Social Marginalization: The coming about of Gangs Matt Postle Gangs and Criminal Justice In A Rainbow of Gangs, James Drey Vigil states that, “the street gang is an outcome of social marginalization. Marginalization is to downgrade to an unimportant or powerless position within a society or group. Urban youths are being left out of mainstream society on so many levels that it forces them to the margins of society, resulting in gangs. Street gangs come about more often in low income ethnic neighborhoods. This marginalization is affected by families, school, and law enforcement.

The location and ethnicity of where a young person grows up may lead to marginalization. A low income neighborhood forces one to live with less right from the start, therefore young people are pushed right to the margins of society. If you throw in ethnicity in a low income neighborhood, your mainstream society is the margins. If there already is a gang in your neighborhood, you grow up watching them and learning their way of life, resulting in you becoming a member. These low income neighborhoods are so far from mainstream society that they basically have no choice but to resort to gangs as a way to survive.

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If you don’t come from a strong household you have more of a chance of becoming marginalized. Vigil states that “Family life and parenting practices play the initial role in the socialization of a child” (Vigil). If you are fatherless or even just come from a home that has no love, you have a greater chance of becoming a member of a gang. Not having a father leaves you without that discipline from a male figure that you need. This may force your mother to make bad decisions such as going to a gang for help or even for just a sense of belongingness and protection.

She is forced to the margins of society because there is no father around. From day one, your family is what introduces you to the world and society. If that world is filled with no love, drugs, gang affiliation, then that’s what you come to know. The shift of care goes from family to schools as you grow up. Now if you’re in a low income ethnic school, then your basically being set up for a life a gang involvement. Everyday you go to school you learn not only from the teacher, but from the people around you and your friends. In an area like this, there is probably a lot of gang affiliation around.

Seeing this everyday make you think its what you do when you get older. You may see your friends start hanging out with new people after school, so you want to do that too. This peer pressure forces you to do things that you may not feel real comfortable with, but in the end you do it anyway. These kids soon become your family and gang life is what you now know. Being a member of a gang most likely means you do not follow the rules and regulations of mainstream society. You consistently fail to conform leaving you a target for law enforcement.

With no ties to a good home or school, street life may be all you know. Law enforcement steps in and tries to help, but it must first go against you or the gang. This causes you to not conform even more, pushing you farther and farther into the margins. Since everything has failed you in your life you become street socialized. As Vigil states, “Street socialization alienates youths from what is leaned in the schools” (Vigil). Without family and a good school program, it’s hard not to see why young people take the street way of life.

The street gangs become their own society, a society that is on the margins of mainstream society. The street becomes the sanctuary, place of protection, for young people who have been hit by marginalization. The motivation to bring themselves out of the streets may not be there because of the way they were brought up. This goes back to the family that they came from, the schools, the neighborhood. You can be set up for a life in street gangs before you are even old enough to walk Young people are definitely joining gangs due to marginalization.

People who are left out of the main stream, flow to the margins, forcing them to find societies/groups that are no the best. This is how they end up in the streets and in gangs. Young people need a good structure to grow up in. They tend to follow what they see. They need to be a part of the regular mainstream society to become a contributing member of society. Works Cited Vigil, James Diego, “Young People join Gangs because of Social Marginalization,” A Rainbow of Gangs: Street Cultures in the Mega-City. U. Texas. 2002. Class Notes