Posts Tagged ‘gang culture’

  • avatar By Guest Blogger 19th March 12

    City Year London

    The City Year London team

    Our tendency to form tribes has been a part of human nature for millions of years and still continues to this day. Take Facebook, the largest tribe on the planet with over 812 million users all drawn together by the possibility to interact.

    Stuart Sutherland discusses this age-old need to form groups in his book, Irrationality. He draws on evidence that humans are naturally hard-wired for group-forming behaviour, spurred on by a primitive desire for safety, acceptance and feeling included by others.

    The point here is that the inclination to form ”gangs” in the wider sense of the word, is completely natural in all walks of life. At home, your family is your gang; at work your colleagues are your gang; on the internet you’re part of worldwide gang. …

    But last month saw the first ever teenager to be jailed for breaching his ‘GANGBO’ – a new government initiative tackling antisocial behavior by stopping gang members from meeting up, wearing gang clothing or going to certain locations. But is stopping gangs forming really the right way of tackling anti-social behaviour?

    Police quote

    Tribes form from individuals sharing the same views and beliefs. If enough individuals share similar negative and destructive feelings shaped by the world in which they were brought up, they’ll obviously be drawn together and solidified into antisocial gangs that accept and justify criminal actions.

    Statistics unsurprisingly show that many young antisocial gang members come from deprived neighbourhoods or broken family backgrounds. So can we really blame them for their natural desire to find what they believe is a safe place or a chance to feel included?

    In fact, shouldn’t we instead be actively encouraging stronger “gang culture” – alternative, positive groups for these young people to embrace?

    If the Government is really serious about tackling anti-social gang behaviour, instead of simply locking them away or secluding them in the their own communities, a better idea would be to help them find local youth centres containing the right support, the right role models to embrace and a choice of opportunities to try again.

    I met a gang recently named City Year London, they are a youth group who are committed mentors and role models in schools and help students stay on track or get back on track. They are also finalists in this week’s vInspired National Awards and a prime example of the good things that gangs can do when they consist of positive likeminded people.

    We all need a gang – but it’s finding the right one that really matters. Do you feel like you’re part of a positive gang that’s doing some good? We’d love to hear your thoughts.


    Cem Kaymaz-Yildiz is currently working as a Digital Intern at vInspired