Let me start with a definition: In the world, good and bad are relative terms defined by the prevailing culture. A culture is a collection of rules, norms and customs of any particular group.
For the past 10 years I’ve been around ex-gang members, in church, in my ministry and while working with returning citizens through 7-70 Re-entry Services. I find the main points of this video to be true. I would like to make some comments.
Mr. Blair talks about survival Instincts, leadership skills and the ability to read people as three of the skills ex-gang members can bring to a business. These are all positive traits that are either good or bad depending on the culture they are being used in. As he says in the beginning, “A gang is just the worst job in America.” And in any bad culture, positive traits often result in selfish or malicious behavior. Put them in a good culture, like a good job, and they can result in excellence.
The video does a good job, in its short run time, to expose the positive traits of ex-gang members but here are three more I’ve noticed.
They are loyal. The men and women I know wouldn’t snitch on their brothers. This is a bad thing when they are associated with gang but in a business, it demonstrates integrity and keeps any company information safe. It also means the ex-gang member is ready to fall on their swords for their leaders.
They have courage. For any cause, facing bullets takes courage. Many of these men and women went about their lives each day not knowing if they would live to see the next. Apply that courage to business situations and you have an employee that will speak his or her mind, contributing to the success of a team or project.
They are willing to pay the price for their life styles. Most ex-gang members accepted prison as a sacrifice necessary to their occupation. In business, they would face nothing even close to that severity.
When we endeavor to help a ex-gang member become a productive one, we don’t have to teach basic values because they are already present and well developed. We just need to teach them how to apply them in a good culture.