Analysis of Gang Leader for a Day

Categories: Gang Leader for a Day

In Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh, The story of a naive graduate student And an intense research of more than a decade, working with gangs and researching the members of an urban community in the projects of Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, led him to get familiarized with the community. The author’s main goal was to map out how the underground economy in the projects worked. In today’s society little things have changed, starting from the fact that gangs have increased, and the poverty of the country itself has decreased, In this book its relevant to say that that poverty has brought about the many struggles that communities face to survive in a world where a lot is promised but not given.

Central to that economy is the utter failure of official institutions to support a humane life. I believe there is a strong need for these communities to have a head superior to which they can turn to for help.

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For example, in Gang Leader for a Day we had role models that the members of Robert Taylor looked up to like Ms. Bailey or even the street gang member J.T. Who of course weren’t the official Chicago police, but were the only thing the neighborhood had to defend themselves from criminals and such other damages. It is strictly important for urban neighborhoods were gangs are rising to have protection, Not because we know these are poor neighborhoods and their usual stereotypes, but because there is a immense need for order, and people need to feel that they are safe.

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It is hard for an outsider to know what is like to live in a neighborhood where nothing is given. J.T once said “with people like us, you should hang out, get to know what we do, how we do it, you need to understand how young people live on the streets”(P.21). Therefore meaning, that you can’t form ideas about how the ghetto is without living there, or being around the area. Now I have to tell you, the gangs portrayed in this book are NOT like the gangs we have nowadays in our neighborhoods. The gangs we see here don’t have that same community base idea. You might ask how so? Well, gangs now have more selfish bonds that unite them to other gang members which is either money, women or fancy cars. You can rarely find the affection between them because there is more killing and selling drugs then helping their community. On a daily bases all is portrayed are fights ,gun shooting and innocent lives in danger. No one gives away anything , no one helps one another, because no one Trust anyone, unlike Ms. Mae who emphasizes “We live in a “community “Not the “projects”, we share our food, like I’m doing with you, But when you’re here, you’re in my home and my community. And we’ll take care of you (P.43).

After reading Gang Leader for a Day I have grown to be more sympathetic, and have gained a more diverse knowledge as to what America’s urban poor goes through every day, and what is made of. In these case scenarios you are being thought since you are an adolescent that in order to persevere you have to struggle to get somewhere in life, and I believe this is what these young kids in these communities see and think every day. It may not be the best way to solve problems being in a gang, but to them gangs not only bring money, but more importantly it unites them as “family”, which gives them more than enough reasons to help each other. But for these communities where kids young adults and adults live ,what’s important is what J.T quoted once “man, as long as I’m not behind bars and breathing, every day is a good day”(P.282).

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Analysis of Gang Leader for a Day. (2022, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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