The Exodus?Inner city streets have been overtaken by crime and violence perpetuated by street gangs. The mortality rate of young inner city children has risen drastically. In efforts to escape the madness of the streets, many families have migrated to the suburbs. While the sales brochure for the suburbs presents an escape from the crime and violence of the inner city, what is truly found once the final box has been unpacked and the family has settled in?In “A Brother’s Murder” the author, Brent Staples, makes his voyage from the harden streets of Chester, Pennsylvania. Chester, Pennsylvania was, as Staples states, “an angry, heavily black, heavily poor, industrial city”.
It was on these streets Staples was “introduced to mortality, not by the old and failing, but by beautiful young men who lay wrecked after sudden explosions of violence.” The young men of Chester, Pennsylvania were dying senselessly. The offenses that could warrant death were countless and insignificant, simply “stepping on the wrong toes…cheating in a drug deal, simply saying “I dare you” to someone holding a gun; crossing territorial lines in a drug dispute” would justify death. The reality of the streets gave Staples the desire to achieve.
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Staples was able to escape the madness of the streets of Chester, Pennsylvania, but after ten years of seeking upward mobility, living “on a quiet tree-lined street where voices raised in anger were scarcely ever heard” one wonders, did Staples really escape the crime and violence of the streets?Seth Mydans, the author of “Not Just the Inner City: Well-to-Do Join Gangs” helps us to answer this question. While inner city youth wear their manhood on their sleeves, desperate to be real men, suburban youth are looking for shock value “and these days becoming a gang member is one way to do it.” Amazingly, while inner city youth see gang involvement as a way of survival, suburban youth “have begun flirting with gangs in a dalliance that can be as innocent as a fashion statement or as deadly as hard-core drug dealing and violence.” Gang membership.