Howard Becker’s labeling theory starts off by identifying the deviant. Once you get caught doing something, you are identified and labeled for it; it can either be formal as labeled under the law or informal as in labeled with in family and friends. For example, I had two very good friends in high school, Serafin and Brian. They were best buds and always did everything together. Like many teenagers in high school they started to experiment with drugs. Like every other day they would both go smoke weed and get high in the alley afterschool.
No one ever walked through the alley unless you were doing drugs or something but that day the police were roaming around the block because a robber had broke into someone’s house, Serafin and Brian happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The cops drove through the alley and had seen both of them smoking, their first reaction was to run but where? When there wasn’t anywhere to run, it was a dead end.
So they quickly jumped tried to jump the fence while Brian jumped the fence successfully and got to runaway, Serafin wasn’t so fortunate and ended up getting his pants stuck to the fence.
As soon as Serafin got arrested he was immediately identified and labeled. As for Brian he didn’t get caught and never got labeled even though he was there and performing the same deviant actions as Serafin. Once Serafin had got arrested he had to face and go through the sanctions, the consequences.
It wasn’t the first time he had got caught doing something deviant. Serafin kind of always got away with things at school because he was such an excellent student academically, except this time he didn’t get caught on school grounds and he was facing two months of juvenile hall and six months on house arrest isolated.
Being left isolated, he started to interact with other deviants that committed crimes like his or even worse. Serafin was brain washed and influenced by the wrong people that only lead him to other additional behavior. After those two months in juvy, he was back to school with a different attitude, not caring for his grades and his reputation. He started hanging out with a different crowd and lost contact with all his old friends including Brian. He was mad at Brian for running away without him and because he had left him there on his own when he needed brains help off the fence.
Serafin was jealous that Brian didn’t have to face the consequences like he did. Serafin had been labeled and underestimated for his actions while, Brian was left unidentified committing the same action as he did. Like I said before Serafin was a really smart guy and instead of juvy doing him any good and teaching him a lesson, I think it only did him bad being isolated with other deviants. The news got around quick about his behavior and no one wanted to hire him, nor did colleges wanted to accept him.
Before all the trouble he got into, he managed to get an early acceptance from the university of California, Santa Barbra and a full scholarship to play baseball there. In within three months he had lost every chance and opportunity he ever had to change his life around. The university took away his scholarship and no longer wanted him to attended there, soon after he got kicked out of school and his home. He started to believe in the labels he was called and what that had to say about him.
His self-esteem was never lower, he thought so poorly of himself and so did everyone else. He considered suicide many times before but never went through with it, he thought that nobody would care anyways and nobody would attend to his funeral. Instead he drowned his sorrows in alcohol and very dangerous drugs. He turned to drugs to escape stress and the loneliness. He was homeless and to top it off he was a drug addict at only nineteen, he was so young and he practically threw his whole life away.
I haven’t seen him in a while but I sometimes talk to Brian and catch up with him. He says that he is glad he didn’t get caught that day with Serafin and had the chance to flee because seeing Serafin now scared him about how his future would have been. Serafin spent the night at different friend houses until they got tired him and would kick him out, then he would look for another friends house to crash at. He didn’t have the money to help their friends pay rent or to buy himself some food but always had some money for his weed and drugs.
It didn’t matter if he had the money or not because all his friends smoked and did drugs like he did, usually his friends would smoke him out and supply him with drugs. Serafin bought large amounts of drugs all time and he decided if he sold some of it for more than what he paid for then he could make some profit. He started selling to his friends and people he knew, before he knew it he had started his own little business around town and it was booming. His deviant career had now started as drug dealer, he was very popular around town; he was the guy everyone went to get their drugs from.
He wasn’t making so much money he would of liked to. He started getting his drugs from a supplier for cheap so he could actually make a living out of his profit. Business was going great for him although everything he was doing was illegal and could get him into jail again, stabbed or even killed. His reputation was over and couldn’t get jobs anywhere except for out in the streets making a well amount of money. He is a different guy now, nothing like he was almost two years ago. He had this rough badass image going on, no one messed with him or his business.
The people who supplied him with all those drugs heard about him and his loyalty to the game and thought that Serafin and them would make a pretty good team together selling drugs. Their deviant organization was untouchable, Serafin began to become greedy and wanted more and more money than what he already had. He was on top of his game, he no longer sold the drugs on his own, and he had distributers doing it for him. He had his own empire going on, he reached to the top in all the wrong ways. He was ruling the drug business world and was making bank off of it.
It was a dangerous and very risky job, not only was he selling drugs but he had to get his hands dirty getting people killed and stabbed. He had to play the part in order for people to take him serious. His organization was huge and with that came a lot of responsibility, he had to make sure that he would never get caught and go back to jail. While this was happening to Serafin, Brian was graduating top of his class becoming an attorney I’ll because he ran away that day and never got identified.