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A Doris Lessing Perspective On Youth Gangs

2548 words - 10 pages

Philpott 1Robert P. PhilpottProfessor EarleWriting and Critical Thinking 10118 November 2003A Doris Lessing Perspective on Youth GangsYouth gangs are very attractive to youths in the inner-cities of America. These gangs are usually very corrupt and very violent. What many people do not realize is that these gangs are having a very large impact on not only the youth of America, but this country in general. Why do youths find comfort in these gangs? Why do youths find it acceptable and prestigious to these groups, which can lead to multiple jail sentences through out his or her life? Doris Lessing's "Group Minds" best describes this phenomena sweeping the youth of our nation as she stated there is a sense of comfort that youths find in these groups due to a person's unconscious wanting to belong.A youth gang is a group of adolescents, primarily twelve to eighteen years old, whose members describe themselves by a single group name and are recognized by society through this name. They usually involve themselves in organized crime which includes such acts as drug dealing, murder, and rape. These acts are not only receiving negative publicity from society, but also law enforcement agencies. Other characteristics of a gang include a formal leader, initiation requirements for all prospective gang members, its own slang, symbol and "territory." There are many different types of youth gangs but three primary types: territory gangs, who protect a common ground; organized gangs, who primarily deal drugs; and scavenger gangs who have a commonPhilpott 2goal in mind ("Gangs").People are always seeking groups to belong to, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to belong. What is wrong is when the individual becomes part of thegroup and adopts a "group-mind." A "group-mind" is when the individual does not think like an individual anymore and does not stand for his/her own beliefs, values, and thoughts. He/she adopts all of the group's beliefs, values and thoughts (Lessing 307). Youth gangs are affected by this idea tremendously. Being in a youth gang commands a youth to become a different person than they would be otherwise. There is a constant search for excitement, fun and friendship which in essence places the youth in an unexpected deadly confrontation with other gangs, law enforcement members and other people in society (Spergel 97). Many youths in gangs just encompass themselves in a game of "follow-the-leader," as if one individual deal narcotics, they must all sell narcotics. If one individual feels murder is acceptable, they must all accept the fact that murder is acceptable. If they do not accept these commonly performed acts, there reputation will not be respected.Many children in gangs feel the need to build their reputation and gain respect. To obtain both of these from other gang members, a member must first perform an act that would garner respect from the other members. This usually calls for the individual to go through initiation. Initiation...

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