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A.V.M. Gang Awareness Night 4/16/07

Culture of Dominance

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understanding gang motivation

dom·i·nance

Pronunciation[dom-uh-nuhns]

1.rule; control; authority; ascendancy.

2.the condition of being dominant.

3.Psychology. the disposition of an individual to assert control in dealing with others.

4.Animal Behavior. high status in a social group, usually acquired as the result of aggression, that involves the tendency to take priority in access to limited resources, as food, mates, or space.

5.Neurology. the normal tendency for one side of the brain to be more important than the other in controlling certain functions, as speech and language.

Also, dom·i·nan·cy.

There is an element of dominance that exists in any security threat group, hate group, or street gang. This is concept that drives many towards these groups. This dominance can take the form of the hierarchy of the organization. Individuals get involved in gangs because they lack power to be able to change their environment.

For some individuals the only consistency that they have is the gang. Their families do not offer them the types of boundaries and accountability that students need to be able to succeed. Gangs offer a structure, leaders, guidance, and potential for upward movement.

Gangs offer the ability of perceived freedom from whatever problems are affecting the member. In time this freedom changes into shackles that bind the individual to performing illegal acts. The gang forces its members to alienate themselves from their previous contacts. The gang becomes the member's sole motivation.

Gang life is embedded with internal and external conflict. The organizational structure dominates members into submission and to do acts that they know are wrong. When away from the gang the members feel vulnerable and at risk of attack, persecution, and imprisonment based on the acts that they commit. This type of environment makes it extremely difficult to completely detach because when they do they are left with nothing.

Members of gangs exhibit an "us vs them" type of mentality. This theme is exhibited by the ongoing conflicts within gang nations. Battles and wars are started based on crews being disrespected, threatened, attacked, or for no reason other than being a perceived rival. There are little to no differences between one gang faction or another. They all have common norm based cultures that thrive on dominance and greed. What does differ is the mentality level of the gang members within the gangs.

High status is an esteem held within the gang. This esteem is used by gang leaders to manipulate actions. Individuals who are seeking esteem will do whatever task set before them to fulfill their extrinsic goals. In the same way gang leaders have a limited shelf life based on the organization of conflict they inhabit. While leaders do call the shots they are equally dominated by the fear that some day they will be lose their position based on decisions that they have made. For these reasons high status and esteem does not truly exist in gang environments.

Gangs and security threat groups offer some sort of perceived benefit to every person involved. There are hundreds of reasons why people join gangs whether it is for positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, self esteem, money, solidarity, drugs, broken homes, structured homes, or just a poor decision that kids make. These groups offer our children something that their environment does not.

We need to take time and find out what each child's one reason is and offer that in a constructive environment that is safe and provides opportunity for growth that they can see. They will then see that they are dominant. They have what it takes to make their goals come true. This can be a long and arduous journey of self analysis, consistency, and support but the overall goal is what needs to be focused on.































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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