Gang Leader for a Day

2304 words 10 pages
Innovate Your Life In the book, Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh, a sociology student from the University of Chicago starts out simply trying to understand “how it feels to be poor and black,” and ends up spending years and years figuring out the ins and outs of a gang society (Venkatesh 14). Sudhir receives the chance of a sociologist’s lifetime to see first-hand what life is like in the projects. He follows gang leader, J.T. around and studies his life at the Robert Taylor homes for years. Throughout Venkatesh’s experience he witnesses many things some people go a lifetime without seeing. For example, he was no stranger to seeing people use drugs or get beat up by gang members. One interesting aspect of Venkatesh’s experiment …show more content…

Gang Leader for a day shows a fascinating connection of the gang world and what people would consider ‘normal society’. J.T.’s a successful gang leader which besides all the drugs and illegal doings of that gang, he seems more like a successful CEO of a business. He moves up a ladder of the drug business just like a regular business man has the opportunity to do. He makes most of his money through sales just like a regular company would. He provides protection to the tenants of his building as a service which for the most part they pay him for, much like how regular services are ran. So maybe J.T. doesn’t have the regular 9 to 5 job or the nice comfortable home but in his business world he is considered successful. That sounds like an innovator to me. When Venkatesh begins his study on the Chicago projects, he plans to use surveys. He starts off going into the poor community and tries to ask people questions. As Sudhir finds out later on, the people of these communities weren’t so welcoming to new faces. On his first attempt to ask his survey questions, he was stopped and questioned by people in the building. These people did not want to allow him in and assumed he was from a rival gang. His first shot at actually asking the question “how does it feel to be young and black?” he gets laughed at. Then he asks J.T. the questions and J.T. tells him that he won’t learn


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