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Gang Leader for a Day

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Diandra Showe

on 21 April 2015

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Transcript of Gang Leader for a Day

Robert Taylor Homes
The Gang's Structure
Role of the Black Kings in the Community
The Black Kings
Gang Leader for a Day
Group 4: Chris Heinlen, Chris Jones-Penson, Derek Korte, Megan McCormac, Diandra Showe, & Bryan Quinby
What theorists developed the model of city growth as shown in the previous slide?
So You Think You Can Be a Gang Leader?
Class Activity
Situation #1
Situation #1 Solution
Situation #2
Situation #2 Solution
Situation #3
Situation #3 Solution
Situation #4
Situation #4 Solution
In Social Disorganization Theory, Shaw & McKay explained crime as a product of deteriorating, transitional neighborhoods that lacked a sense of ________ ?
A. Safety
B. Community
C. Adequate social institutions
D. Opportunity for advancement
Despite their involvement in drug dealing, extortion, and gang violence, JT and the BKs believed they were working for the greater good of their community and were needed to bring order. Which of Sykes & Matza’s techniques of neutralization does this justification mostly closely resemble?
A. Denial of Responsibility
B. Denial of Injury
C. Denial of the Victim
D. Condemnation of the Condemners
E. Appeal to Higher Loyalties

Shaw & McKay's Social Disorganization Theory:

Crime and gang activity occurs in transitional neighborhoods that have no real sense of community.
Venkatesh began to wonder...

How did the other inhabitants of Robert Taylor perceive the gang's presence?
" 'The gang and the building are the same.' " (89)
“The gang was simultaneously a nuisance, a source of fear, and an ally.” (84)
" 'That's what the BKs are about,' he said. 'We help keep the peace. We take care of our community.' " (93)
“Autry felt that the gang did help the community - giving away food, mediating conflicts, et cetera - but he also stressed that the community spent a lot of time ‘mopping up the gang’s mistakes.’” (97)

Violence and gang conflict
Extortion and "taxing"

Peacekeeping and conflict negotiation
Gave back to the neighbors
Q: In Differential Reinforcement Theory, how does one's behavior become reinforced or weakened?
A. Strengthening/ Weakening of social bonds
B. By learning if their behavior is right or wrong
C. Rewards and punishments
D. None of the above


Differential Reinforcement Theory
two hits to the mouth
can't work for a week
beat member up
work free for a month
Differential Reinforcement Theory
Two guys are offering you a deal on raw product (cocaine).

One dealer says that if you pay him 20% more right now, he'll give you a discount a year from now, and if the supply goes down, you'll get first dibs.

The other dealer says he'll give you a 10% discount
if you buy from him at the regular price a year from now.

What would you do? And why would you chose that option?

Take the 10% discount NOW.

“You always take the sure bet in this game. Nothing can be predicted.”
One of the BK members threw a party last night and Ms. Bailey wants it cleaned up ASAP. There’s two groups who haven’t done cleanup in a while. Should you send..

(A) Moochie’s group, who has been making good money, but may also be getting a big head.

(B) Kalia’s group, who isn’t making as much money and therefore wouldn’t lose much by taking them off the streets.

Send Moochie’s group.

“It’s better that his head doesn’t get too big. Short run, you lose a little money.” (122)

Gang leaders must struggle to keep their foot soldiers and young members from feeling too powerful or independent from the gang.
There is a dispute between two gang members, Billy, the director of a six-man drug selling crew, and Otis, one of Billy’s dealers. Otis claims that Billy underpaid him for a day’s work, but Billy says that Otis lied about how much crack he sold and kept the extra money. (129)
Venkatesh: Invoke the NFL offsetting penalty-rule; “both guys screwed up, so the two penalties cancel each other out. I know that Otis’s crime is more serious because he stole, but both of them messed up. So no one gets hurt or pays a fine.” (134)
JT: Still beats up Otis because “we do know that Otis stole something, because he didn’t deny it,” yet JT only made him work a week without pay, so Otis got off easy.

Boo-Boo, a woman in the RT homes, is accusing a worker at the local corner store of sleeping with her teenage daughter and giving her an STD. Boo-Boo is screaming and threatening to kill him, making a big scene that gathers a crowd. Some BKs are called over to try to mediate the situation. How do you resolve this conflict? (90-93)

“I told his brother, the one who owns the store, that he had to do something, ‘cause people would burn the store down if he didn’t. He said he’d put all the soda and beer he had on the sidewalk if people would leave the store alone.” (93) Price also tells the man that they’ll figure the rest out tomorrow so no one gets hurt.

Befriending a Gang Leader
A. Merton
B. Shaw & McKay
C. Sutherland
D. Cohen
They were originally located in the Lake Park Projects until the BK Senior leaders moved them to the Robert Taylor Homes.
The Lake Park Projects although small, brought in only a modest sum of money.
Once they moved to the Robert Taylor Homes however, this profit could increase dramatically.
This kind of money motivated J.T since he was tired of the earnings he made while working in mainstream Chicago.
According to Merton, how would J.T. be classified?
A. Conformist
B. Rebel
C. Innovator
D. Retreatist
E. Ritualist
Who is
Sudhir Venkatesh?

"Rogue Sociologist"
Ph.D. from the University of Chicago
Currently is a professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Columbia University.

Stumbled upon a gang hangout where he was held hostage.
The gang's leader advised a different approach: Venkatesh needed to hangout and get to know the people in the project, in order to understand them.
Gained priceless observational data:
First-hand look at gang activity
Gang revenue and types of income
Crack dealing income reports
One-on-one interviews
Details of life in the projects
Accumulated a decade's worth of information

J.T. was an innovator, always motivated by money, and his personal goals reflected his motivation
Despite his paranoia, he believed in running the gang like a business and keeping it “ a community thing” (79)
J.T. was not all about the money, he made sure that his gang took care of the people in need at the Robert Taylor Homes: “The Black Kings policed the buildings more aggressively than the Chicago police did.” (59)
Squatters were charged to rent shared rooms by the week. If they got out of hand, they would be beaten and kicked out by the BKs.
Policing Robert Taylor A
The Housing Authority police were paid off by JT. The BKs were allowed to sell drugs and rent space in the stairwells to squatters with outstanding warrants.
Ms Bailey and the CHA
Ms. Bailey was the president of the Local Advisory Council and liaison to the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA).

Because her position was not well paid, Ms. Bailey often supplemented her income in creative ways.
Communal Living in the Robert Taylor Homes

Many of the building's children came from single-mother homes - with parents often locked up or dead. Residents would share child-care duties and help shield kids from Child Services.
Robert Taylor A:
Run by JT & the Black Kings
Robert Taylor B:
The building adjacent to A, run by the Gangster Disciples
Prostitution & Squatting
Often, BKs were sent to settle disputes instead of calling the police.
As part of their income, the Black Kings charged both pimps and independent prostitutes to run their business in Robert Taylor.
“J.T.’s ambition ran even higher. What he wanted, he told me, was to return the gang to it’s glory in the 1960’s, when South Side gangs worked together with residents to agitate for improvements in their neighborhoods” (75-76)
Motivated by money, the Kings sources of income varied.
“At the front was a large man, powerfully built but with a boyish face. He also looked to be about my age, maybe a few years older, and he radiated calm. He had a toothpick or maybe a lollipop in his mouth, and it was obvious from his carriage that he was the boss. ” (15)

Considered a "college boy,"
J.T. was
your average gangster.

Was working on his Ph.D. when he began researching poverty and gangs in the Chicago projects in the 1990s.
"How does it feel to be black and poor?" (14)
_ Very Bad
_ Somewhat Bad
_ Neither Bad nor Good
_ Somewhat Good
_ Very Good
The End of the Robert Taylor Homes
Demolition started in 1998.
Made communication with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) difficult.
The Future of the Residents
No Turf = Dissolved Gang

Ms. Bailey & JT struggled to reenter the workforce.
Moving Elsewhere
Made difficult by the CHA charging payment for the supposedly guaranteed vouchers.
Ms. Bailey acquired vouchers.
Some residents tried to stick together in the suburbs.
Full transcript