14 August, 2011


Insight of the weekend

The Today programme yestermorning had an item on the "feminization" of schools as a contributing factor to the poor academic performance of White underclass and African-Caribbean boys. The investigative journalist Harriet Sergeant was interviewed along with some chap whose status and affiliation I didn't pick up. The latter might as well have been a piece of AI software generating random sentences culled from NUJ documents; he emitted random comforting and well-meaning soundbites that bore only accidental relevance to the topic at hand.

Sergeant was rather more interesting. She spoke of her time researching and sitting in in schools and of forming long term friendly relationships with gangs of youths as part of her research. Of the latter she said (from memory and may not be verbatim),

A lot of the boys in my gang are in prison. They love prison; it's the first time they've been around adult males.

Update (14:50)

Sergeant in the Speccie

I heard that and your memory is correct.

Your update was well worth reading.
I knew such a gang some twenty or more years ago though they were a mix of black and white.
They stole morning noon and night, for entertainment they would hang around outside a nighclub and follow a lone clubber going home to give a him a good kicking.

Unlike the current crop they made sure that they could read and write and do sums before getting expelled from school a.s.a.p.. Also unlike todays kids they would not have smashed up their town centre, they were 'proud' of it; they woud have gone somewhere else and smashed that up.

But behind all that they were actually nice people, (as a neighbour I was exempt from their antics).
All they wanted was the possibilty of a secure roof over their heads, a job and a girlfriend. Instead all they had was each other as they awaited their turn to go to HMYOI as they duly did. They just wanted to do as much crime as possible before it happened since it would not make the slightest difference to their eventual sentences. (They all got 3 years and did 18 months).

I kept in touch with one for a while; he emerged from HMYOI; got himself a job, wait for it, as a secuity guard for NEXT! Apart from one slippage over a drug dealer and a knife he became an entirely new person having worked ever since and now has his home, his long term girlfriend and his own (old) BMW, not someone elses.

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