GANG GANG: WHY WE LOVE THE STREET LIFE

Image result for gang culture

“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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OUTLAWZ: THE FASCINATION WITH THE CRIMINAL UNDERWORLD

Image result for criminal underworld

“They play hard, take what they want, and live it up.”


We watch movies about them, documentaries, and even read their life stories. They are the criminal underworld and for whatever reason we have this fascination with them. The most notable would have to be the Italian Mafia. They have been the interest and the inspiration for so many films in mainstream America. But what is it; what is it about these outlaws that intrigue society so much. The mafia is the biggest, there are also drug cartels and bank robbers as well. There is this mystique about them that attracts us to the life. None of us have the guts to live their lives, yet we are attracted to who they are and what they do.

Let’s look at the cast of people starting with the most popular; the American Mafia. No matter if it’s the Italians in New York and Chicago to the Irish in Boston, we are attracted like magnets to the mafia. From the way they dress to their cordial personalities. Even with the gentlemen like qualities, we still know what they are capable of doing under the right circumstance. But Image result for mafianonetheless we are allured by the racketeering, money laundering, loan sharking, gambling, and light weight drug trafficking. They take what they want and if the authorities put pressure on me, then hey, why not pay them off as well. Then once holidays come around, let’s hand out toys and turkeys to the community. It made them infamous with the law and revered with the public.

But what about the drug cartels? Guys like Frank Lucas to Pablo Escobar all the way to today with El Chapo. We hear about them running multi-billion dollar organizations and eluding authorities. Their lifestyles are so over the top with luxury vehicles, expensive jewelry, and palatial real estate. Their Related imagemuscle in how they deal with people leaves us terrified, yet they still have this aura about them that you stand on the sidelines and gawk. They have been immortalized in our pop culture, mainly through hip hop/rap lyrics. But why, what is the real reason we are so attracted to the criminal underworld?

In my opinion, they represent everything that we hate about our government, that the government makes us do. The don’t pay taxes, buy and sell whatever they want, and live over the top lifestyle most of us can only dream about. And when they die, we have these photos that almost serve as shrines making them martyrs. The communities they live in are more protected by them than our law enforcement. Everyone knows who runs the neighborhood and respects who runs the neighborhood. Unlike the judicial system which could allow people to walk free, you don’t break the laws and codes of their world. And that code is the biggest thing we respect. On paper, systematically, there is code in our society, but our politicians break that code and promise at every turn.

In the end, we will always be fascinated with the criminal underworld. Their lives seem to be so much more fascinating than our own lives. Plus, the very representatives that are hired to represent the people, these criminals flip them the finger to. We’re able to look on at how for once politicians are forced to do their jobs to catch these outlaws. The allure to the gangster lifestyle is eternal and will never end. Because as long as there is a law that could potentially be broken, someone will always try to find ways around it.


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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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ABOVE IT ALL (SHORT STORY)

I answer to no one is the motto that I live by. You either work for yourself or you work for someone else. You either building yourself into somebody, or building up someone else’s foundation at your own expense. Well, I bet you’re wondering which category I fall under. I fall into building me, doing what I want to do, and not adhering to nobody. Who cut my checks, I do, that’s who. Who tell me when to wake up, I do. Nobody dictates to me unless I say they can. I bet you’re wondering how I came to have such a radical mind frame. It goes all the way back to when I was a small child growing up in a poor community.

At the age of eight years old, my mother and I were at a shoe store. She had just gotten paid and wanted to buy me new gym shoes. Only one problem, the ones I wanted she couldn’t afford, so I had to get the cheap pair. I couldn’t understand at such a young age why she wasn’t able to afford the shoes that I wanted. She told me her job only paid her so much money, so she had to make do with what she had. This was the defining moment for me, as I watched another kid walk in the store with their mother and buy the shoes that I wanted. Watching that young child have something I couldn’t have made me infuriated. So infuriated I made my mind up that I wouldn’t be my mother. The hell with a job, I wanted to be self-made.

In an attempt to be more self-sufficient, I decided to take a sheet of paper and crayons from my backpack. I proceeded to draw out a plan for what I wanted to do with my life in the future. This would consist of a list of things I promised to myself I would accomplish by the time I was my mother’s age. The only problem for me is that I didn’t know where to start. I never knew anything about being self-sufficient, so how was I going to go out on my own. I mean come on, I was only eight years old, what did I know about making money. So I did what I thought would be the appropriate steps to becoming successful.

My next door neighbors owned a rake and the fall season was rapidly approaching. From watching how irritated people were about raking leaves, I decided to make money this way. That’s when I went next door and asked the neighbors could I use their rake to make a little extra money in the neighborhood. They were more than happy to help me because no other kid my age was thinking about earning an income. All the other kids in my neighborhood accepted their economic position. Not me, I wanted more; working for someone else or asking someone else for money was not for me.

Once I had my rake, I went back into my house and took out a new sheet of paper and crayons. Only this time, I would create some method of getting my name out there. If people didn’t know there was a yard cleaner in their neighborhood, then how could I make money? With my crayons, I designed an advertisement so potential customers could be brought to me instead of me going door to door. The first problem with this type of advertising is that I only had a few sheets of paper. The other issue is that my community was poor. Who, in a poor community, would pay for something they could do for free. Then I realized something, the neighboring community was a middle class neighborhood.

People in the middle class community did a lot of their own yard work, but often couldn’t find the time to clean it themselves. This is where I come into the picture. With this rake in my hand, I left my mother’s house and walked about half an hour away to the other community. As I entered this community, I thought these people were rich. They had homes by the likes of which I never seen before. Two car garages, bicycles parked on the front lawn, and house doors were even partially open. So what did I do, I took it upon myself to approach one of these houses. I almost didn’t see the police squad car behind me, as I slipped one of my advertisements into the open house door.

As I turned around, the police officer asked me what I was doing. “Oh, I’m trying to make a little extra money, so I gave the people of this house one of my flyers.” Thinking the police would understand my hustle mentality, he grab me aggressively by the wrist, and walked me to his squad car. Next thing I knew the police had placed me in the back seat of the squad car. The neighbors of the house had exited the premises. They must have saw the squad car because the husband, wife, and children were all out in the front. I saw the police conversing with them, as the husband shook the officer’s hand. The officer walked away, holding my flyer and proceeding toward the car. For a moment, I thought the man had told the police officer he was impressed by my flyer. I thought my take charge, straight forward aggressive attempt to pitch myself had worked.

Well, it didn’t work, as a matter of fact the police officer entered on the drivers’ side of the car. He started the engine and drove away, as the family standing out front stared into the back seat. They looked at me with different emotions in their eyes: the husband and wife looked disappointed, but the kids looked confused. I don’t see why the family was so irritated, I was merely trying to make a living for myself. As the police officer drove the squad car, he asked me where I lived. I told him my address, as he drove in the direction which I came to the middle class neighborhood. At first, the feeling of riding in the car with the police made me feel like a tough guy. Really, it did, I felt like a real badass.

As the police squad car pulled in front of my house, my mother was sitting on the porch. When the police officer exited the car with me in the back seat, my mother quickly left the porch. She made her way to me asking the officer what happened. Once she found out what I was doing, I thought she would be happy; but I was wrong, yet again. She was beyond infuriated, while informing the officer it would never happen again. As the officer drove away, she grabbed me by the ear, pulling me toward the house. Once on the inside, she grabbed her belt, giving me a really good butt whooping. But it didn’t matter because I was more determined than ever to be my own boss.

This setback didn’t deter me from trying because I was on to my next business venture. This job would be more permanent, but a path I regret until this day. There were some hustlers in the neighborhood who needed some help. Once I found out what they needed help doing, it terrified me. I remember my mother telling me to stay away from these guys. She said that hanging around these guys led to death or prison. But from what I knew about life, we all die at some point in time, so I did it. I decided that getting paid by the neighborhood hustlers was way better than asking for money; and a lot better than being broke.

So, here I was, my first day as a hustler like the big boys. I wasn’t able to sell like the men were able to, so they allowed me to hold their product. At the end of the day, they would slip me a few bills in my hand. This was the fastest money I’ve ever made up until this point. I wasn’t asking my mother for anything, and business was doing well for the hustlers. As time progressed, I took on more responsibilities in the streets. The hustlers trusted me enough to allow me to go out on my own. This is what I had been waiting for; real money.

But one day while sitting in my car, there were bright lights of a police squad car that parked not far from me. For a second I thought it must be for the house across the street. That’s until I heard don’t move you’re under arrest. The car door opened and I was being pulled to the ground. As the officer stood me on my feet, these weren’t ordinary officers. They wore blue windbreaker jackets. Turning around I saw the back of the jacket in bold letters, “DEA.”

I thought to myself damn, but still I felt confident because I didn’t have drugs in the car. But when I got to the police station, I knew something was wrong because I was not allowed to post bond. I thought, “Damn, how the hell they gone deny me bond.” But I remembered a friend of mine that had gotten jammed up about a year prior. He couldn’t post bond either because his co-conspirator had some real evidence on him.

Funny I say co-conspirator, because that’s who flipped. Aint that a bitch, one of my own homies. Standing in that court room I still remember hearing “guilty.” Then came the time, “You are to to be turned over to federal custody to serve out your 25 year sentence.” Damn, 25 years in prison! So here I am in FED, serving out my time. I’m 30 years old, looking to be paroled by the age of 55. Why because I thought I was above it all.