Gangs

Psychology

Gangs are a violent reality that people have to deal with in today\'s cities.

What has made these groups come about? Why do kids feel that being in a gang is
both an acceptable and prestigious way to live? The psychological answer to
these questions can only be speculated upon, but in the immediate reasons and
benefits are much easier to find. On the surface, they are a direct result of
human beings\' personal wants and peer pressure. To determine how to effectively
end gang violence, we must find the way that these morals are given to the
individual. Individually, these can only be hypothesised. However, by looking at
the way humans are influenced by the cultural practices of society, I believe
there is good evidence to point the blame at several institutions. These include
the forces of the media, the government, theatre, illicit drugs and our economic
system. On the surface, gangs are caused by peer pressure and greed. Many teens
in gangs will pressure peers into becoming involved in a gang by making it all
sound glamorous. Money is also a crucial factor. A teen is shown that he could
make $200 to $400 for small part time gang jobs. Although money is a strong
motivator, it is usually not strong enough to make kids do things that are
strongly against their morals. One of the ways that children’s morals are bent
so that gang violence becomes more acceptable is through the influence of
television and movies. The average child spends more time in front of a
television than she or he spends actively participating in a classroom. Since
nobody can completely turn off their minds, kids must be learning something
while watching TV. Very few hours of programming are educational, and these are
not often watched by children, so other ideas are being absorbed during this
period of time. Many shows on television today are extremely violent and are
often show a gang\'s perspective. An adult can see that this is showing how
foully that gangs are living. However, to a child this portrays a violent gang
existence as acceptable. \'The Ends Justifies the Means\' mentality is also taught
through many shows where the "good guy" captures the "bad
guy" through violence and is then being commended. A young child sees this
a perfectly acceptable because he knows that the "bad guy" was wrong
but has no idea of what acceptable apprehension techniques are. Gore in
television also takes a big part in influencing young minds. Children see gory
scenes and are fascinated by these things that they have not seen before. Older
viewers see gore and are not concerned with the blood but rather with the pain
the victim must feel. A younger mind does not make this connection, thus a gore
fascination is formed, and has been seen in several of my peers. Unfortunately
kids raised with this sort of television end up growing up with a stronger
propensity to becoming a violent gang member or \'violence- acceptant\' person.
"Gangs bring the delinquent norms of society into intimate contact with the
individual."1, (Marshall B Clinard, 1963). So, if television leads a child
to believe that violence is the norm, this will manifest itself in the actions
of the child, quite often in a gang situation. This is especially the case when
parents do not spend a lot of time with their children explaining what is right
and what is wrong. Quite often newer books and some types of music will enforce
this type of thought and ideas. Rap music is the most recent genre’ to emerge
promoting the gang lifestyle. While this music at first only attracted black
youth, it has now infiltrated pop music culture. Groups such as the Gang Bangers
and 2Pac Shakur glorify gang life and the privileges obtained through such
associations. We all know that music is the most power influence in our society,
whether blatant or subliminal, so the gang message is spread. Once this
mentality is instilled in youngsters, they become increasingly aware of the
advantage of using gang power in any situation, whether at home or elsewhere.

For instance, in poor families with many children or upper-middle class families
where parents are always working, the children will often feel deprived of love.

Parents can often feel that putting food on the table is enough love. Children
of these families may often go to the gang possibly out of boredom and to belong
somewhere. As time goes on, a form of love or kinship develops between the gang
members and the individual. It is