White gangs are less covered by the media and less punished even though 53% of gang members in Mississippi are white
When he was 13, three white teenage boys beat Benny Ivey. They aimed for his chest as his back pressed against the wall of his friends house in Florence, Mississippi. The skinny blond adolescent had to show he was tough enough to become a Black Gangster Disciple.
It was 1989, the height of the crack era, and many white kids wanted to join black gangs that did not welcome them, so they initiated each other into home-grown copycat versions.
Ivey lived in a trailer park, and the thought of wearing the gangs colors black and blue made him excited to be part of something beyond his chaotic family.
None of them knew the first thing about being in a gang, and yet many kids lusted after it, even some wholived in nice homes with their families, Ivey says now. Others grew up like he did: the child of poor crack and opioid addicts, ripe to be ensnared by a world promising brotherhood, loyalty and respect.
Iveys future was not in a black organization, however it was in one of the oldest and largest white gangs in the US, the Simon City Royals.
A lot of us were raised in the pits, and thats where almost all gang life begins, he says.