You think of a group of hoodlums who tote guns, sell drugs, and ruin neighborhoods as thugs, and gang members. These are things not tolerated or seen as good in society so it’s considered a violation of social norms. A street gang is group of people that form an allegiance based on various social needs and engage in acts that can cause harm to public health and safety. Members of street gangs engage in, or have engaged in gang-focused criminal activity either individually or as a group, they create and fear and intimidation in the community.
They are punished by society and the consequences are different depending on the types of crimes committed. Societies “punishments” on the crime committed is what sociologist consider deviance; and when people label someone or a certain group such as gangs they then become deviant. I’m examining the deviance of gangs. America has gotten special forces such as the f. b. i and others to track down gang members, track gang activities, and cracked down on the drug game which was mostly ran by gangs in some areas so there should be no controversy over a gangs activity being deviant.
There are foreign countries such as some arab or muslim races who have gangs, like the al-qaeda who terrorize places and nothing is done by the country that they’re in. People say that gangs are becoming more and more deviant as the generations continue go on. Gangs that violate social norms will always be considered deviant in any society be cause everyone feel terrorized and want them out for their own safety. The gang activity seen today has grew gradually from the gangs that started in the 1920’s. Street gangs in the U. S. rose with Italian immigrants related to the Sicilian Mafia and others. These street gangs in New York City stole and killed to get what they wanted. One of the most famous street gang members was Al Capone, who later moved to Chicago in 1919 to help keep the other gangsters in order. Street gangs of this type were quite popular in the 1920s and 1930s (internet 1). Later, other immigrants and poor youth followed the trend set by this earlier generation. Hispanics, Asians and African Americans began banding together to form gangs in the 1950s and 1960s.
By the 1970s and 1980s, there were national gang alliances, with gangs moving out of Los Angeles and New York City, and spreading across the country, with affiliates in many towns, as well as drug routes to finance gang activities. Gang violence between opposing bands, as well as senseless violence, flourished. Lets not forget about the infamous Ku Klux Klan gang that committed over hundreds of hate crimes against African Americans because they believed they were more superior and just better human beings than them. Gangs have been in existence every since the rise of humanity in all actuality.
Humans have always banded together for mutual protection and support and to better dominate others. Gangs have always provided a way for people to more effectively get what they want, especially if it comes to force. And weaker members of society gravitate toward gangs that they feel can offer a sense of community and protection from others. The word “thug”, though, comes from India. In about 1200 CE, the word was used to describe a group of criminals that pillaged country towns. The thugs had their own slang, rituals and signs to help identify other members and create their own tight-knit society.
Gangs today have similar practices of creating their own sub-language, symbols, handshakes and other identifiers (internet 1). Gangs were even around in the 18th century: “During the eighteenth century, on November Fifth of each year, thousands of racially-diverse ruffians from Boston’s two most notorious gangs would fill the streets in celebration of Guy Fawkes’s foiled attempt to blow up Parliament in 1605 (popularly known as the Gunpowder Plot)”; “These were the North End and South End gangs, and their elaborate pageantry and ceremony must have been quite a spectacle to behold.
Each had its own wagon and effigies, its own “officers,” “captains,” and “lieutenants. ” Each had its own huge vehicle, varying from 20 to 40 feet long, 8 or 10 feet wide, and 5 or 6 feet high, from the lower to the upper platform. Their festivities exhibited a blatant, vitriolic anti-Catholic bias (Fawkes and his group had been Catholics trying to topple a Protestant government).
Each year the respective gangs, dressed in masks, costumes, tricorns and pointed grenadier hats, would parade an effigy of the pope and one of the Devil, “clad in tar and feathers” on a large platform, which was carried by a crowd on a large platform surrounded by burning firecrackers. Small boys concealed below the platforms worked strings attached to the figures, which would “elevate and move around at proper intervals the movable head” as they were carried toward Boston Common.
Some gang-members would blow horns and conch-shells known as “Pope-horns. ” Every house along the route was required to contribute money “to the expense of the show”. If they did not, windows would be broken, or the house otherwise damaged. The procession would continue through the Common, past the state house, and would typically end on Cornhill or Copp’s Hill, where the effigies were consumed in giant bonfires—and the two mighty clans would engage in a violent contest of strength and arms” (Ben Miller, 1). In 1745, a newspaper described one of these events: “Tuesday last being the Anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, two Popes were made and carried tho’ the Streets in the evening , one from the North, the other from the South End of the Town, attended by a vast number of negroes and white servants, armed with clubs, staves and cutlashes, who were very abusive to the people of the town, insulting people and breaking the windows, if they didn’t give them money to their satisfaction, and even those who had given to them before, liberally; and the two Popes meeting in Cornhill, their followers were so infatuated as to fall upon each other with the utmost Rage and Fury.
Several were sorely wounded and bruised, some left for dead, and rendered incapable of any business for a long time to the great Loss and Damage of their respective Masters”(miller,1). Gangs are a big part of the reason that crime rate in the U. S is very high. Gangs have been responsible for numerous amounts of crimes throughout the history of the United States. The United States has over 1300 gangs and over 100,000 members. Street task force have reported a lot of the gangs statistics from complaints to homicides. There was a time in the U. S where gang statistics were 100% of cities with a population of more than 250,000 report gang activity, 11% of rural counties report gang activity. 5% of suburban counties report gang activity. More than half of the homicides reported in Los Angeles, and more than half of the homicides reported in Chicago, are elated to gang violence. More than 24,500 gangs are active in the U. S. 772,500 people are members of gangs in the U. S. 94% of gang members are male. Only 2% of gangs are predominantly female. Only 37% of gang members are under the age of 18 right now. Gang member ethnicity breaks down this way: 47% Hispanic, 31% African American, 13% white, 7% Asian. Gun violence costs more than $100 billion a year (i. a 1). The years or year these statistics was recorded are not shown in article.
But the ones recorded in L. A during the 1990’s that the city had over 9000 gangs alone, and over 120,000 members of the gangs. Most of these members were minorities. Minorities and the youth were always targeted as recruits. Gang members who were under the age of 14 were recorded in an interview talking about how they shot at, robbed, and just beat people for no reason. The number of gang members in the Washington area suburbs is uncertain, but officials are positive it is growing – with recruitment beginning as early as elementary school (Internet Article 2). Most people turn to the gang to have a support system, but that isn’t the only thing.
They also turn to the gang for brother hood, they feel neglected from their family so when their in a gang they become closer and eventually feel like their blood related. Members are known to join gangs for financial purposes also. Majority of the gang members are economically disadvantaged. They come from neighborhoods with high crime rates, bad schools; basically the inner city. They grow up around violence, wether it’s in their homes between their parents, in school with other classmates, or even when they’re outside just playing around a shoot out could happen. For instance, in 2006 Rilya Wilson a 6 year old girl in liberty city(inner city) a town in miami was out side on her to tricycle and was shoot in the head by a stray bullet from an a. k 47.
In 2009 someone who lived across the hall from me and the person who tried to rob him was shot and killed in our apartment complex by someone who followed him home for a $5000 chain. Kids were still outside running around and playing. Police officials came two hours later, the kids and everyone else around were exposed to the body for this exact amount of time also. These kids grow up around violence and become violent themselves because they are so used to that type of behavior. Middle and upper class kids and teens are now joining gangs because they think it’s cool. Studies show that some gang members educational levels are above average, and they don’t live in the inner city like other poor members do.
The media doesn’t get involved like they should when it comes to gangs, many forms of hate face American citizens in this day and age. Sexual preference, Race and religion seem to be on everyones minds. Every time you turn on the news you read about somebody that was hurt or even worse killed because they had a different view of a subject. However one problem you don’t hear too much about any more is gang violence. Gangs have become a harsh reality in today’s society. But despite what one might think, gangs illustrate many communication theories. This is done through the power gangs possesses, “gang warfare”, and the trust between gang members.
Gang power can be seen in many communication theories. There are several types of power that gangs and gang leaders fall under. An example of this would be referent and legitimate power. Referent power can be described as the role model power. We identify with this person and therefore try to be like them. Legitimate power comes from people who we believe should be in power, like children to teacher, law-abiding citizen to the police. Therefore referent and legitimate power go hand in hand, because of the organizational structure within the gang, a gang may “have officers much like that of a cooperation. ” (Internet Source 3) Generally “adults play leadership roles. (Internet Source 3) Gangs are driven by hostility and power, the gang leaders are psychologically disturbed more than the normal gang members are. The younger people who serve time in prison come back out to be smarter on the streets because they were before, because they are learning from their older gang members who are in the penitentiaries Also youngsters who have had severe prison terms are usually found to be the leaders of the gangs, thus being an example of expert power. This is nothing new to society at all; Although some may argue that gang activity and youth involvement has grown exponentially through the years, it has been an ongoing epidemic for decades.
Methods, levels of violence, rules, and motivations may have changed over the years, but the basic infrastructure has remained the same. The earliest accounts of youth involvement in gangs first appeared in Europe or Mexico, while the earliest record of youth gangs appearing in the United States are recorded as early as 1783. In the early 1800’s youth gangs appeared to spread in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, in the form of poverty stricken Irish immigrants. Kids banded together and ran the streets stealing food and goods to help feed their families. These crews were more a nuisance than anything else (Howell, 1998). Who does society blame for the gangs and all the problems?
Should the society be blamed instead of the gang members? Society has the power and should change the cause of social gang development. In the schools kids should not be able to walk around with flags, where gang colors, or throw up gang signs in school. The community where all this turmoil is taking place should be patrolled at first slowly or rapidly moving or stopping the gangs progress. Community Centers should be built right in the middle of the communities, and the streets need to be cleaned. Parents also play a role in this to. If parenting weren’t so bad in these areas there wouldn’t be any gang members to create the gangs. Parents don’t know what’s going on in their kids life ecause they don’t take the time out of their day to check on them and see how they’re doing. The present and future generation of kids are predicted to be much worse than it is now. Doing theses things can limit the recruitment of the gangs that are around and it would make them easier to control or get rid of. Although these ideas may be a bit much in todays society in order to get gangs out and away forever if thats even possible is instill these rules. The governments seems to have the power to do what it wants anyway so I don’t see why America isn’t forcing it’s children or young teens into school and make them get and education instead of being in the streets.