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World of Gangs

Essay by   •  July 19, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,325 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,155 Views

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Question One

Signs of gang life have been around since the beginning of urbanization, the Hamburg's started their gang for a specific political cause. The Hamburg's were an early Irish and Yankee gangs that developed in New York City. They were considered voting gangs, because their motive was to use their physical skills to aid politicians of their ethic group. "The Irish in Chicago learned from their New York cousins and called their voting gangs "Social Athletic Clubs" (SACs)." (Hagedorn p. 66) One of the most popular SACs was from Bridgeport, (an area of Chicago) in 1904, and was called the Hamburg Athletic Association or HAA. The Hamburg Athletic Association was open to white men, who joined in hopes for political support in the future. "The HAA fulfilled its purpose and provided economic and political opportunities for Bridgeport's neighborhood kids and a way to make their lives meaningful." (Hagedorn p. 74)

The Conservative Vice Lords (CVL) was a African American gang located at Lawndale, The West side of Chicago. Lawndale was predominantly a Jewish neighborhood and the blacks migrated from the south after World War II to settle in Lawndale. "During the 1950's Lawndales white population dropped from 87,000 to less than 11,000, while that of African Americans grew from 380 in 1940 to more than 113,000 in 1960. (Hagedorn p. 75) One of the top leaders of the CVL's at the time was Bobby Gore, and he stated that the Vice Lords began as a social athletic club. This social athletic club continued to grow by assimilating a variety of neighboring gangs. While the CVL started as a club, similar to the Hamburgs they ended up heading in a much different direction. They began gaining funds from political powers such as Rockefeller Foundation and were working to stop gang violence in the city. This all changed when in 1969 Mayor Daley declared a war on gangs. Daley was determined to make sure the African American gang would not have near the success that his own gang the HAA had in the political world. This had a significant effect on the demoralization the CVL's experienced. As Lord Slim stated, " They started lockin' up lords. They got them on drug charges, anything they could. No one was left." They also locked up CVL leader, Gore on a phony murder charge. After the controversy, all of the funding was cut to CVL programs leaving a group with nothing to stand for. The CVL however did not die, but simply changed forms and were forced to traffic drugs in order to support themselves. It is easy for one to see how a group which once had legitimate means and ways of making these possible, such as funding from high political and government groups can become a violent gang when these possibilities are suddenly taken away.

The movie, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, shows another way gangs have felt the effects of nihlism and demoralization. While a white person in America has always been able to travel freely , African Americans have not had the same experience. During the 1960's the LAPD would patrol neighborhoods just to make sure everyone was in the right place. Mainly this meant if you were black you were suppose to be in the black neighborhoods. It is easy to see how the alienation of a certain race can cause issues. When you aren't allowed to associate with other people one may lose a sense of self. This ultimately lead to the Watts Riot in 1965, when thousands of African American's rallied against the LAPD for another outrageous traffic stop. This was just the first form of oppression the United States used against an African American minority. Later it was revealed the United States stated the the Black Panther Party was seen as the greatest internal threat to the US. After the party leaders and Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated, the Crips and Bloods emerged to fill a void. As Hagedorn stated, "Nihilism among African Americans spread after the 1960's, though the concept is fundamentally rooted in the psychological scars of slavery and centuries of racism. The killings of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, and others were a chilling reminder to black people of the fury and power of racism." (Hagedorn p. 57) .Unlike the previous Black Panther Party, the Crips and Bloods had no interest in politics. "Nihilism among African Americans spread after the 1960's, though the concept is fundamentally rooted in the psychological scars of slavery and centuries of racism. The killings of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, and others were a chilling reminder to black people of the fury and power of racism." (Hagedorn p. 57) The African American community has been so beat down that they were now pinned against one another. The gangs provided a sense of family and unity the black culture could rely on. The introduction of crack cocaine into these communities only fueled the fire of these gangs. Drug use and possession lead to hundreds and thousands of broken homes making gangs seem like the only way out. After the 1992 riots when Los Angles failed rebuild the city the gangs stood strong. When a community loses its hope in society they feel no reason to conform to a society's goals or norms. Why would a young black man participate in school when there are easier alternatives in front of them. A gang can provide the structure and hope that society has failed to provide in certain communities.

Question 2

Manuel Castell's devastating picture of the polarization and social exclusion of the fourth world is a very important concept. Hagedorn states that as the market gains influence, the state retreats from providing social welfare. This is a huge deal for the community living in the fourth world. "The state, particularly in the third world, cannot provide adequate employment, services, or security for vastly expanding poor urban neighborhoods." (Hagedorn p. 7) In today's economy many countries are experiencing bad economic conditions, which requires more funding, which could then be put towards an education, police force, or rebuilding communities. Areas with little money have been known to become "bad areas" such as ghettos, barrios, and favelas, and many times gangs may establish themselves in these low income areas. This is a problem in today's world, and if it cannot be improved on, gangs are going to continue to institutionalize and live in defensible spaces. Hagedorn states, " It is the desperate urban conditions in the fourth world, including the U.S. Cities, that are more likely to produce

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