not really to make sure they stay out of trouble. But the distractions are to give them enough time to fully understand the ramifications of getting into trouble. When they are 12, 13, or 14 years old, they think you’re being hard on them. But when they are 20, 21, 22, they can see the downfall so they’re less likely to get into trouble at this point in life.


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STREET CULTURE: WHY ARE WE IN LOVE WITH GANGSTA CULTURE

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“Street Kings.”


streetz is out

I have been on a loop, listening to all the stories of the guys who used to be into the streets heavy. I am talking about the men you hear about in well-known rap lyrics. But what is it, what is it about the gangsters in the street that make them so appealing. Why are they so attractive and the everyday hard working man is not so appealing? Could it be that if they want something, they go and get and the everyday man is afraid to get what is coming to him? Or is it the outlaw mentality that people love so much?

outside the law

The appeal of the man in the street initially is the go for it mentality. They say I want this or that, they go get it. And if they can’t get it handed to them, they’ll take what is felt is theirs. But what we really get attracted to when looking at the outlaw is the way they elude the system. There is something for some reason that is so ingratiating about these men eluding the government; a government that makes promises on  daily yet never deliver. So when you have men in the street who can work around the system, you silently cheer, but you also have this fear because you know who they are and their capabilities.

levels in the game

MAFIA
  • The photo below is of the movie The Godfather. It depicts the Italian Mafia which is the highest level of gangsters in American history. They have not only been the topic of films and songs, but have influenced the way men and women dress and talk. Almost every facet of pop culture has a bit of the mafia in its existence.

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STREET GANGS
  • The picture below is from the movie Colors which depicts street gang violence in Los Angeles. The movie takes us into the lives of two police officers as they patrol gang riddled neighborhoods in the inner city. These group of men (gangs) are attractive to young males and females growing up in inner cities because of that need to belong to something.

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PIMPS
  • The movie below is of the 1970’s film The Mack with head actor Max Julien. The movie explores the life of pimping, profession so many young men glorify. The guy in the movie who is able to have all the women, nice cars, clothes, and the gift of the gab. These types of movies took over in the 1970’s spurring out a generation of young men chasing the pimp dream.

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DRUG DEALERS
  • The last movie is of the fictional character Scarface. A megalomaniac drug dealer who sold cocaine; a key figure in so many young men selling drugs in the 1980’s and songs being made in hip hop. The drug dealer has always been glorified, so much so that famous musicians bare the names of some of these men.

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downfalls

The problem with all the movies that I just named are the downfalls in each film. There is no riding into the sunset at the end, only heartache. You have never heard of a retired drug dealer, gang member, pimp, or mobster. They meet their demise, yet for some reason it never stops people from following in the footsteps. Because we have such deep connection to these lawless men.


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GANGS CULTURE: WHY WE JOIN


“Have you ever sought to belong to something?”


Growing up in an urban community, gangs are all around you. But most importantly, the psychology behind gangs are just dangerous as the criminal activity associated with the gang. And when I say psychological, I mean why young people join gangs to the construct of the gang itself. The control factors of the gang is more stringent than a day to day job. And the danger is a lot higher. So why are so many young people willing to join. Well, let’s look more at the psychological ramifications of joining a gang. And one of things is observing the need to belong.

There are so many young people in our society with a need to belong to something. It’s also the reason we see a rise in the youth fighting online. Everyday you see a video posted on social media of some fist fight. The need for attention and the need to belong no matter how gruesome the actions. This why gangs don’t even have to recruit anymore. There is a multitude of young people running to the gangs. So how do you fix this problem? Because even though young people want to belong, there are other reasons for joining as well. Another issue that leads to gang initiation is lack of structure.

Too often, young people don’t have structure at home. Youth who have home structure are far less likely to join a gang. As a matter of fact, gangs are more strict than home life. So if you have the ability to follow the rules of a gang, you can follow rules of society.

But why, why is it so hard for these individuals to follow what is actually more strict? Abiding by the law requires you to think a certain way. You have to look inside and go I am the problem. Gangs allow you to transfer responsibility to someone else. My enemy is in my way. They are the ones keeping me from attaining what I want in life. So you commit an act of violence because you think it makes you admirable, but it shows a complete lack of accountability. But when the people around you cosign your actions, then you will never learn. Not until it is too late.

In the end, what do we do? How do we make young people see that defining your entire existence in this one moment is not worth it. What if the Bloods, Crips, Vice Lords, Gangsta Disciples, and Latin Kings were community based organizations? Organizations that recruited young boys who don’t have a family and turn them into productive members of society. Our communities would be far less dangerous, and it would create a generation of great young minds. But as long as young people see gangs as the only way out, we will always see a sharp rise in crime and prison populations increasing as well.


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LOST GENERATION (QUOTE)

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“Where would we be if red and blue flags represented community organizations.” “The Bloods and Crips would probably be on par with the our top Black national action organizations.” “You’re talking one of the youngest and one of the most powerful organizations globally.” “An organization that could spur out doctors, lawyers, engineers, educators, politicians, that would lead our people in a positive direction.” “But when a generation feel they have nothing to lose and nothing to gain, what are you left with, mayhem.” “And how do you stop individuals who think they are at war when there is really no war to be fought, I wish I knew.”

-Faheem Jackson

GANGLAND: WHY WE CHOOSE

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“What is about them that make us join?”

No father, single mother, and the city is riddled with crime. With so few opportunities felt, young males and females look to each other as some means of guidance. This quickly turns into violence once the males start to clique up and form bigger groups known as gangs. Then as narcotics is introduced the situation gets worse. As a young male myself, it would have been easy to join a gang, yet I didn’t. Well, how come, it’s not like I didn’t grow up in the neighborhood. What were the reasons I decided not to join?

For starters, the city I grew up in did not force you into a position to join. For instance, in a city like Chicago or Los Angeles, you can be affiliated just by being from the neighborhood. Some boys figure I should just join because I’m getting shot at anyways living here. Others just take the risk and not join. But if you do choose to join a gang to keep from getting shot, it will only increase your chances. Because now you are on the radar of other gangs.

Another reason why I decided not to join is because I understood the psychology behind the gang life. And that is kill whoever disrespect our turf; but only if they look like you. I understood at a young age the gangs operate on this basis of disdain for each other. Why, well it comes from the mentality that I can’t touch this guy, but this guy is fair game. You say you don’t know better, but make a real conscious decision not to touch certain people. Someone who don’t know any better shoots anybody. But the dynamics around the gang is this self hatred. Hatred which stems from the idea that I hate myself, so killing someone that looks like me is fitting because it’s like removing me, without taking me out of the equation.

So you’re probably thinking to yourself, why do so many young people join? It seems to be counterproductive, and if you do gang up, why not care for each other. Why be apart of something built around so much violence? The main reason is the need to belong in a society you feel you don’t belong to anything. Another reasons why young people join a gang is to have family in their lives. You so many young people with no family, so dying for the group is better than being alone. And the other reason people join is to escape. They have nothing else going on in life, or going anywhere else, why not join.

In the end, there will always be gangs. Truth is, they have been around for a very long and will continue to be around. As long as you have a demographic of men and women who feel they don’t belong you’ll have gangs. As long as people feel they need protection they’ll join. And as long as their isn’t a stable family structure, then you’ll have gangs. But most of all, poverty is a main source. When you only think of life in the now and not tomorrow, you can’t see the future. So as usual, more and more join, even with the high numbers of deaths linked to gangs.

LOCKED and LOADED

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“Where did they come from?”

The above photo which shows guns lying out on a table are not in preparation for a gun show. This is not a manufacturing plant either. The guns above are of many firearms seized from drug/gang raids by the police. The topic of illegal firearms have been on a lot of people’s minds lately. Well, actually, guns in general have been a long debate in this country for some time. But when we discuss the illegal guns nowhere is it more prevalent than in inner cities across the country. Why do inner cities get so much attention. Well, that’s where the disproportionate amount of violent crime where guns are used occur.

Then a way to combat might be the suggestion from various political figures, such as the use of “Stop and Frisk.” This was a policy implemented in the city of New York to combat crime. Now during this time people said crime declined. Now did it, yes, but there was blow-back. Why, if it worked? This is why because the criminals were not being stopped. It was everyday citizens who have done nothing wrong. So my best guess as to why the crime decreased is because criminals saw the tactics and slowed their firearm carrying.

Now, a politician might say, hey, they are thinking twice. So what the people were innocent, at least criminals thought before carrying. Well no. Well why no if the crime went down. This is why; yes the criminals think twice, but what happens is people who are innocent get disgruntled. And when that happens even when the crime decrease, you lose respect from the community. Once this happens, anytime the police need assistance on bigger cases, they are unable to come to this same community because the relationship is ruined. So in other words, you decreased violent crime, but you inadvertently made criminals more powerful. So now, they don’t need to carry guns, they have more willing cooperation from the people.

In addition, the policy was deemed unconstitutional considering it only targeted certain minority groups. But guns are still an issue. Let’s say for instance Stop and Frisk worked how the city wanted it to work. Then guns would constantly be removed from the street. But you run into another problem. Eventually the citizens would want to know where these guns are coming from. And that’s when the plot thickens. Because how does a kid from the housing projects shy of his 18th birthday manage to get a hold of military style weapons?

Here is when the idea of corruption comes into play. There aren’t any gun manufacturing plants  in inner cities. So how does a teenager from an inner city get his hands on guns ranging from handguns to assault rifles? Well, the reply is that they are stolen. Well, let’s analyze that fore a moment. A handgun could be stolen or illegally purchased. But purchased from who? Who are guys in the street getting their guns from? But also, how are assault rifles being funneled into inner cities? You keep throwing out Stop and Frisk all you want, eventually you have to answer the question of where do these guns come from?

I had a guy in middle school brag to me once about how he owned a gun that belonged to a police officer. That’s odd, police firearms on the streets. Then I started thinking about why guns are in the inner cities. Drug dealers need guns to perform their jobs. How do they do so without guns for protection? Then with a mixture of guns and drugs, we now have to now create a budget for FBI and DEA, as well as the ATF. Men are placed in prisons all over the country and private cooperations capitalize off the inmates. And there you have it, an entire production line.

Yet all it will take is for one of those guns to be used in the death of an innocent White male or female, then you’ll see the FBI and ATF work to try to look like heroes. But once that happens it has to be for good. Meaning, bye bye narcotics, bye bye privatized prisons. And that’s when the illusion becomes real. To say we need to Stop and Frisk without working to keep guns from coming in, in the first place, is like saying three buildings constantly keep catching on fire just water them down. Eventually, people are going to want to know what is it about these three buildings that keep catching on fire.