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Living In Harlem and Facing Peer Pressure

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Samba Tague 9/20/04 Eng Comp. 101 Mr. Stewart Living In Harlem and Facing Peer Pressure Bang! Bang! Gunshots rip through my street in Harlem. Bewildered and shocked, I jumped up from my comfortable chair and looked out my window. Another day, another night that somebody from the street corner at 137th starts shooting. Maybe it was drug or gang related. Regardless, I have lived for over ten years on this block, which is infested with gangs, drug dealing and violence. Not a day goes by that I don't hear or witness an incident relating to crime. Most of my peers have decided that they should live this lifestyle of crime: to make fast money by selling drugs or robbing people. They also believe that school is a waste of time. I went to Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics in Harlem, and I have seen a lot of good students transform into bad students by peer pressure. What should I do about it? ...read more.


When I asked him why he did it, Jamie replied, "Everyone else was doing it, and it appeared cool." My response to his statement was if everyone jumped out the window would he do it? Now this is a common question that adults often ask. But at that moment I felt I had the right to ask it because I had been in a situation myself where I had to choose not to follow the crowd. I told Jamie of a particular moment in which I had to make the right decision. When I was fourteen, some teenagers from the Lincoln Projects came looking for "beef" -trouble- in the buildings I lived, Riverton Apartments. These teenagers would single out people like a lion would single out their prey and then jump them knowing that the victim was helpless, and could not fight back. One of my friends was a target. They came into the park like hoodlums; some had black, blue and purple hats. ...read more.


Even though everyone thought I was a coward, I believed that I made the right decision in being neutral, rather than ending up hurt or in jail. I came to find out later that Tom was claiming LNW, a gang that is a subset of the infamous Bloods that was emerging in Harlem. The majority of people from Lincoln Projects are Crips (the rival gang of the Bloods), and it was these Crips that came to pick a bone with Tom. After sharing my story with Jamie, he understood what I meant about making moral decisions ever under peer pressure. Because of my participation in the mentoring program, I was able to stop Jamie from becoming one of the guys on the street corner. In addition finding my purpose in the program, it also stopped me from such a fate. As of now, Tom no longer tries to be a gangster, he currently goes to a community college in Brooklyn and he still lives in Riverton. Unfortunately he broke his leg playing basketball recently, but at least he did not break his leg by "gang banging". ...read more.

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