Gang Leader For A Day
1.) How would you respond if a graduate student from an elite university turned up at your door and announced his intention to study you?
If a graduate student from an elite university showed up at my door with intentions to study me, I think that I would allow him access. I would like the chance to hear what they had to say about my lifestyle. I’ve always questioned the way I live and if other peoples lives’ are similar. I don’t think that I live an odd life, but it would be interesting to see how a stranger viewed it. I know at first that I’d be a lot like J.T. in regard to certain aspects of my life. I wouldn’t behave the way I always do, I’d be ...view middle of the document...
To what extent are you persuaded by these comparisons?
I understand the comparisons completely, but I don’t think that it persuaded me in one direction or the other. In the Black Kings, there is a “board of directors” who I’d say are the equivalent of a large business owner. Things get done the way they want it done, and they stand to make the most profit. Then you have the “Captains” and “Lieutenants” who would act like the CEO’s. They have a lot of the power, but there is still someone above them that hands them orders and who can fire them. The ranks continue like this until you get all the way down to the bottom. In the case of a business the lowest ranking would be the intern or an assistant and in the Black Kings it’d be the young boys or “foot-soldiers” that do the heavy lifting and clean up. It’s very business like in that the higher up the ranks you’re able to move, the more money you’ll be able to make. Also, the rival gangs are competing with one another, to see who can make the most money, just as large corporations do. So, I think this was a great comparison. However, when you get down to it, illegal is still illegal. It makes no difference to me if it’s the gang-banger or the CEO committing the illegal act, they should both be punished. It also stands to reason that they’d organize a gang the same way as a business, since they both have the same goal; money.
4.) In chapter two, Venkatesh and J.T. argue about whether a "culture of poverty" exists among poor blacks in America. In your opinion, does Gang Leader for a Day do more to confirm or to dispute that there is such a culture?
I think that this book does confirm that there is a culture of poverty, to a certain extent. Sudhir said that the people living in the Robert Taylor Homes used crack like people in his neighborhood use alcohol. You have the alcoholics or the addicts and then you have the people who drink a few times a week or who have twenty extra dollars and buy some crack for recreational use. That’s the problem that they’re perpetuating right there. If you wanted to better yourself and had twenty extra dollars for the week, you’d save that extra money and in a single month you’d have eighty dollars saved. If you kept up with this, you’d be able to move out and into a better neighborhood. The problem is that people want instant gratification instead of delayed gratification. So, to a degree there is a culture, but I think the real problem is an environmental one. In that, same children aren’t taught the proper values and when they raise their own children they’re passing on the wrong values and then it becomes cyclical. At any time, these poverty stricken individuals could make some changes that would effect their outcome for the better. The poverty stricken are perpetuating the cycle when they could be breaking it.
5.) On pages 146 through 149, Ms. Bailey blames the conditions at Robert Taylor on a larger society that has denied opportunities to the poor. To...