Two words may have similar denotations, but over time events and trends change the meaning of these words. Words such as “gang” and “club” have evolved, and since evolving one has arose as a positive word and the other a negative. These changes in connotations develop when an event becomes significant enough to be a part of the media and become ingrained in history. Then from then on these words cannot ever go back to meaning anything different because of a popular following and spreading.
Both “gang” and “club’ are defined as an association or organization interested in a particular interest or activity. In addition to the meaning above “gang” is also now defined as an organized group of criminals. This additional meaning is a result of a connotation that developed and caught on after several events that started in the 1920s. Clubs, on the other hand, maintain their positive connotation and denotation. Clubs are found nearly everywhere and offered to many varied age groups.
Participation in a club is seen as a part of a well-rounded person, and teenagers are told when they are applying for college that they will look more appealing if they have participated in many community changing clubs. As people get older they are asked to participate in a clubs ranging from parent-student clubs or book clubs. A club represents a way to enjoy oneself and work outside of one’s profession; it is known as an activity of high esteem. People who participate in clubs are often seen as people who have good time management and a big heart.
Many clubs promote volunteer work, team activities, leadership, and help foster morality as well as good choices that will benefit a whole community. One of the specific reasons that clubs are seen as a positive part of our culture is because all school clubs consist of administration approved activities, and because of this it doesn’t allow for a negative club to be created. Clubs can only exist if apart of one of the following categories: fundraising, community service, career interest and interpersonal dynamic.
Because of this the word “club” will never be associated with anything other than a group of people who want to divulge themselves into a hobby or service project. Clubs originated in the Victorian times in Britain, functioning as a place for men to attend lectures and participate in recreational activities. Over time they developed as a part of women’s culture (book club, sewing club, cooking club). This was especially true throughout times when women were supposed to be only the care takers of the house and children, as well as social with other mothers.
Since then they have developed a connotation that pushes children and adults to be progressive, have a hobby outside of work, and enjoy themselves while (most of the time) helping others. Gangs represent, in society, the opposite of clubs. They are seen as the most criminal and negative groups anyone could participate in. They are associated with violence and corruption. Gangs are depicted on the news as a part of many of the crimes committed in many cities. Children are told from a young age to never join a gang, and all it will do is bring trouble and horror to their lives.
Gangs began predominantly in the 1920s, and there were both some violent and non-violent gangs, but they all joined together for the same reason, culture. These gangs consisted of people who wanted to come together to protect their ethnicity and culture, plus they were worried about territory which led to the spread of violence. This violence was a turning point in the connotation of gangs, it lead to the creation and us of the word “gang” as negative word rather than just a word used to refer to a group. The gangs that were starting violence over preservation of culture and territory are now called “street gangs”.
The tensions grew between the many rival gangs in cities all over the country which led to crimes such as assault, robbery, homicide, sale of controlled substances, grand theft of vehicles, arson and intimidation of witnesses. . Since then gangs have been advertised as a group that people are generally born into and if not they turn to gangs in time of trouble. Gangs also try to say that they are a brotherhood which confines members and requires them to stay because of fear. This fear within gangs and the fear produced by gangs is the mark that has been left, and because of this gangs are now seen as awful, shameful group.
This violence they show has characterized many cities within the United States such as Detroit and Chicago, and this characterization has been accomplished through the public media the gangs get from the violent crimes they do. The top stories on news stations multiple times a month refer to how someone was killed or a violent crime was committed by a gang member or a whole gang. Even the government has made a push to end gang violence in cities by keeping teens from joining these gangs. This has led to the government creating a national gang center to help save people in gangs that need help finding a safe way out.
Since there has been public media regarding the issue of gangs and the violence they create, the connotation of “gang” has changed into a negative and will be carried on because of history dating back to the 1920s. All and all, the connotation and denotation of words such as gang and club only change over time due to public media exposure and how people push the youth of our nation into a club, but desperately want to keep kids out of gangs. Originally before perception was skewed and the definition changed, clubs and gangs simply started as the same thing.