Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Where is "Gangster Culture" from?

Daimnation praises the Grope & Flail for this line:
"a gangster culture transplanted in part from Jamaica is sinking its roots into Toronto, and will not soon let go"
So until Jamaicans showed up, there wasn't a "gangster culture" around here? That must have come as quite a surprise to the Irish, Italian, Russian, and Chinese mobs to name but a few. Now those nice people at the Globe will tell you that of course they know about all the other crime gangs and the like - they watched The Untouchables just like the rest of us.

They will tell you that, but they are being disingenuous by doing so. The Jamaica line lingers there with a certain implication. Sure the Globe would never say it outright, but it's happy to leave the implication there that something about Jamaicans makes them a particular threat.

The fact is that "gangster culture" thrives in any immigrant group that is not well integrated into mainstream society. Any group where the prospects for good-paying legitimate work are minuscule and where relationships with the state (police et cetera) are uneasy will spawn organized crime. The history of organized crime is the history of marginalized immigrant groups in North America. The Italian mafia here has faded (despite remaining a force in southern Italy) mainly because Italians have become integral to the fabric of North America - like the Irish before them. That fading out is part of the pattern of organized crime.

There is little to suggest that "gangster culture" has somehow emerged anew from Jamaica. Rather because too many Caribbean immigrants are forced to eke out a living on the margins of Toronto, organized crime becomes a perfectly predictable choice. Don't bullshit us with soft racism, Globe & Mail.

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