Gangs are a very complicated issue that deal with many views, ideas, beliefs and opinions. For one to actually go into depth about gangs one must first understand what a gang is. By definition a gang is, a group of people associated together in some way shape or form. It may sound simple but believe me there are a lot more to gangs. There is a whole lifestyle that appeals to the youth in America and in this essay I will discuss this and the effect gangs have on our society.
As you may know gangs present a lifestyle to the American youth as an escaping, rebellious image. Young teenagers as myself look up to such gang members with a sense of pride that it is cool to be so called down with a street gang. Through the media it is presented that gangs are cool and the thing to do. We constantly see in music videos, artists with bandannas representing various gangs such as the bloods and crips, just to name a few. They show only the high life about it. The nice cars, the diamond rings, the women and the constant money. This is obviously appealing to the youth and the potential inductees to the gangs. However, with every good thing there also comes a bad side. The bad side is everything we dont see. The life of crime, violence, and prison. Nobody really can understand that until they live it, and once they had lived it, it can sometimes be to late.
Now of course there are situations where kids join gangs because there is no other way. Often it happens that a teenager is forced to join a gang because he/she has no family. The gangs show these kids a sense of loyalty and belonging. Sooner or later these gangs become their family and they no nothing or want anything else.
Another reason I feel kids join gangs is the whole respect/fear aspect. Often I find it that people equate fear and respect as the same thing. It definitely is appealing to people to be looked at in high regard. When kids join gangs they figure they will be feared, and therefore respected. For example If I saw a bunch of kids walking down the street with blue bandannas on their heads I would probably walk the other way. That is all because of the fear factor, not respect.
One thing that I feel a lot of people dont understand is what gangs stand for. I mean yes they do symbolize violence in a way, but they can also symbolize unity amongst a community. It is not the faults of the kids that they are brought up in broken homes and in violent neighborhoods. As I said before there is often no other way for a lot of them and they are just looking for a better way out. It is not until they are in for life that they find out about the lifestyle filled with violence and crime.
As you may know a gang is a group of people who are some how associated with each other. These things are often the colors that they wear, the language that they speak, and the neighborhood they are from. When inducted to a gang, each gang member will usually receive a colored bandanna, and a book of codes one must know to be down with that gang. The colors of the bandannas or flags always represent something important to that gang. For example the yellow for the Latin Kings represents the sun, and the red for the Bloods represents blood. As for the codes, these are used to identify gang member from non-gang member. In order to wear the flag you must know the codes. If you have a flag on and someone approaches you and asks you a coded question and you dont know the answer you can be identified as false flagging False flagging simply means that you are not truly part of the gang. This can a lot of times be potentially dangerous, as a fight or argument may occur due to this.
Another aspect of gangs is the infamous initiation This is often a violent display. A lot of times you can be jumped in by other gang members from anywhere to thirty seconds to five minutes. However other gangs are not always as brutal. For example for the Latin Kings you must write an essay on why you want to be inducted into the gang.
Overall I think gangs are often at times very misunderstood. That is not to say that gangs are good and I support everything about them. But one must understand where these kids come from before one can scrutinize their behavior. In conclusion I feel something definitely should be done but what is still uncertain. It should definitely take a lot of hard work, thought and consideration before anything is taken any further.