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Newest Member: Comikazi (61805)

User Topic: Gangsta vs gang member questions:
♀ 27196
Member # 27196
Default  Posted: 9:16 AM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Maybe those in LE can help me.

What is the difference, if any, between a 'gangsta' and a 'gang member'.

Is a gangsta a 'wannabe' gang member?

Are all 'gangsta's' criminals, selling drugs, hurting people, doing whatever, or can they just be 'pretending' or acting the 'role' of a tough guy gangsta.

Me, BS, 58
Him, WS 61
D-Day June 2009
Watch my movie: "My wayward husband's adventures in STD land":
Episode 1:
Episode 2:

Posts: 7192 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: Coastal South
♂ 40304
Member # 40304
Default  Posted: 1:12 PM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

"Gangsta" is a word used to glorify someone in a gang (or who thinks they want to be.) Thanks to The Untouchables, The Godfather, and movies like that we've attached a mystique to the mafia and to old-timey gangsters like Al Capone. So someone who's involved with criminal activities and who wants to seem cool could call themselves a "Gangsta."

Similar to how some of the violent criminals will call themselves "soldiers" when all they are is thugs or murderers.

(and now I take off my linguist hat. If you'd like the full academic treatment, let me know and I'll talk your ear off about exclusionary language, high- vs low-prestige dialects, and sociolinguistics)

Me - BH 41
Her - FWW 38
D-Day: 8/13

Posts: 363 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Midwest
♀ 28622
Member # 28622
Default  Posted: 1:23 PM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Where I live and work, "gangsta" is a style. The word itself is often used as an adjective: gansta rap, for example. When I hear that word, I think flamboyant and loud.

Gang is a denotation of a formal group with its own "bylaws" and traditions. Most of the gangs in my school would not be called "gangsta." A member of a gang is not a gangsta but rather is referred to by their color or their gang name.

Contrary to what you might expect, the gang members that I have taught were subtle. The always wore their colors, but they were disciplined and polite unless they felt like they had been disrepected or their colors (the beads or bandana or whatever they associated with the gang) had been disrespected. This was often a problem, since staff takes all such items away from students and stores them for the day with cell phones and other personal belongings.

Me: 45, independent, happy, despite parallel parenting with a lower muppet
FT "Stretch" (and Skew!) ;)
DS 15 DS 12
S 5/2010
D 12/2012

Posts: 7052 | Registered: May 2010 | From: a better place
♂ 33642
Member # 33642
Default  Posted: 10:08 PM, December 27th (Friday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Since you can't polish a turd, they are the same thing. One is slang for what they call each other, the other is what's usually written in the offense reports they tend to accumulate.

"It's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart."

Posts: 769 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: Texas
♀ 35810
Member # 35810
Default  Posted: 11:59 PM, December 29th (Sunday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Totally depends on the context...words can mean lots of different things depending on who's saying them, to whom, why, and how much the person saying them actually knows about what they're saying...know what I'm saying? Lol sorry, couldn't resist that last part.

I've worked with people with trauma histories for a long time and feel compelled to say that gang involvement is a very complex situation, usually based on safety. I think because it's somewhat glorified, it's tempting for people to use words like gangsta without really knowing much about what that means.

In my experience,people who are in gangs or who are familiar with them don't refer to themselves or other people as gangsta or gang members. They usually use the name of the gang. As in "he's a GD" or "she's a Latin Queen."

Me: Former BW, 28
Divorced 10/11/12
He didn't show up for the D...very fitting, seeing as he didn't show up for the M, either : )
"What did not demolish me simply polished me, now the clearer I can see" - India Arie

Posts: 388 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Back in the Southeast!
Topic Posts: 5

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