World of Gangs Essay

2287 Words May 3rd, 2012 10 Pages
Sociology 241
Course Paper

Question #1: Using Hagedorn’s analysis of the Hamburgs, and the Conservative Vice Lords in Chicago, and the Crips and Bloods video’s analysis of gangs in LA, discuss how Hagedorn’s concept of demoralization, and Cornell West’s concept of nihilism, have an objective basis in the historical structure of Chicago’s and LA’s racism.

In John M. Hagedorn’s book A World of Gangs he states, “An increasingly frustrated and demoralized population will reluctantly turn to armed non-state actors who can provide security of a sort, a sense of identity, perhaps the sole local supply of jobs, and rudimentary services that the state cannot or will not offer” (Hagedorn p. 21). This notion is supported when one analyzes
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83). The Hamburg’s (HAA) enjoyed a much different outcome. In essence, the CVL became isolated due to no political, police and/or social acceptance. This is the defining role of modern day demoralization in ghettos all across the world. “Nihilism” can be defined as lifelessness, hopelessness, loveless-ness and gang based mentality (“No matter how bad I got it I’ll always have something”). Cornel West states, “Nihilism among African Americans spread after the 1960s, though most feel that its roots go all the way back to the time of slavery and years and years of racism” (Hagedorn p. 57). He goes on to say that, “…the hope of the 60’s was blown up when the US government failed to live up to its promises of the war on poverty” (Hagedorn p. 57). For example, these nihilistic fallacies are expressed by famous rapper Kanye West in a hit song, “Cuz when you try hard, that’s when ya die hard” his meaning being what’s the point of trying in a white dominated country where if I try my hardest, in the end you will just be left more disappointed due to no acceptance. This led to African Americans feeling cynical about freedom. In the video Bloods and Crips: “Made in America” it was clear that gangs replaced immediate families, were about unity and gave members a sense of purpose that they had lost as a result of social exclusion and other educational, occupational, and economical

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