Alcohol, Violence, Discrimination

Alcohol, Violence, Discrimination

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John Singleton’s film, Boyz N the Hood, displays the challenging upbringing of adolescents who have to live with harsh conditions around not only their home but also their surrounding town. The film compares the differences between the lifestyles of Tre Styles and his friends’, Darren and Ricky Baker. Darren and Ricky are half-brothers who are nothing alike. Singleton demonstrates the importance of male leadership in a home in the ghetto of Los Angeles by comparing the difference between the lifestyles of Tre and his friends. While many adolescents in the hood have close friendships, some form close relationships by assembling gangs and create a world of violence due to alcohol abuse, which together ultimately breeds discrimination.
The impoverished conditions in which the residents of this community live are difficult based on the surrounding violence and discrimination they face. Tre, Ricky’s best friend, is able to survive the surrounding violence and discrimination through his father’s sensational leadership; he therefore knows what to do in situations he faces among his friends. However, his friends are not so lucky. For example, Dough doesn’t have great leadership or a father figure, but is raised by a single mother who is determined to get her children to succeed; nevertheless, her main focus is Ricky because he has the most potential; he is an athlete who has trouble in school, but obtains All-American in football, looking to get a scholarship to USC. The mother’s lack of leadership over Dough’s struggle is what allows him to head in a negative direction. Dough chooses the route that forces him to succumb to alcohol and violence, but to his defense he maintains pride and honor.
The alcohol being sold at most street corners doesn’t help Dough’s situation, as Furious demonstrates to the adolescents in one scene as he speaks to an old man.
He says, “Why is it that there is a gun shop on almost every corner in this community?”

The old man replies, “Why?” Furious continues, “I’ll tell you why. For the same reason that there is a liquor store on almost every corner in the black community. Why? They want us to kill ourselves.” Furious thus declares that it is the corruption of the outside world that brings down this neighborhood; this separates those who live in the hood from those who live in Caucasian-dominant areas.
As Furious describes, the viewer sees Dough, among most, a product of the corruption of alcohol and guns where he lives.

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It is the alcohol that triggers the area of the brain that alters emotional control that causes Dough’s state of mind to swing him in the wrong direction, violence. He, among his gang members, has such emotional swings that get him into murdering other adolescents in the hood. He, among most in the hood, has an eye-for-an-eye mentality that triggers his emotions toward killing others in the hood to get even.
Those in the hood get the stereotype of gangsters due to their actions similar to those of Dough. This stereotype not only gets offenders into trouble but also those like Tre and Ricky who don’t commit violent crimes. For example, Ricky and Tre drive away from the party on the street, and two corrupt black and white policemen pull them over. The black policeman, Officer Coffey, has both Ricky and Tre step outside of the car, and proceeds to interrogate Tre. Tre quickly pleads, “I didn’t do nothin’!” Officer Coffey retorts, “You think you tough?” He then pulls out his gun, points it at Ricky’s face, and sternly says:
“Scared now, ain't you? I like that. That's why I took this job. I hate little motherfuckers like you… Look like one of them Crenshaw mafia motherfuckers.”
This unnecessary action scares the daylights out of Tre as he is forced up against his car crying and shaking his head with no power to say a word. It is the discrimination from inside the community like this that, while arguably helps reduce violence, causes the stereotype of blacks being the number one target of enforcement.
There are some who still struggle to succeed, but do not result to alcohol or violence; these few prosper, but often still have to deal with discrimination and violence in the hood. Take, for instance, Ricky; he struggles academically, but does not result to alcohol, or violence to cope with the cards he is dealt. His approach to succeed is through hard work and determination on the athletic field. While he may not be blessed with intelligence academically, he has both intelligence and skillful ability on the athletic field that leads him to be an All-American. He is therefore given a better chance than his half-brother, and is recruited to have another chance in college to do something with his life.
However, since Dough takes the path of violence to deal with hard times in the hood, there is that chance that Ricky has to take when hanging out with him. For example, Dough sticks up for his brother when an opposing gang member passes by and purposefully bumps into the outcaste All-American athlete at a party on the street. That gang member then sees Ricky staring him down and says, “Fuck you lookin’ at, nigga?” Ricky makes the mistake of being a tough guy and says, “I’m still trying to find out,” then shouts, “Nigga” to end his rebuttal. Dough backs him up by getting out of his car to show the gang that he has a gun tucked into his pants and says, “We got a problem?” While the gang goes to their car at this point, they don’t forget about the situation any time soon. Doughboy continues to look out for Ricky when he sees the gang drive by his home while he is sitting outside with his gang. He calls out to the car asking what they want, arms up in the air, saying that he is right here so as to provoke trouble. It is this type of mentality that causes violence in the hood, and ultimately gets Ricky into serious matters that he does not see coming.
Both the challenge Dough presents to the gang with the gun, and the back talking that Ricky does provokes the other gang to respond in serious measures. Ricky and Tre walk back from a convenience store and are confronted by the gangs’ car. They cut through some houses to get away and split up. Dough’s street knowledge enables him to know that this is happening and he comes to help, though it is too late. When he arrives at the scene his half-brother is dead. Dough’s street knowledge is helpful, but the necessity of street knowledge should not be the way of life anywhere. It gets Ricky, the All-American who almost makes it out of the hood, into a horrendous situation that he can’t do anything about, and this leads to his fate.
Singleton accurately represents life in a ghetto with his storyline and depiction of the struggle residents undergo to survive. The film displays the setting of struggling adolescents who choose two different ways to go about their situation: either work through the struggle by focusing on education and or talent, as in Ricky’s case, or get into serious trouble, as in Dough’s case. The goal of determined parents in the hood is to motivate their children to succeed enough to get into college so that they can escape the hood one day. Singleton demonstrates the struggle of these parents, as the corruption of alcohol and violence in the hood gets the best of their children a great deal of the time.

Works Cited
“Boyz n the Hood.” IMDB 2008 01 Apr 2008 .
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