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Gang Tolerance

Tolerating poor behaviour can have some harmful effects. An individual exhibiting traditional non-condoned behavior, which is being tolerated by any group or person, might interpret the tolerance being offered as permission to continue with the undesirable behaviour. If the group or individual refuses to explain to the individual that their behaviour is unacceptable, then that group or individual tolerating the behaviour becomes complicit in allowing the negative behaviour carry on.

Tolerance can be influenced by awareness context, the total combination of what each involved party in a situation knows about the identity of the other and his/her own identity in the eyes of others. Even in close-knit relationships, such as in families, members are not fully aware of others identities outside the family relationships (Glaser, 1964). As Carl Jung’s persona theory suggest, individuals present an inflated version of themselves to the people they want to impress, the individual presents a desirable image that they believe would influence the persons they are dealing with. The same individuals, suppresses primitive urges, impulses and emotions they experience in order to impress the person they are looking to effect (Stead, 2019). A good illustration of this occurrence happens when a youth involved in street gang activity often don’t inform their parents about their gang affiliation because of the immoral activities associated with it. As a result, the unethical behaviours are hidden away from the youth’s parents and the youth’s parent remain oblivious to such activities.

A member of a street gang can belong to a myriad of social networks within the community they reside, that may include, family, school, church, and or recreational clubs. These social networks can both inadvertently or intentionally create attitudes of tolerance in the community towards the nefarious activities of violent street gang. The tolerance exists at varying grades within the community, and can be categorized as negative or positive tolerance. Negative tolerance can be defined as accepting or continuing to accept an unpleasant situation or experience through a lack of awareness or via a limited contact between and a person and others. Positive tolerance involves the ability to maintain a relationship with another and be openly aware, with at least a mild appreciation of their personal or behavioural differences (Lofland, 1983).

Gang members that choose to sell illegal narcotics on their turf, often conceal their transactions in order to avoid detection from the police. Additionally, dealers also conducted their illegal transactions in a stealthy manner, so that members of the public won’t notify the authorities of their illegal actions. When gang members are able to successfully conceal their illegal behaviour, they create an atmosphere where community members lack of awareness of their despicable actions.

Refraining from calling the police on a young gang member that is openly dealing drugs because he/she is using the money they earning to support the family demonstrates a positive tolerance towards that illegal behaviour. Although the gang member’s motive of providing financial gain to their family is well intended, the actual deed of dealing drugs is harmful to the community as a whole.

When community members begin to accept various behaviours indicative of a street gangs, such as drug dealing or the carrying of illegal firearms, whether it’s through positive or negative tolerance, this behaviour can offer the street gang and its members with an ideal area to set up their operations. This tolerance to the street gang’s unsavory activity is interpreted by the gang as a form of acceptance and permission to conduct deviant behaviour. Such tolerance by communities can lead to the introduction of various deviant behaviours that are symbolic of street gang operations such as gun and gang violence, drug trafficking, robberies, human trafficking, sexual violence and sexual harassment.

Glaser, B. a. (1964). Awareness context and marginality: adult delinquency gangs in a Chicano community. American Sociolical Review, pp. 667-79.

Lofland, L. (1983). Urban Relationships and People.

Stead, H. J. (2019, October 2). Medium. Retrieved from Personal Growth:

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