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Fraternities and sororities? Given the definitions of gangs, are Fraternities and Sororities considered gangs? Why or Why not?

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enotechris eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As defined by Webster's, one of the definitions of gang was "a group of young people who regularly associate together."  Sounds like a fraternity! Then again, for fraternity, Webster states "a group of people sharing a common profession or interest." Sounds like a gang!!

It appears that the terms are somewhat synonymous, contingent upon socioeconomic standing. Gangs are for the poor, fraternities for the rich.

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boblawrence eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The word "gang" has a universal negative connotation...an organization of antisocial persons wtih the primary purpose of committing crimes against society.  The typical gang member is disenfranchised, has little if any future, and lacks an adequate support structure at home.

Sororoties and fraternities are social organizations situated on college campuses and sanctioned by campus authorities.  They have a charter and bylaws, including standards of acceptable activities (of which commission of crimes is not one).  They usually involve a live-in arrangement and therefore foster social skills beyond merely hanging out together to make trouble.  Members of Greek organizations are actively enrolled in a college or university.  They are working toward a degree and a career.  They would be proud to list their sorority or fraternity on their resume.

The question is provocative.  It makes me wounder about the movtives of the questioner.  I am aware that many students think Greek organizations are snobbish, and sometimes unfairly biased in chosing which applicants to accept or reject.  But to liken these organizations to gangs...that seems unwarranted and a bit extreme.

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M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As always, mwestwood writes a fantastic addition to our discussions! I love the quoting of Macbeth, thank you for that!!!

My opinion is that connotations are the key to most semantic meaning and so if you deem a group of bad kids a "gang", it would be inappropriate to deem the same name and meaning to a group that acts completely differently altogether.

A group is a group. A fraternity is a fraternity. A gang is a gang. Period.

If you write, you are a writer. If you report, you are a reporter. The writer and the reporter both write, but they use different techniques, topics, and formats. To call a reporter a "writer" would be to reduce the job of a writer who, by connotation, does far more than repeat information to the masses.

Hence, fraternities and sororities are academic and social organizations whose purpose is to filter student demographics either by ethnicity, by academic interest, or by social interests. A gang is a simple group of naydoers who like to cause mischief. No- a gang and a fraternity or a sorority are not the same thing in whatever contextual definition you wish to analyze it.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Nothing is but what is not" (Macbeth) nowadays.  People can rearrange connotations and denotations so that they fit whatever definitive desire they feel at a precise moment in time.  President Bill Clinton's statement "That depends upon what the meaning of is is" epitomized this situational mentality of this New World.

So, depending upon what the meaning of gang is and what the meaning of fraternities and sororities are, then they can be similar or they can differ in meaning. Besides, what did Hamlet say to Guildenstern and Rosencrantz?

Why then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or
bad, but thinking makes it so. (2.2.250-251)

 No wonder the Existentialists declared existence absurd!

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would have to agree with all of the posters. For one to see similarities between gangs and fraternities/sororities, they would need to look at the positive aspects of each. Gangs, though historically associated with negative behaviors, can be linked to both fraternities and sororities. Both tend to have family-like relationships and the members look out for each other. In this way, all three can be linked.

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belarafon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Certainly the...

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