What Do You Think?: Boys Projecting an Image
Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 5:54PM
Lynda Rae in clothing, dress, friends, gangs, image, role models

What do you think about this scenario?

Javier just turned 12 and is going to junior high next year. He wants to fit in with the older boys and start at his new school with a cool image.  His older brother who is in 11th grade always wears big white shirts over saggy jeans or long khaki shorts so that he looks kind of like a gangster, even though he is not affiliated with any gangs. Javier doesn’t think about gangs he just wants to look older and get more respect like his brother so he decides to start dressing like him.  He also starts emulating his brother’s attitude of being too cool for school and not showing much emotion. Ever since he started making these changes he finds himself getting in trouble more in school, and today his teacher sent him to the office for fighting even though the other kid was the one starting it and Javier didn’t do anything.

Questions For Discussion:

1. Why do you think his teacher assumed he started the fight?  Have you ever had someone misjudge you based on your appearance?

2. What other negative consequences might Javier face if he continues to dress and act in this way?  (consider law enforcement, actual gang members, employment opportunities etc) What positive consequences might he encounter, if any?

3. Why do you think dressing like gangsters is so popular?   

4. How do you think Javier’s parents feel about his change in dress and demeanor?

5. Do you think it is worth it to change the way you look and act just to seem older?  Especially if you encounter negative stereotypes because of it?

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Article originally appeared on Fighting Back Mentor Program Resource Center (http://mentor-center.org/).
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