Social Issue: Gang Mentality America has always had gangsters, the mafia, and numerous other crime organizations. But now it has gone to another level. Nowadays young Americans are flocking to join street gangs. These street gangs are a way of life, both mental and physical. With so many youths feeling like they need to be a part of something, gangbanging just comes natural. People join gangs for four primary reasons: poverty, peer pressure, boredom, and despair. Poverty causes a gang mentality because there is a desperate need to make money. When there is a lack of money people have a tendency to lean towards crime.

The theory is that it is better to do crime as a group rather than as an individual. The odds of a group getting away with illegal activities are much better than one person doing it by themselves. Peer pressure makes gangs a problem also. If gangs are present in a person’s neighborhood or there is a strong gang presence at their school, they feel it is a safety measure to be a part of the gang. Usually teenagers are the targets of gangs because they are very easy to influence. It is easier for teenagers to follow the crowd, so peer pressure is the driving force behind joining a gang. Boredom always plays a major role in gangbanging also.

Without something to occupy their time, joining a gang provides an outlet. Despair, the last primary reason for joining a gang, comes from feeling life is hopeless. Many youths were raised in poverty and with parents that are drug addicts, so they see the gangs as their family members. They actually feel that the gang is the only family that they really have. Drug use plays a major role in gangs and provides profits to gang members. There are three major types of gangs that are in existence now. There are ethnic gangs, turf gangs, and prison gangs. Ethnic gangs are built on race or ethnicity.

Some ethnic gangs are created for racial hatred. Turf gangs are defined by the territory that they control. These gangs are named after the areas that they live in. If gang members go into another territory they usually get beat up or killed. This causes turf wars between rival gangs. Prison gangs are for gang members that go to prison. Some members go to prison and join their respective gangs, while some gangs are formed in prison. Gangs operate on the inside of prison and on the outside. When a new member joins a gang, they are usually jumped in. Jumped in means they have to fight other gang members to be accepted.

Girls are usually raped to become a gang member. If a person is not jumped in, they usually send the prospect on a particular mission which is usually criminal. Society has a difficult task trying to stop these gangs. Every gang has colors or handshakes to identify themselves. This has become a way of life in our country and gang life is a way of society in many places. I hope that I never had to deal with this type of situation. Gang life or gangbanging has become a major institution in our society. For some people it’s the only way of life they know. This is one of the worst creations in our society.