Gangs aren’t limited to one certain group. A gang can be made of any race group, some of mixed races as well. People who hear about gangs immediately think of the negative ways gangs can mess up societies’ image. People rarely see what positives a gang can do for society if given the opportunity. Most gangs do not accept the opportunity they are given because they are stereotyped.
“Gangs can be said to be a group of three or more individuals bonded together by race, national origin, culture, or territory, who associate on a continual basis for the purpose of committing criminal acts. In this definition, territory can refer either to geographic location or to the scope of a particular criminal enterprise”. (Brantley, Alan C.)( DiRosa, Andrew)
Before today’s time, gangs werwe doing more for society than just being violent and selling drugs, they were grouped together to fight for their rights as an American citizen. Back then you had gangs such as, blacks in the Civil Rights movement, the Black Panthers, aloong with different student union groups. Not saying every gang wasa fighting for their rights, because another group that could be classified as a gang known as the “KKK” was al about violence towards African Americans. Even before their time another group that focused their violence towards specific grou[ps were Germans who was led by Adolf Hitler. Not they were called gangs, but their actions in society could classify them as one. There are basically three different reasons that make gangs today and the “gangs” back then different from eachother.
The African American groups back in the day were actually fighting for their rights. They werwe being mistreated and considered unequal from the whites in that time. They had to fight to survive from “gangs such as the KKK and even from the white officers that were suppose to protect them. The KKK on the other hand felt as if the blacks were beneath them, so they used force and violence to try and get rid of them. Just as the Germans and some gangs today, they use violence because they think the power of violence is equvilant to “fighting for what they believe is right”. Some gangs today have no excuse of why they are violent towards people and other groups. Plenty of interviews can be given and if the question “why do you use violence towards others”, I’m sure you wont get the common answer of “we feel as though we’re fighting for whats right”.
To look at the rate of violence in the society we currently live in, the conclusion could be made that the world is starting to decrease the admiration of the life they’re living in. But, everyone has their reasons for doing things in life. I’m sure every gang member has his or her reason for joining that specific gang, and even if they have no reason for joining they can give you a reason of why they are staying in it or why they dropped out of it. Even if they give you a reason such as they did it just to experience how it would be, it’s probably more details to that story.
Recruitment for gangs seem to be getting younger and younger each time. This day generation happens to have a an average age between 9-17. Children not even in high school are joining gangs and committing violent acts before they even think about doing their homework. the younger a gang recruit, the younger a gang member with higher stain can sit back and let the others work. There are plenty of different ways gangs can recruit members, temptation is a very common one. The gang members often offer the younger kids or teens money, or some type of luxury object to get them started. They try to make the gang life a life of money and fame, but once they fully lure them into the gang a lot starts to change regarding the money and fame. Parties and drugs are a big part of the temptation part as well, they show them that part of life and basically explain that this is how life would be if they join. Another good way to recruit one or several people to a gang is by an obligation tactic. A gang member could do a favor for someone expecting nothing in return, but to have them later join that gang. The favor could include protecting the from a bully, or even helping them with money issues.
Race has been playing a big part in gangs since gangs have been started. You will rarely see a black or white gang member in a predominantly Latino gang, but you could see a Latino more often in a predominantly white or black gang. “The National Center for Juvenile Justice used a combination of police department reports and self-reporting to compile the Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report. They estimated that 49 percent of gang members were Hispanic, 37 percent were black, 8 percent white, 5 percent Asian and 1 percent had another ethnicity.” (Ed Grabianowski). One would think that blacks and whites would be higher in the percentage charts for gang members, but no one has the slightest idea of why the Hispanics gang membership is so high. I feel as though its because most of them are ran by family members so when a younger boy or even girl becomes of age, they simply join the gang that is ran by their family.
The teen rate for violence is increasing and most of the teens in gangs are being locked up due to gang violence. There are about 1 million gang members in the U.S today, and about 400,000 of them are juveniles under the age of 18, there is also about 25 million teens in the United States so that makes around 14 percent of the teens in the United States are gang members. After doing research on teenage boys in gangs, I found that 360,000 teenage boys are in gangs right now. The rate of teens in prison that are in gangs have increased since the year 2009 which was 7 out of 10 boys. Now the rate of teen boys in prison is 9 out of every 10 boy in prison have some gang affiliation. Another number to follow up on is that 89 percent of crimes committed by teens are committed by gang members. Also after researching, I have found that for young black males that live in a single parent home whether with just father or mother, the likely hood of them committing a crime is twice as much as a young black male that live with both parents.
There are many reasons why teens join gangs. Like stated in my other essays, teens who desire for all of the finer things, begin to adapt to the mindset of doing whatever it takes to get them. If growing in a neighborhod with drug dealers, and multiple murders happening teens might handle situations differently then others would that are not in that type of environment. There is a saying, “Money is the root of all evil” well that seems to be true when on the news everyday you hear about young people in gangs getting killed over money. Gangs are the image of young teens living the luxury life, which makes other teens join their gang or other gangs because they want more.
Self-protection is another reason that happens to be a must in the world we live in today. No one is one hundred percent safe today. With all of the random killings happening in the world, anything is possible at any moment. Gangs are committing most of all crimes that are happening today. Gangs are the image of protection. If one fight then they all fight. Teens look for this when living the life of a steet person. If they are doing crimes such as: murders, stealing, robbing people they want to know that they are going to be protected during this life of crime. Because a gang member is surrounded by loyalty, they consider themselves as a family, which gives them the sense that nothing will happen to them, but they are wrong. Just because your in a gang doesn’t mean your invincible.
Some teens that isn’t getting the full effect of unconditional love can be emotionally unstable and put their trusting into gangs to seek the extra love they desire for. Things that teens look for in gangs are the bond that they can receive form a brother or sister as well as the love of a guardian or parent type of comfort. The specific bond that a mother or father or both can give their child is special to them, and without that they can go astray which can lead them to the bad decision making of living a life of crime.
As said in my previous essay, a number of gang members grow up without a positive male role model in their life, which is possibly what leads them to the path of joining a gang. Teenagers today without that positive male guidance can be confused in life and do not know how to cope with that type of problem, so they look for gangs to fulfill their sense of belonging by a male bondage they are seeking.
Research shows that about 70% of all children that are incarcerated come from a home without a father. Greater numbers show that 40 percent of gang members live with their mother only, no father figure in their life. “The lack of positive role models, the absence of a father in the home combined with too much freedom were seen to result in groups of young people with no respect for their elders.” (Graeme Paton, Education Editor) This shows how bad society today is getting, where these kids, even at the age as young as nine, aren’t showing elders respect.
Boys who grow up in broken marriages are more than twice as likely as other young males to end up in jail and each year spent without a father in the home increases the likelihood of future incarceration by 5 percent (Father Absence and Youth Incarceration, 1999).
It found that young men with no male role model are 50 per cent more likely to abuse drugs and young females in the corresponding position are significantly more likely to drink to excess. Young people who have no positive figure of the same gender are also statistically much more likely to feel suicidal than those who do. In total, more than a third of youngsters – 34 per cent – admitted to having felt suicidal at some point, but this figure rose to 42 per cent for those without positive figures in their lives. Nearly one in five young men with no father figure or positive male influence said they used illegal drugs, compared to one in ten with a male role model. (Claire Ellicott)
The numbers above show that not only does the lack of a positive male role model affect kids by making them join gangs but also in the way they live their life. Yes, a fatherless household can affect one in a way by changing their life style, and by giving them the freedom to be able to join a gang, but for a fatherless household to make one want to take his or her own life is tragic.
Prevention of gang involement could be very effective if ex-gang members could actually get their message across to younger kids. My theory isn’t arguing that there aren’t teens in gangs that stilll have that fateher figure in their life because percentages show that there are, but i want to prove that without a positive male role model in a young persons life they are more likely to join a gang. A great way for a teen to know what not to do in life is if they have that positive male role model in their life, that also was in a gang ,but got out of it just to change his life around.
Its not easy for a child to tay away from gangs especially if they arent getting the type of love and attention they need, as well as the guidance they require, but there are ways around such things like this. For example encouraging your child to join more school programs or sports could be a great way to get them another type of bonding that a gang might have to offer. I recently asked a person that I knew who was involved with a gang who did not have that steady male role model in his life and his reason was much of the same as another person would say, but he added more. “My reason was anger, towards him and life itself and I did not know how to release it. I received guidance from my friends who were in a gang and they pulled me in. It felt as if my family was complete, but I realized I had a new family to look up to for guidance.” Even though he wasn’t completely fatherless, he still searched for help with accepting life as it was given to him.
More young people are growing up lacking that extra love, attention, and guidance which is causing them to make the wrong turn in life. A strong father figure can prevent that from happening if he fulfill that negative space that is spreading through the teens life.
There are benefits of not having a father around. The most popular one is that you have a chance to be better than your “father” was. Teens might say that their father did this and didn’t do that, but as stated in a recent article “you don’t need your father to be your father figure” meaning you can find that father in someone else that is successful at being a great father.
In conclusion, lacking that father figure or positive male role model can surely lead teens to joining gangs. More fathers should try and prevent this by being there for there child, and showing them the right way to live life.
Teens involved with gangs Academic Search Premier Nov/Dec2010, Vol. 36 Issue 6, p423-436, 14p, 5 Charts
Nothing New Academic Search Premier May94, Vol. 63 Issue 5, p1, 6p, 3 Black and White Photographs
Benefit of not having a father Brett & Kate McKay on June 17, 2009