This article reviews two writings, Karen A. Joe and Meda Chesney’s article “Just Every Mother’s Angel”, an analysis of gender and ethic variations in youth gang members and another article by Suudhir Alladi Venkatesh, “The Social Organization of Secret Gang Activity in an Urban Ghetto”. I am going to review the two articles separately. I will also show the relation that the two documents share. First of all it is notable that both documents are based on the general impact of the street gangs to the society where they exist.
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The article “Just Every Mother’s Angel” was written by Karen A. Joe and Meda Chesney in 1995 and published by Sage Publications. The article is based on analysis of a research that was conducted in Hawaii on 48 former ethnic gang members. In their study, the authors were in a bid to determine if membership to a gang group is in any way affected by gender, age or any variation in ethnicity and if there is any relationship between them.
The article reports of the results from the interviews which covered areas such as the cause of the increase in the number of street gangs, challenges facing the members of the gangs and any correlation between gender and gang membership. The article records a dramatic increase in the rate by which youths are joining the gangs.
This is also evident by the police records in the increase in crime rates around the cities. Majority of the members of the gangs have been documented to be black Americans. The article also indicates that gender and ethnic background also plays a great part in gang participation. Gangs are majorly made up of the males while the female members are always more dedicated to softer chores such as food preparation.
In the article it is noted that the media is always interested in the “girls in gangs”. This is so because the media always want to find out more about the enlightened “female crook”. Other causes for involvement in gang groups are as a result of seeking popularity, peer pressure and being poor.
This is from the emphasis of the society on male toughness, braveness and protectiveness. Though in most cases gangs are always formed for financial and property extortion from their victims, a number of gangs are also known to be for revenge and security reasons.
Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh’s article “The Social Organization of Street Gang Activity in an Urban Ghetto” on the other hand is an essay that shows results made after the analysis of data collected on both street gangs and the general community. The essay tries to identify any relationship between the neighboring community and the street gangs.
Among the questions the article seeks to address include: Why do gangs tend to rise from specific communities? Did rural street gang action form autonomously or through contagion as well as the shifting of urban street gang groups? The article tries to identify if there is any organizational structure in the activities of the street gangs in the urban setup. In detail, the essay focuses on how the members of the street gangs correlate with their immediate neighbors.
The article incorporates the group characteristics with the social point of view. In this article the authors focus on data collected from Blackstone and further look at the patterns of activities displayed by the street gangs. To fully cover their scope of data collection, the writers considered factors such as response of the tenants, response to the presence of street gangs and also about the management of the community facilities.
The article notes that although the street gangs play a great role in community interactions, they do not get much public recognition when it comes to decision making. Their roles are majorly expressed in lowly considered activities such as drugs peddling and other negatively viewed activities.
This article dates the introduction of the rise in street gangs to have been caused by the massive loss in blue collar job employment in the 1960s. This resulted into scramble over casual jobs. Migration to urban areas also added to the effect of the rising numbers of the street gangs.
The rise in the number of street gangs is also as a result of the failing representation of the residents by both the law enforcers and the housing authority. Among the issues raised by the residents against the police include their unwillingness to conduct street and hallway patrols.
The residents believe that most fights among different gang groups are majorly as a result territorial conflicts. The article also bases its data collection on understanding the street gangs through their identity, culture, sexual relations and even their organizational structures. The author was able to identify that the gangs, apart from their primary goal of earning an increased amount of money extorted from the community and also tried to be accepted by the local community.
This was evidenced by the study where the author was able to identify that the gangs usually take part in social activities and in some cases provide security services to the local community. From the study, the author was also able to discover that though most of the gangs have revenue generation as their main objective, a number of them however maintain their values in providing security and defending themselves.
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The author however insists that to fully understand the interactions among the street gangs and other members of the society, it requires investing much attention in the organization structure and on how they co-relate. The article has in detail covered all the factors that influence the existence of street gangs.
The article summarizes that gangs in most cases arise where there are youths facing financial, family or social problems such as overpopulation, rising poverty level and racism. The gangs generally start as a source of console, friendship and acceptance to the youth facing these problems. The groups also provide a home and food to those physically, sexually and psychologically abused. The groups have indeed a commendable characteristic of providing protection to their members.
The two articles both address the issue of the rise in the number of street gangs. The articles seek to address the importance of the street gangs to their members in the provision of security and general protection. The both articles address the factors that have led to the increase in street gangs.
From both articles it is evident that the authors have the same feeling that financial problem is the major cause of the rise in street gangs. Other causes identified by both articles include peer pressure, rising level of unemployment, drug abuse and general societal pressure on men for their masculinity.