Gang Leader for a Day

Topics: Robert Taylor Homes, Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, Gangs Pages: 2 (675 words) Published: December 10, 2012
Sudhir Venkatesh began studying sociology at the University of Chicago, and was given the task to carry out a survey on what its really like to be black and poor. Venktesh took to this task with great enthusiasm and a slight hint of naivety. Venkatesh went into the poor neighbourhoods which surrounded the University of Chicago and began his research into what it was like to be poor and black. Not long into his research he ends up being held hostage for several hours by the Black kings, a gang that controlled most of the surrounding area. At first they thought that Venkatesh was from a Mexican gang but Venkatesh managed to somehow make them understand that he was researching and keen to learn more about the way they live. Surprisingly Venkatesh befriends J.T, a charismatic gang leader who is the leader of the Black Kings. This friendship between J.T and Venkatesh gave Venkatesh the opportunity to spend more time in the neighbourhood to carry out his research by shadowing J.T and his gang and watching how they lead the residents of the Robert Taylor homes. When Venkatesh first enters the neighbourhood he already has his own views on how life in a neighbourhood like this one that is controlled and run by a gang works. Throughout his research he witnessed so many things ranging from domestic violence to drive-by shootings and so many different types of scams. Venkatesh shows us that the gang is both an advantage and a disadvantage to the neighbourhood. On one hand the gang are conducting a drug business in the neighbourhood, but on the other hand the gang have a duty to protect the residents of their neighbourhood and residents pay money which they call taxes to the gang for such services. On some occasions Venkatesh makes us consider the fact that without the gangs "services" the neighbourhood could be potentially worse off. Throughout his research he witnessed so much that at one point his professors sent him to a lawyer to gain advice on what he perhaps might...
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