Knife crime is on the rise in MK – a fact we can’t ignore. In Celebrate:MK’s bid to educate youths that gang life is not the way forward, local anti-knife crime campaigner, UK garage music MC and poet Champagne Bubblee (real name Quinton Green) uses his latest column to explain the link between human nature and why people join gangs.
Since becoming a columnist at Celebrate:MK, I’ve often been asked by concerned members of our community why so many youngsters are now joining gangs.
Although there is not one specific answer to this question, what we do know is that it’s human nature to form affiliation with other groups.
Whether it is gangs, sports clubs, school friends, work colleagues or like-minded people that engage in preferred hobbies and activities. The groups that we associate with form a major part of our individual identity.
Ask yourself what groups you exist within and how they make you feel as a person.
Do they help boost your social status and your selfesteem? Do they provide you with a feeling of belonging and a sense of security?
Now imagine that you were marginalised from some of those groups. How would that make you feel? Would you feel isolated and seek to join other groups who seem more welcoming? Would you gravitate towards groups that gave the impression that they were popular and respected?
Now you can begin to build a picture of some of the choices that youngsters are often pressured to make because of factors that affect their social status, such as exclusion from school, family breakdowns, socio economic circumstances and social media influences.
We exist because of the multiple groups we are a part of and associate with. One of the first groups we exist within, is our family. The people we grew up with in the family home help to construct who we are.
During our formative years, we begin to categorise ourselves and decide what group we belong to as an individual. Once we have identified the group we belong to, we determine how compatible we are with that group.
Often an individual will conduct themselves according to the “norms” of a group and do what they can do to “fit in”. Being part of a group helps us develop an emotional significance that we depend on, as it increases our feeling of self-worth.
Because of this newly found significance we will develop a strong sense of loyalty to our group and often discriminate against others.
This is known as intergroup conflict and is the reason why we may dislike rival fans at a football match, develop prejudice, discriminate against others and yes you guessed it… defend postcodes!
What type of group do you think fills the void for those marginalised from the realms of social acceptance? Who’s at the school gates with open arms when our children are deemed to be Going Against Normality’s Grain?
Follow Quinton on Instagram @champagne_bubbler and @whoismrmilise, and follow Knife Crime Victim Support on Facebook. Email him on firstname.lastname@example.org