In September, teenage honor student Derrion Albert was beaten to death on his way home from school. In the Generation Y GED class, students watched the explicit video of the fight/death that was filmed on a cell phone.
The Project Learn students were then instructed to write a response about the state of our community and how media affects youth and their actions.
Here are a few reactions:
The beating of Derrion Albert was sad but in Chicago, things are different. In the Windy City, gangs mostly run the streets and a lot of gangs still believe that you’re in a gang even if you say you aren’t. It’s “with you’re with us or against us.” I’m the son of a big-time gang leader. The gang I used to run with did all types of things like this just to get put in a ranking. (A rank tells other members how dangerous you are. It’s almost like a source of power and respect.) A lot of beatings like this stem from refusing to join or disrespecting the set. (A set is a gang’s rules and terms on how they run that area.) It’s deeper than what the news shows us.
Gangs were created to protect and help the community, but now these young people have flipped it around. I hate it because there isn’t anymore respect or loyalty. Back then, they didn’t beat people up for small things. It was mostly over turf (being in another neighborhood) or servings (dealing drugs or making money on another man’s living grounds). There will always be gangs. I don’t think there’s any getting around it. But what gang members can do is speak to kids and show them that you can be a brotherhood without the violence. That way, we can lower the number of deaths.
Our younger generation is falling victim to inhabit the negativity that the media displays. As a result, they have reacted by using violence in many situations. I truly feel that they are affected by the music they listen to. Let’s look at the death of Derrion Albert. He was killed while on his way home from school. This was tragic. This was only one brutal act that’s recently been reported. What about the thousands that hasn’t? We as a community have to do better for ourselves and young people looking up to us. We can’t control what’s in the media, but we can try to persuade youth not to follow the negative things that they hear in music and see on television.
It’s certain TV shows, movies and music that have an affect on our daily lives because we can relate to them. Some people might take what they see on TV and apply it in real life. Let’s take music for example. The same artist that is supposed to help people get out of the hood, are the ones bringing the guns to the hood, claiming gangs and flaunting their wardrobe. The people at home watching are going to see that and be affected by it. Basically it’s monkey see, monkey do.