Thursday, 24 May 2007

A gang by any other name

According to the OED:

gang n, a band of persons acting or going about together, esp. for criminal purposes.

According to the Telegraph yesterday, government youth workers say that the term "gang", used to describe groups of young people hanging around outside, whatever their activities, is "not appropriate" as it is used indiscriminately and - get this - is both a distasteful and sort after label for young people.


I'm 21, long out of touch with youff culture but what's wrong with calling assemblies of people, congregating together for social and/or criminal reasons, a "gang"? Ok, we could use band, clique, crew or any manner of synonyms but why? So we can pander to these silly officials? A gang's a gang! It's a descriptive term, not a derogatory one.

The idea that the word - in referance to violent, organised criminal gangs - has such a psychological pull on young people, does not wash with me I'm afraid.

When I was younger adults called me and my group of girl friends a gang - on hearing this we resisted the urge to go out and start fights or steal lunch money.

I realise the issue is a serious one about the relationship between youth culture, social development and crime but what is new terminology going to achieve?

In the following article, the Telegraph reported on the light sentance recieved by a bunch of Norwich men who attacked two immigrants.

The first paragraph read: "A High Court judge's decision not to send a gang of drunken men to prison for beating two migrant workers has so appalled police that they are pressing for an appeal of the sentence".

Er, help....I'm a bit shady on what is meant by gang....(see above)

Right, on to Tory education policy, or lack of it....

The Conservatives have been enduring their "grammargate" recently and calls have been made for the party to outline a clear manifesto for education and schools. Along with promoting charter schools, David Cameron does advocate more ability streaming in the classroom and promises, "zero tolerance" towards bad behaviour.

Are the Tories nicking Labour soundbites to help get their message across or because they have no message?

No comments: