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Criminal Thinking

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For the purpose of this paper I’m going to keep the identity of the person confedital, and will refer to him as Sean.
From there it was expressed being a blood is a brother hood.
For my topic of interest I decided to research street gangs, I wanted to better understand the connection between street life and home life, and how certain gang members became gang affiliated. For the purpose of this research project I interviewed two gang members one a bloods and the other a Crip.
In the opening statement of the fist interview conducted between the two bloods who represent the sub group of failing block in northeast Portland I asked “how old were you when you joined the gang?” both members said they joined at the age of thirteen, and was introduced by their big “hommie” who introduced him to the streets by slanging crack. “When you have a momma who is doped out and you don’t know your daddy, but you have siblings to feed what are you going to do? Are you going to watch your family suffer? Or are you going to go out there and get it? I would be looked at as lest of a man, if I knowing didn’t do something. Yes, I can go to school and get money the square way, but on top of being a black male, I have all odds working against me.” “The streets were here for me, so I’m going to be here for the streets.”(Makkin)
Sean aka “makkin” grew up in a single parent home with two sisters, making him the middle in the line of his siblings. At the age of eleven Sean turned to the streets and other family members who were already affiliated. He became the runner for the other members already involved in the street life, selling cocaine, heroin and marijuana. “That’s what I knew. I carry a name that’s well respected in the streets, and follow behind other affiliates. I respect myself and those before me. I was born into this life style. (Makkin)”
At this age Sean is learning learned helplessness. He’s seeing the world for which the environment is around him. “I can’t change who I am as a person.” Without having a father figure and an absent mother. I believe sean was looking for a since of belonging and guidance, when first introduced. In our interview he stated several times how he never has a dad, and his cousin cool-kat , was the closes thing to a father figure, before he was sentence to prison.
“I remember sitting in the living room, while the big homies would smoke weed, count money, and talk about pussy. I couldn’t have been older than twelve. I idealized them. I thought when I get to be twenty five; I have to be doing it big like them. (makkin)
With this as his leading force sean now Makkin, which his affilicates named him. I asked how he received the name, besides being a “ladies” man. He was makkin on the streets. As he defined it “if I put a mac out for you, it’s not going to be good. It’s either me or the person. As you can see I’m still six feet up and not under (makkin).” As the conversation progressed I asked has he ever taken a life. relucduant to answer, he put me in the situation. By asking if you had a gun in your face or if knew somebody was looking for you, and their mission is to kill you. What would you do? Are you going to kill or be killed? He went on to say I’m not a killer, I don’t go around killing people for the fun of it, but I will be respected. When it comes to the safety of my family and me. If getting respect is showing these niggas I’m not playing by leaving a few examples behind, I will do so.

Being a blood is a since of brother hood, but most importantly it’s a sign of respect, especially for thoses of a lower socio ecomoinic status. It’s about power and control, within the group and for outsiders of rival gangs. It’s a about being the best at what you represent and living up to the expections of those left before you , and creating a name for yourself and others to follow.

who wouldn’t kill someone knowing they’re out there to get you? “ you be a damn dummy.”

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