Labeling anything. Also, this movie puts an emphasis

Labeling theory, is the theory that being labeled as
“deviant” leads to the individual taking part in deviant behavior (William
& McShane 2016:100). In the movie labeling theory is visible in the
relationship between Doughboy
and the rest of his family. Doughboy’s
mother Brenda is constantly putting him down and telling him that he will never
do anything productive in life. She says to him, “you ain’t shit, you don’t do
shit and all you gonna amount to is shit” (Singleton 1991). Ricky and Doughboy share the same mother but have different fathers. Doughboy is seen as lazy just as
his father and his mother just reinforces that judgement. Doughboy’s mother put all of her hope into his brother
Ricky, always telling him that she “always knew that he would amount to
something” (Singleton 1991). His mother saw Ricky as a way out of poverty and South Central Los Angeles,
she saw Ricky as money and money meant a better life for herself. According to labeling theory the labels that
other people are instilling on Doughboy
are the reason that he is rebelling and partaking in deviant behavior. Doughboy was not always deviant
but according to labeling theory
Doughboy started to act
deviant because people were constantly telling him that he was deviant and would
never amount to anything. Also, this movie puts an emphasis on the idea and the
fact that African-Americans are portrayed in a bad way in society. Family is
important in the process of labeling youth because of the amount of impact that
family members have on them as shown through the relationship between Doughboy and his mother. The way
that Doughboy’s mother labels
him and the way that she speaks to him has a big impact on why he is partaking
in deviant behaviors.

Strain Theory                                                           

            Another theory shown in the movie is
general strain theory. General strain theory is the idea that society pressures individuals to
achieve certain goals that are deemed “acceptable” by society even when certain
people may not have the resources to complete these goals (William &
McShane 2016:174). This leads to strain which may lead to the individuals to
commit crime as a release. Doughboy
and his family live in harsh circumstances and do not have the same
socio-economic freedom that many people of the upper classes do. African-Americans
have experienced strain in society for a long time and this is shown in the
movie through Doughboy. Doughboy has low social control
as he was often rejected by his mother which resulted in them having very
little emotional connection. Because of the poor emotional connection, they
have Doughboy receives little
guidance from her meaning that he really has little guidance for helping him
establish goals and help him succeed. Society expects little from people like Doughboy which makes people like
Doughboy the most likely to
be strained. Cohen’s theory of strain
states that people of status are less likely to be strained because they are
not seeking status as they already have one. According to general strain theory
Doughboy was deviant and got
involved in gang work because of the fact that he was strained by the people of
higher class. One of the problems with strain
theory is that it takes on an individualistic approach rather than a
group approach. Therefore, strain theory largely deals with individualistic
approach to crime and not group crime and not group crime like gangs (William
& McShane 2016:174)