Why does everyone want to be a gangster? From gladiators to gangsters, throughout history there has always been an attraction to being the tough guy. Girls love them, mothers cry for them and everyone else fears them. In today’s society there seem to be three kinds of youths, tough people, those imitated by them and those who emulate them.
Today’s youth uses the term “gangsta” to mean gangster or tough person. A popular rap star, Fifty-Cents recorded a song called “Wangsta.” Wangsta is a street slang that describes someone who is pretending to be a gangsta. The lyrics of this song depict the artist challenging a rival’s clam to be a gangster. He goes on to criticize his rival for talking about being a gangsta and not actually shooting anyone. Why would a child rather fight than be called a wangsta? Well, that is what we will explore in this section of this publication. People are drawn to several characteristic of a tough guy. Let us take a close look at some of them.
# 1 Fearlessness – Tough guys do not appear to have a healthy fear that would normally limits the average person’s behavior or ability. Their unpredictable character keeps their spectators guessing, friends entertained and
rivals in fear. Tough guys refuse to listen to anyone or anything, including their conscience. The Gangsta Life is attractive to the adolescence that sits at home bored or the youth who feels like people do not respect him or her. Without a full understanding of respect, many youth intentionally provoke people to fear them. Fear is a mutated form of respect.
#2 Authority Figure – A gangsta can attract others by counterfeiting the role of a parent. The basic responsibility of a parent is to protect, provide and teach. The gangsta can create a sense of protection through violence and intimidation; they provide basic tangible items mostly through illegal means. A gangsta teaches street knowledge. Young girls often transfer their allegiance from their parents to the local gangsta hoping to escape accountability and parental guidance.
#3 Control – Teens struggle with many issues. They are trying to find the balance among image, power, and self preservation. New information and abilities are bombarding their minds everyday. They need assistance to put it in proper perspective. They mask their feelings of insecurities by choosing an image to protect their soft core. If people are afraid of them, they will not bother them while they figure it all out. Again, Fear is often mistaken for respect. Children often say, “I don’t care.” More times than naught, they are trying to convince themselves not to feel. Tragically, many unintentionally mute their conscience and cause permanent damage to their conscience while going through a temporary phase. Many youth are acting out the image of what they believe to be a Gangsta. Often their image puts them in situations that they cannot escape. Each image follows a particular script. Some youth follow their lines to the grave.
#4 Emotional Advantage – Some youth suffer because traumatic experiences from their past. Whether they have been let down by parents or abused someone outside of the family, they are left feeling vulnerable. Without professional assistance, children look to their internal mechanisms to cope. Tired of feeling like a victim, they become angry with the people responsible for their discomforts. They soon discover that they feel empowered and justified while they are angry. Their anger masks their pain. They eventually chose a life style of anger to mute their pain. Unfortunately, they may silence their spirit in the process. The spirit contains many hidden treasures. Special gifts, i.e., intuition, drive and talent lives in the spirit. Without access to those treasures, they may never reach their full potential.
Wearing the mask of a gangsta has deadly consequences. We watch our children play chicken with guns and knives. The winner is always the one who cares less or at lease acts the part. Sadly, the winner is also the biggest loser. They lose themselves, freedom and sight of a productive reality.