Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
My Blog

If you want an audience, start a fight.

For the last two years I have done research on gangs in America.
For the last nine months, I have been researching race in America.
I am honing in to my life focus, very late. My focus will be gangs and how to deal with the societal trends that produce them.
I am finding wonderful people to work with in my area.
Gangs have been in existence since recorded history. They are a response to two major problems in society: (1) inadequate family caring, and (2) economic trends that repeatedly suck wealth and cash toward a privileged few and away from hard-working people. When people get economically desperate, they stop caring for each other. Then they stop caring for their children. Then the children, especially in early to mid teens, are vulnerable to whoever expresses interest in them -- even if that be pimps and drug sellers and gang leaders.
Economic desperation can occur in the wealthy as well as the poor. The sense of not having what you want to hold on to is what drives desperation. In Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Pirates of Penzance, the Pirate King sings a song in which he comments that in Parliament, all the pirates are well-to-do. The wealthy are just as prone to move in gangs and to steal from others as the poor. It's just that the wealthy can pay to make themselves look good in the eyes of society.
Gangs in any stratum of society usually develop along racial lines.
When the leaders of society play pirate, the piracy spreads. When they play racist, the racism spreads. The battle against these societal trends is never over. As a writer, my focus going forward will be on that complex battle, and my specific focus will be the battleground to keep kids out of gangs.

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