The No Snitching Act

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The “no snitching, no stitching” code, also known as the silence code, has resulted in an increase of violence, fear, and insecurity in the community.Before discussing the harm that it does, we must first become acquainted with what that term means. According to the Collins English Dictionary, a snitch means to steal; to turn informer, and the term is also closely linked to a betrayer. According to that same source “stitching” refers to a repairing, usually of clothing. Moreover, Merriam Webster dictionary states that the word “snitch” is of unknown origin and was first used in the year 1875. Although the sources mentioned above offer an official definition of the word, in the inner city communities, a snitch carries a deeper meaning. Some people have become intensely upset to even hear of the term snitch and this is because the playful word that we used to tease each others as kids has developed into a dark code that criminals use to instill fear into many citizens today. To many a snitch is rendered as a “whistle”, a “rat”, and a “tattle tale”. How does this twisted mentality affect us? In this paper, I will show how our community has been torn apart by this code of silence, explain the ways in which it is promoted and describe why we should all fight against it. Unlike baggy pants and tattoos that were first introduced through rappers and convicts, the “No snitching, no stitching” policy is a criminal code that was not widely accepted by one rap song. It is a reflection of mostly African American communities’ widespread fear of criminals who promise to harm or give people “stitches” if they “snitch” on them. It is something that have caused a shift in the way people, thing act, and communicate with others, especially those whom have authority. As a young child you might have experienced bullying from school, or even at home by an older sibling. Your natural inclination might have been to readily tell an adult or your parents so that they may protect you. But then, as you think about running away to tell someone, the bully then whispers to you and say “if you tell someone imma beat you up”. How would you respond? Sadly this is a situation, that many youths are exposed to, not just locally, but worldwide. They are becoming terrorized from an early age, and the thing that may seem as the easiest to do-to tell an adult, then becomes the hardest decision to make. Lets go back to that scenario. What if you have witnessed the bully bullying one of your close friends too? Will you then see it as your obligation to report the bully, or will you continue to be a bystander and watch as he/she harms all your friends due to the threat that he issued to you. For many, they don’t see the simple option of telling an adult because of fear. It is right to conclude that the no snitching attitude is instilled in people from early onwards. Even after instituting the bully hotlines in hundreds of schools, a report shows that only 1 out of 30 students actually come forward with any information. The rest continues to live their life in fear, which hinders them to fully enjoy their youth. They then develop a feeling of insecurity, and become academically troubled. Psychologically many people claim to have their own reasons why they choose not to report to the police, the thought of even being labeled as a snitch by their peers drives these individuals to stay far from authorities. “Snitches get stitches!”, boldly stated 17-year old Tiana Matthis, after being asked how she felt about the term “snitches”. She went on to add “it’s the rule-and you follow it. If you break it, you face the consequences”. This incident may seem to be an insignificant time a young girl voiced out a saying that she learned in school. However, the problem is that this saying is inculcated in the social life of teenagers. This example stands as another proof that the “no snitching” law starts early. To many young ones, like Tiana, the idea that if you tell the...
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