Kids & Parenting
The Gang Line Series Part Four
by Mike Ramey
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Tip From The Old School: A Single Parent CAN be JUST as effective as Two Parents in the supervision of children IF they choose to become pro-active vs. re-active. However, marriage is God’s BEST model for parenting success with children!
When I had left the substitute teaching ranks back in the late 90s, school administrators were beginning to see a rise in girl on girl disruptions and disputes. Now--nearly ten years later--we have teachers breaking up even MORE fights between 13 through 17 year old female students on a DAILY basis.
During my time as an Intensive--and later as a School Based Probation Officer with a juvenile court, the number of teen females who arrived on my caseload for violent and/or major offenses increased. Not only this, but more and more teen females of school age ARE getting involved in the gang scene.
In larger cities girl gangs have been in place for a long time. As I write this particular column, there are FIVE identified female MSGs (Modern Street Gangs) in my city. Word on the street is that in rural areas, there are girls who are starting their own gangs.
Unfortunately, the criminal justice system refuses to believe that Sharon and/or Shanniqua--aided in some cases by their mothers and/or older, female relatives--are putting their own spin on street violence--girrl style. Interestingly enough, many feminists, social workers and education leaders--most of them female--have remained quiet about or are blissfully ignorant of this ‘new trend’.
FROM ACCESSORIES…TO PREDATORS:
Time for a history lesson. From the 1950s to the mid-1970s juvenile females were seen (and used) as accessories by many street gangs. They were placed in such ‘lofty’ posts as look out, drop zone, or get away driver.
Girls were viewed by boys--and the system--as coat holders and initiation helpers.
That is--until the feminist movement kicked into gear.
The unintended side effect? Older women declared by action and deed that they no longer ‘had’ to teach girls how to be girls. A ‘hardening’ of the attitudes of what constituted a quality young woman began to take root in society. Even in the church, women felt ‘bound’ by Proverbs 31 or the Books of Ephesians or Titus. They ‘freed’ themselves (mentally) to ‘do their own thing’ by the spirit of the age.
But wait, there IS more!
The late 1980s saw girl gangs growing with their own rules and reputations. By the 1990s, girl gangs were entrenched in major cities, and moving to the secondary cities. By the end of the 1990s, more and more young women were heading to prison for more violent offenses. Our new millennium has seen the rise of more sexually aggressive female teachers; teen girls calling teen boys at all hours of the day/night for dates, and more and more teen girls staging in school gladiator fights to show who is the ‘baddest chick on the hall’.
This next section is not for the faint at heart.
RACISM ABOUNDS AMONG WHITE FEMINISTS:
Not to shock anyone, but the ‘first’ generation of young women after modern feminism have not experienced the ‘liberation’ that their older female counterparts proclaimed. Young Black and Hispanic women are not seen as ‘equals’ by their white female counterparts. There are more and more young women of color heading to juvenile hall, jail and prison, and fewer and fewer programs developed by women to reach them! Of course, there are dozens of programs being compiled and run by women AND men for wayward boys, complete with grants and equipment. Thus young women are not only angry; they have taken to the very behaviors that feminists ‘claimed’ not to like in men and boys ‘just‘ to get some overdue attention from their mothers or other older women in positions of authority. Amidst the anger is some ‘street wisdom’. The DLS (dirty little secret) is that teen females KNOW that the courts won’t hold them as accountable as their male counterparts. All they have to do upon arriving in court is dress nice, mention their self-esteem issues and the press and public seem to ‘wish away’ the fact that one girl ‘shanked’ another girl for talking to ‘her 15 year old man’ in the hallway of the local middle school.
Let’s be honest here. The chief reason WHY we have girls in gangs RESTS with the women in their lives, and the lack of spiritual training. In my home city, girl bangers arrived in several CARLOADS, with OLDER females--INCLUDING mothers and aunts--to ‘settle’ a score, and ‘handle some business’ with one or two local teen girls from school. During the early fall of 2007, a few girls showed up on the doorstep of two female rivals. Their brother and mother tried to stop a fight. Shots were fired by the visiting teen female terrors. The brother died at the scene, and the mother--who was pregnant--was hospitalized, in serious condition.
A MATTER OF ORDER:
As a pastor myself, I know how easy it is for society to point the finger of blame at the church. Frankly, the modern church HAS been guilty of being more interested in pizza parties and bringing kids and teens to Sunday Schools, rather than encouraging their parent or parents in becoming Christians, and having THEM bring their OWN children to church. Today’s churches KNOW they need a better dynamic. When I talk with fellow pastors and find out what they are NOT doing to strengthen the homes in their communities, it sickens me.
The TRUE source of spiritual training DOES rest with the HOME! Marriage was the first institution ordained by God, followed by the family. The New Testament maintains that parents/guardians have the primary responsibility in training family members as to their spiritual and moral duties. AFTER that, older men of the church are to be training younger men, and older women training younger women.
When a girl can jack a car, break down a ‘nine’ or roll a joint better than she can cook, clean, and work on her lessons, there is a problem at HOME. Any solution in breaking teen girls out of their gang mentality RESTS with encouragement and teaching to rebuild the authority of the home. Whosoever wins the White House--or Congress--will never have as much impact upon children than parents.
My closing words this month are aimed at older women in the home, church, and corporate America. Shame on you for abandoning your younger sisters in pursuit of your own ambitions, thrills and chills.
Twenty years ago, you were quick to ‘tell’ men what they weren’t doing when they were trying to get teen boys to pulling their pants and attitudes up. Ten years ago, some of you picked up the mantra: “Well, I don’t NEED a Man”…but you had help getting pregnant by someone. Presently, we now are seeing young women--some of them your daughters--partially angry at you for not having enough time to spend with them.
This is not my message, but the message some of your younger female counterparts have been spilling across my--and other desktops--while they have been on probation, or, parole. The real struggle over the next decade will be re-training young women to be MORE than gang members. There is no sin in learning to cook, clean and sew or getting married before having children. These are the traits of home builders.
One of the worst messages a mother can get from her daughter is the following: “If only my mother…” in the midst of a court hearing on a major criminal charge.
See you next month
MIKE RAMEY is a Street Gang Specialist, consultant, trainer and Lead Instructor of THE GANG LINE, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. If you have questions, comments, or would like to have him speak at your school, church or facility; OR train your group, ministry or agency on how to spot/stop gang activity, email RameysGangLine@yahoo.com ©2008 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International.
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