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Capitalism and Conflict Theories in “Boyz n the Hood”

Gangster and criminal movies are developed in the harmful actions of gangsters or criminals, particularly underworld figures, bank robbers, or ruthless individuals who operate outside the law, stealing and forcing their way through life. That said, crime and gang movies are produced in such a manner that they are dark and cynical, so that they encompass many aspects such as family lives, crime comedies, and gang or criminal lives. In the film Boyz n the Hood, featured in 1991, there are many theories and social paradigms that are employed to exhibit gang violence and poverty as well as their effects on the black community. Among these are functionalism, symbolic interactions, and the theory of conflict. Functionalism reflects the structure of capitalist society that represents a clear line between white and black neighborhoods. Symbolic interaction, on the other hand, exhibits gang violence, poverty, and deprived living standards of blacks, while conflict theory is exemplified by Doughboy and his friends, who choose the wrong path after the rejection of society’s norms.

Movie Overview

The film portrays the social problems encountered by young black people in American society. The main characters, Tre, Rickie, and Doughboy, grow up in a black neighborhood where they experience social inequalities. The film portrays how society promotes injustices. The connections of black adolescents with deprived backgrounds limit their economic opportunities. The availability of gun shops and liquor in black neighborhoods creates opportunities for deviance. The film portrays social discrimination as blacks have unequal access to education, employment, and growth. Going forward, the film conveys the message of how social construct promotes deviant behaviors in certain groups. The deprivations and low economic status of black guys motivate them to reject society’s norms. The gun shootings and killings explain how social control influences the lives of young people. The film criticizes the capitalism prevailing in American society that promotes deviant behaviors among black people.

In describing the family, Boyz n the Hood renders its main character, Tre, and his entire family as entirely different from other families in the story. Tre’s family is encouraging and provides him with a stable life that is not afforded to other individuals in the community. In contrast, Tre’s best friend, Ricki, lives with his step-brother together with their single mother, who doesn’t seem to care about her children. Ricki’s lifestyle is typical of many families in the story, and this renders Tre a healthy individual among many because he has both parents who guide him through the routes he should follow to avoid youth evils such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and crimes.

Conflict theory comes into play through street gangs and criminal life as is evidenced in the movie. In “Boyz n The Hood,” the main character, Doughboy, is drawn by temptation into a life of violence and dangerous lifestyles. He becomes part of the gang, and although he knows it is not a definite choice, he joins it anyway because he feels he has no choice. The bands and groups provide a protective sanctuary for people like Doughboy across America because of the close ties the gang members develop with each other. This can be evidenced by many scenarios in the movie in which Darren is protected from other gang groups through these ties. A particular instance in the film is when Rickie is brushed in the shoulders by another rival team. When the gang confronts him, the rest of the members join in on the side of Ricky. Another instance is when Ricky is shot. Although the rest of the gang members are not present, Darren and his other colleagues are pushed by the need to avenge for Ricky’s death.

The relevance of the movie with regards to the social process in real life is that it provides an example of the deviant behavior that motivates young black citizens towards crimes. The young black guys dealing with the problems of violence, rape, and juvenile delinquency exhibit the role of deviance. The three main characters represent different forms of control theories and deviance. The community provides them with chances to engage in deviant behaviors. Doughboy and his friend encounter deviant behavior that also reflects the role of conflict theory. The film portrays the boy’s need to choose between society’s values and personal desires. The conflict theory is also visible in combating unequal access to social and economic resources.

The film Boys N the Hood offers a good summary that passes across important messages and values for society. In particular, the movie, through its use of capitalist and conflict theories, portrays a backward society where blacks are underrated and are considered to occupy the lowest rung of the social ladder. The movie’s focus is mostly on two friends, Tre and Doughboy. The former is brought up in a complete family setup where the father strongly influences the decisions and behaviors of his son throughout his life, thus making Tre successfully avoid the social problems that seem to affect his colleagues. Conversely, Doughboy lacks a father figure in his life, and since his mother prefers his brother Ricky over him, he ends up participating in gang violence, and he eventually gets incorporated into the neighborhood’s vicious crime cycle. From the precedent, it is true to assert that John Singleton successfully manages to show how capitalism and conflict theories as well as the present economic structure affect black people negatively and even worse to those that live in poverty and impoverished conditions.

Works Cited

Collins, Jim, Ava Preacher Collins, and Hilary Radner. Film theory goes to the movies: Cultural analysis of contemporary film. Routledge, 2012.

Nadell, James. “Boyz N The Hood: A Colonial Analysis.” Journal of Black Studies 25.4 (1995): 447-464.



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