Sudhir Venkatesh

  • Aired:  03/13/08
  •  | Views: 71,825

Sudhir Venkatesh lived in the projects of Chicago to find out how street gangs operate. (5:24)

>> Stephen: MY GUEST TONIGHT HASWRITTEN A BOOK CALLED GANGLEADER

FOR A DAY.

I'M GOING TO FLASH HIM MYGANG COLORS.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE.

PLEASE WELCOME SUDHIRVENKATESH.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

JOINING US.

>> WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU WERE TRAINEDAS A SOCIOLOGISTING CORRECT.

>> THAT'S CORRECT.

>> Stephen: YOU WENT IN YOUROWN WORDS ROGUE.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. >> Stephen: OK FOR SIXYEARS, YOU LIVED IN THE

ROBERT TAYLOR PROJECTS.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: IN CHICAGO.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: AND DOCUMENTEDIN YOUR BOOK, GANG LEADER

FOR A DAY, A ROGUESOCIOLOGIST TAKES TO THE

STREETS.

WHAT WERE YOU TRYING TO DO.

>> I GREW UP IN THE SUBURBS.

I WANTED TO SEE SOMETHINGCOMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

AND I WANTED TO KNOW HOW THEPOOR PEOPLE REALLY LIVE.

BECAUSE THEY WOULDN'T ANSWERMY QUESTIONS.

SO I HAD TO MOVE IN.

>> Stephen: POOR PEOPLEWOULDN'T ANSWER YOUR

QUESTIONS.

DID YOU TRY OFFERING THEMMONEY BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND

THAT'S SOMETHING THAT POORPEOPLE NEED A LOT OF.

>> I TRIED -- I DIDN'T GIVETHEM ENOUGH.

AND I GAVE THEM BADQUESTIONS LIKE HOW DOES IT

FEEL TO BE BLACK AND POOR.

>> Stephen: OH, REALLY.

>> YEAH.

BUT.

>> Stephen: THEY WERE TOO INIT TO REALLY GET A SENSE OF

IT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

I GAVE THEM CHOICES, I SAIDVERY BAD, BAD, GOOD, YOU

KNOW.

>> Stephen: SERIOUSLY.

>> SERIOUSLY.

>> Stephen: YOU GAVE THEMMULTIPLE CHOICE.

SO THEY COULDN'T HANDLE AMULTIPLE CHOICE ON HOW THEY

FELT.

>> WELL, THAT IS WHATSOCIOLOGIST DOES.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: HOW ABOUT ONE OFTHOSE METERS THEY USE TO

RATE CANDIDATES.

WHY DON'T YOU PLAY SCENESFROM THEIR OWN LIFE AND HAVE

THEM TURN THE DIAL, SEE HOWTHEY FEEL ABOUT IT.

>> I HAVE GOTTEN BETTER NOW.

MAYBE I WILL USE ONE OFTHOSE.

>> Stephen: YOUR IDEA WAS TOIMMERSE YOURSELF LIKE YOU

WERE GOING INTO SOME FOREIGNCULTURE.

>> ABOUT TWO MILES AWAY,YEAH.

FROM WHERE I WAS.

>> Stephen: YOU WERE INCHICAGO.

>> IN CHICAGO AT THEUNIVERSITY.

AND I WENT ABOUT TWO MILESAWAY.

AND I DECIDED, I GOT TO STAYON PEOPLE'S COUCHES.

I HAVE TO EAT WITH THEM ANDREALLY GOT TO KNOW WHAT IT

LIKE.

BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TELLINGJOURNALISTS THE STORY.

THEY ARE TO THE GOING TOTALK TO THE COPS.

SO I WENT IN AND FORCED THEMTO TALK TO ME.

>> Stephen: DID ANYBODY SAY,YOU GOT TO GET OFF MY COUCH,

MAN.

I GOT A GIRL COMING OVER.

OR -- CAN YOU BELIEVE SUDHIRWILL NOT LEAVE.

>> WELL, THAT'S WHEN I WENTFOR THE QUESTIONS.

AND THEN --.

>> Stephen: OKAY, ALL RIGHT.

SO WHAT DID YOU LEARNINGABOUT THERE THAT YOU

COULDN'T LEARN FROM THEQUESTIONNAIRE.

>> SO WE'RE TALKING ABOUTPEOPLE WHO LIVE OFF MAYBE

$10,000 A YEAR, WHICH IS NOTA LOT OF MONEY.

>> Stephen: I THOUGHT YOUSAID THESE ARE GANG MEMBERS.

I THOUGHT GANG PEOPLE,GANGBANGERS, SO-CALLED

GANGBANGERS.

>> THEY ARE GANG --.

>> Stephen: AND WHAT GANGWERE YOU WITH.

>> I WAS WITH THE BLACKKINGS.

>> Stephen: THOSE ARE GOODONES VERY WELL RUN, I

UNDERSTAND.

>> WELL RUN.

LIKE McDONALD'S, THEY SAY.

THEY HAVE SHIFTS AND PEOPLEWORK IN TEAMS.

AND THEY HAVE A LEADER.

AND HE MAKES ALL THE MONEY.

AND ALL THESE GUYS AREWORKING FOR MINIMUM WAGE BUT

THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ARERISKING THEIR LIFE EVERY

DAY.

>> Stephen: DO THEY HAVE TOWEAR HAIR NETS.

IS IT REALLY RUN IN ACORPORATE FASHION, THE GANGS

THAT YOU WERE WITH.

>> THEY MODEL THEMSELVESAFTER A CORPORATION.

AND THE CITY HAS A BUNCH OFDIFFERENT FRANCHISES.

AND THEY ALL COME UP TO ABOARD OF DIRECTORS RIGHT ON

THE TOP.

>> Stephen: SO IT IS AFRANCHISE.

I WONDERED WHY EVERY TOWNHAS A CRIPS AND A BLOODS.

>> IT HAS A LITTLE TO DOWITH POVERTY.

AND THE FACT THAT THEY DON'THAVE OTHER ECONOMIC OPORTUNITIES

BUT NOT LIKE McDONALD'S.

BUT YES, WELL, NOT EVERYDOWN BUT MAYBE EVERY TOWN

HAS SOME SORT OF GANG THATIS FIGHTING EACH OTHER,

THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: SO NOW INSTEADOF GANG LEADER FOR A DAY,

DID YOU ACTUALLY LEAD THEGANG FOR A DAY.

>> I WASN'T ACTUALLY THELEADER BUT I GOT TO WALK

NEXT TO THE LEADER AND FINDOUT HOW DO YOU GET 200 GUYS

TO RISK THEIR LIVES EVERYDAY IN THIS REALLY POOR

PLACE FOR MINIMUM WAGE WHATKIND OF LEADER DO YOU HAVE

TO BE.

>> Stephen: I WOULD LOVE TOKNOW, BECAUSE --

>> A PRETTY GOOD ONE.

YOU HAVE TO BE -- YOU HAVETO BE WILLING TO USE

VIOLENCE, RIGHT AWAY.

SO IF TWO PEOPLE ARE LYINGTO YOU, ONE OF THEM STOLE

MONEY, YOU HAVE TO FIGUREOUT WHO AND YOU CAN'T, YOU

KNOW, HAVE THEM RUN LAPS.

YOU HAVE TO BEAT THE CRAPOUT OF THEM.

>> Stephen: DID YOU USEVIOLENCE.

>> I TRIED TO DELEGATE.

>> Stephen: YOU DELEGATEDTHE VIOLENCE.

>> I TRIED.

>> Stephen: A LOT OF LEADERSDO THAT.

>> YES, SOME OF THE BESTONES, YEAH.

I COULDN'T BEAT ANYONE UP.

SO I TRIED TO YOU KNOW SAYI'M THE LEADER.

YOU BEAT HIM UP.

THEY SAID NO, YOU ARE THELEADER, TO GET RESPECT YOU

HAVE TO BEAT THEM YOU HAVEUP YOURSELF.

I WOULDN'T DO IT, THOUGH.

I'M A PACIFIST.

>> Stephen: BUT DID THE GUYEVENTUALLY GET BEATEN UP.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: AT ANY POINT DIDYOU SAY TO YOURSELF MAYBE I

SHOULD TOP THIS GUY FROMBEING BEATEN UP.

DID YOU CALL THE POLICE.

>> RIGHT WHEN I GOT THERETHE FIRST FEW MONTHS I SAID

TO THE POLICE, LOOK AT THIS,YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.

>> Stephen: WHY DIDN'T THEY.

>> THEY SAID WE CAN'T.

THEY SAID IT IS TOODANGEROUS FOR THE POLICE.

THIS COMMUNITY IS TOODANGEROUS.

SO IF THE POLICE CAN'T DOANYTHING, THAN HOW ARE THE

RESIDENTS GOING TO DOANYTHING.

THEY SORT OF HAVE TO LIVEWITH THE STREET GANG.

>> Stephen: WOW!.

DID YOU -- DID YOU AT ANYPOINT POP A CAP IN ANY ONE'S

ASS?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)BECAUSE THAT WOULD SELL SOME

BOOKS.

>> THAT WOULD SELL SOMEBOOKS.

I'M FROM IRVINE, CALIFORNIA.

ALL I DID WAS POP SODA CAPS.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU SOMUCH FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU, APPRECIATE IT.

>> Stephen: SUDHIR VENKATESH.THE BOOK IS GANG LEADER FOR ADAY.

Loading...