Good kids with ties to “deviant” peers: Network strategies used by African American and Latino young men in violent neighborhoodsedit
Adolescence can be a precarious time for young men of color growing in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of violence. For young men in those neighborhoods this may mean developing a suite of coping strategies that help them successfully navigate their neighborhood and school. Those strategies may include developing social ties with neighborhood residents that are engaged in “deviant” behavior. The aim of this paper study is to leverage the concept of resiliency to examine how social ties to the neighborhood-based “deviant” peers operate as protective factors. To answer this question we use qualitative data from African American and Latino boys and young men from neighborhoods in Chicago and Waukegan, IL who are between the ages of 14–25. Themes emerged that highlight short term positive impacts of social ties with “deviant” peers vs long term consequences. Implications for social work practice and future research are discussed.