Baltimore Teens Find a Path Away from Violence Through ‘Identity Projects’

Baltimore Teens Find a Path Away from Violence Through ‘Identity Projects’

A pair of sociologists explain how nurturing kids’ passions — whether for anime, customizing cars, or raising pigeons — has the power to reduce illegal behaviors.

 

By Akoto Ofori-Atta
Article Originally Published by The Trace
Photo: Baltimore Heritage, Flickr

 

As a child in inner-city Baltimore, Vicky cared for an unlikely menagerie of pets, including a turtle and a baby alligator. Now, at 22, she has shifted her attention to a flock of pigeons that live in a coop she built with her father behind the family’s slender Section 8 brick rowhouse.

Vicky has experienced violent bouts of anger since she was young. Visiting the birds in her backyard calmed her down and offered her solitude in an overcrowded home.

“Sometimes [when] I don’t want to be bothered, I go out there and mess with my birds,” she said. “We train them to fly in the area and see if they come home.”

Vicky’s interest in raising pigeons, both as a hobby and as a means of escape, is an example of what sociologists Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Stephanie Deluca, and Kathryn Edin call an “identity project” in their new book, Coming of Age in the Other America.

Continue reading…

Share