The Sexist

The Gang Member Oracle Predicts Future Bloods, Crips, Boyfriends

Los Angeles social psychologist Malcolm Klein has devised a multiple-choice test which "he says could predict if a child is destined to join a gang."

Oh, destiny, and the people who "say" their work "could" "predict" it.

So, how does Malcolm Klein's future-gang-member oracle determine whether your little one is "destined" for organized crime? Klein's 70-question test—which is meant to "empirically identify which children are headed toward a life on the street"—employs wide variety of predictors, including a child's commitment to truth-telling, relationship with her parents—and her relationship status.

And so, in the same quiz, you find these two predictors:

In the past six months, "did you 'go out' on a date with a boyfriend or girlfriend for the very first time?"


In the past six months, have you "been a member of a gang"?

We've known for years that if you you go out on dates, you might be in a gang. But did you also know that if you are a member of a gang, you might also be in a gang? Thank God Klein is finally asking the tough questions that will solve L.A.'s gang problem before it starts.

If you're wondering about your own "gang member potential," you can take the test here [PDF].

[via Pukeimmediately]

  • Conrad Davis

    Clearly the "destiny" language is imprecise, but this is a solid diagnostic measurement. Does the test definitively determine whether a child will join a gang or not? Clearly it does not. However, it is useful for assigning a probability that the student will join a gang (relative to other students taking the test).

    You also take issue with two questions that I believe are both relevant. The dating question is easily misinterpreted, but look closely. "For the very first time" isn't referring to starting a new relationship, it's referring to starting to date in general. Young adults just beginning to date are supersensitive to peer pressure, and thus more at risk for gang recruitment. Is teen dating the only gateway to gang membership? Obviously not, but it can be a contributing factor.

    Similarly, on its face "have you been a member of a gang" seems idiotic. Currently being in a gang certainly correlates to a future of gang membership, why even ask? Because the response gives us important information. A student that answers "no" to that question is either lying or telling the truth, whatever. But students that respond "yes" to the question clearly have no fear of telling their school that they are in a gang. And knowing the difference between a kid in a gang hiding it and a kid in a gang representing it everywhere he goes is important.

    Think about why they're giving the test. The Los Angeles Unified School District has nearly half a million students. They cannot provide a gang intervention program for all of them because of a lack of funds. This test allows them to identify the 10% of kids most likely to join gangs and provide gang interventions for the 50,000 kids it will help the most. If they were using the diagnostic to preemptively lock kids up, I'd be up in arms. But that isn't what's happening here.