Inside the dark world of the gang initiation ceremonies
A youth worker writes
Saturday 13 August 2011
In order to be initiated into a gang, a boy with whom I worked was given a choice: eat dog faeces or rob and stab another boy in the leg. The boy opted for the former.
This resulted in serious illness and hospitalisation. He gained membership but he has little scope for promotion within the gang because he failed to demonstrate capacity to be ruthless to the "Olders".
The lure of the gang is magnetic for vulnerable inner-city teenagers, offering a sense of belonging and materialistic gains that would otherwise be out of reach.
The hierarchy is loosely divided into two levels, "Youngers" and "Olders". The lengths to which a potential new member is prepared to go to join the gang highlights their potential to climb the hierarchy.
While there is not necessarily direct pressure from the gang to join, opting out has consequences. With no gang affiliation, you lack the supposed protection the gang offers and may be perceived as untrustworthy. Experimenting with the idea of joining the gang and then deciding against joining is less favourable. You are then likely to be victimised by them.
Some London gangs affiliate themselves with the Bloods and the Crips of the United States .
Urban music plays a critical role. While there are artists in the mainstream preaching a positive message, local underground artists offer an alternative. Their message is often conflicted, proudly representing the gang and glamourising the criminality and violence, while accepting that ultimately there will be negative consequences to leading such a life.
I recall taking one boy to a supermarket to get some lunch. He began to rifle through what was on offer at the self-service salad cart with his hands, sampling everything. I told him that he couldn't do that, and he replied "Why? Who's going to stop me?"
The writer is a youth worker and mentor working in North London
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
Iran nuclear talks: Prospect of deal with Iran pushes Saudi Arabia and Israel into an unlikely alliance
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 1 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 4 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 5 Dylan Moran on quitting smoking, being about as sexy as the Pope and why comedy panel programmes are 'c*ck shows'