What’s a Gang and What’s Race Got to Do With It?

Joseph, I and Gunter, Anthony (2011). What’s a Gang and What’s Race Got to Do With It? Runnymede Trust, https://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/publications/pdfs/GangsRevisited(online)-2011.pdf.

Abstract

This paper will largely concern itself with critically assessing the substantive ideas that have developed in recent times on serious youth (‘gang-related’) violence in the UK, and examines how race and ethnicity – with reference to black male youth – has largely been down-played by policy makers and academics (‘gang-industry’), and hysterically overplayed by the media. The refusal on the part of the UK ‘gang-industry’ to confront full on the sensitive issue of race and violent youth crime in urban areas, apart from a cursory acknowledgment of poverty and relative deprivation, has created a vacuum where right wing media commentators have began to dominate and frame the public debate; and in so doing continue to stigmatize and problematize black male youth as the perennial ‘criminal other’ (Keith, 1993). This paper has an intended operational focus that attempts to reframe debates around race/ethnicity and violent crime in ways that give more balanced insight to the drivers of contemporary urban youth violence in order that policy and practice interventions might better be able to meet the needs of those vulnerable at-risk young people.

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