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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gangs: Who's problem is it?

When I think of streetgangs in Utica the first question I ask myself: Do I know a gang member? The answer: I don't think so.

Crips, Bloods MS13 don't seem to have a chapter here. I think even the Freemason's may have problems recruiting in Utica.

I could be wrong, but I do not think there is practical way to measure gang activity outside of jail.

Drug dealing, murder and drive-bys are the informal earmarks law enforcement looks for. But what do you do in a community that already had those earmarks sans the gang graffitti? I think it is a matter of perception. There have been people in Utica combatting streetgangs for fifteen years. They thought there was a gang problem then.

Crime and Gangs are nothing new to Utica what is new is the awareness. It is not as if Utica suddenly woke-up and the Gangs snuck in over night.

Gangs were, that is , they used to be, a by-product of disenfranchisement, during a time of rampant institutional racism the average black man was condemned to the inner city by segregation forced to compete amongst his own for few meager scraps (limited living wage jobs).

Different groups of men from the same neighborhood, with nothing to do all day, began to hang together, a charismatic member of the group gave them a name, then they began to talk about their dreams and their realities and , most important, their struggles. This scenario played out all over the American inner cities during the civil rights era. The revolutionary rhetoric, the dream of total freedom,was being lived through these groups. They didn't fear police, they lived according to and created their own set of rules and laws. They created their own governing bodies. The original mission of many 'Nations' was independence from 'the man', protection from the police and peace of mind.

Police behaved a lot differently in the city back in those days. The noose of racism has loosened its death grip but the marks remain, gangs account for the societal scars endured by generations of people cheated out of their dreams.

Gangs are by-product of poverty, illliteracy and indifference. They survive on cynicism, hopelessness and greed. Now they are profitable. Not only on the streetcorner but Wallstreet as well.

Gang culuture has gone corporate, just look around at all the products our young people are wearing. The gang symbolism is rampant everywhere and for the well informed, it appears to be a mainstream phenomenon.

What are your kids wearing. Do they know the 'crip walk'? Do all their friends wear the same colors and do funny hand shakes?

The sciences of sales and marketing has been applied to 'do-rags' , bandanas, and even prison apparel. The street culture has redefined what it means to be a 'gangsta'. They are after your kids, corporate America says: "there is money in this gang thing just like the grunge thing".
Stay tuned for Crips cereal" Crips are for kids!!!!

The suits of 'The Dapper Don', the traditional gangster image, have been replaced with oversized jeans, giant chains, and even bigger medallions. The richest and most successful thugs in Americsan history on the wrong side of the law will never be known; that is gang culture.

Do all these things exist in Sin City er' Utica?


ClapSo said...

For me the real gang problem this country faces is with the big time hoodlums:

The bush crime family
The enron crime family
The worldcom crime family
The hell-o-burton crime family
The black-war-tar crime family

The answer to ending street crime is to end corporate crime. We can only do that by ridding ourselves of the republicrat/dempublican control of our government

My blog is about how and why we should take on the big time corporate/government crime families. You can view it at:

I've added your blog to my blog roll Dancy.

Aletha said...

Yeah Dancy. When are you going to write again? Grace us with your infinite knowledge/wisdom.
Ok, so I know I get to read your stuff and work... and maybe you think I don't appreciate it, but this is totally different!
Waiting to see what's next...

forward vision said...

we should "legalize" gangs and have an open registration period akin to afterschool programs...imagine the slow but steady decline of members. It's a scientific fact that if you package something the masses will approve!