Explaining of Doughboy’s Criminal Behavior and Deviance Through the General Theory of Crime (‘Boyz n the Hood’ )

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The movie, ‘Boyz n the Hood’ (1991), was directed and written by John Singleton and produced by Steven Nicolaides, this movie was based off John’s life and the lives of many African American youth in urban communities (Needham, C., 2008). The movie takes place in South Central Los Angeles during the mid-1980. South-Central Los Angeles was considered a hot zone for crime, gang violence, and drug smuggling during that time (Reinhold, 1988). During this time, we see the first wave of crack cocaine emerging to the city of Los Angeles. The movie has three African American youth as the main characters and these young adolescents, Ricky, Doughboy, and Tre, were raised in the same community but their parental management at home was very different. Through the movie, we see many unfortunate circumstances that pushed and pulled African American youth into the streets and gangs, Doughboy. Even when many want to escape the life that surrounds them, many of them do not get lucky and just adapt to their environment. Individuals, like Doughboy, become another statistic for the juvenile justice system and another life claimed by the streets. The general theory of crime will be used to explain Doughboy’s criminal behavior and deviance.

Character Description

Darren ‘Doughboy’ Baker is one of the main characters of the movie and the leader of the Crips. Doughboy is an African American adolescent, who was played by Ice Cube, he can be consider to have an endomorph body type (Lilly, Cullen, & Ball, 2019), violent, stubborn, always drinking with his gang, drives a gold Chevrolet Impala, picks up fights, carries a hand gun, and disrespects women and rival gang members. From what the movie shows Doughboy and his gang are involved in alcoholism, drive by shootings, drug sales, and murder. When the movie opens, Doughboy was 10 years old and he has been physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by his mother. Doughboy was raised in a single-family household, where his mother paid little to no attention to him and gave most of her affection to his younger brother Rick. Doughboy is seen as the Alpha male through the eyes of his peers and the rivals. Throughout the movie, Doughboy is shown as a natural leader and has always had a conflict with his mother and brother. Doughboy has a stubborn and tough personality not caring who he disrespected, since he was a kid. Psychologically, Doughboy can be seen as an angry person who has no respect to anyone, except Mr. Furious Styles. Throughout the movie, Doughboy responds in violence, retribution, disrespect, and stands up for his younger brother. For example, when the four boys, Doughboy, Ricky, Tre, and Chris, are walking down the railroad tracks to see a dead body a group of older teens approach the boys and take away Ricky’s football, Doughboy tries to retrieve the ball back and kicks the older teen resulting in Doughboy getting beat up. During this scene we see Doughboy’s first thinking of violence with him saying “Man I wish I can kill that…” (‘Boyz n the Hood’).

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Doughboy’s impulsivity and low self-control gets him arrested for shoplifting, at age 10, and from that point forward he was in and out from the juvenile justice system. The last time Doughboy was released from prison he was hoping to not return and change his life, but as a Crip leader criminal behavior is always attached to the role. Doughboy’s must vicious criminal act is manifested after the Bloods, rival gang, killed his brother Rick ending Doughboy’s life too at the end of the movie.

Doughboy’s Background and Environment

Doughboy’s background can be seen as a psychological harm because of the mother’s treatment towards him. His mother has always loved Ricky, his youngest brother, the most since they are not from the same father. This was noted in the beginning of the movie, the mother always told Doughboy that he was exactly like his father: worthless and a bum and that he would never amount to nothing. Doughboy was never encouraged to do anything with his life, so he turned to the streets to find a family and get respect. Chris leads Doughboy to his first crime at the store and taken into juvenile hall for shoplifting. The movie forwards 7 years into the lives of these juveniles and the Bakers are celebrating Doughboys release from prison. Doughboy is now seen as a Crip; due to the colors he is wearing and the peers that surround him wearing blue just like him. “They belong to one of two umbrella groups, Crips or Bloods, which are themselves deadly rivals. Crips wear blue, Bloods wear red” (Reinhold, 1988).

Doughboy is now in his early 20’s and lives with his mother but he does not care what she tells or thinks about him, he has no job, drinks with his gang every day, and sells crack cocaine from his porch. His new environment consists of him always carrying a handgun and being in the constant look out for his family’s and his safety. South Central Los Angeles has been seen as a dangerous community where drive by shootings occur frequently and individuals die at a high rate by gun shots, intended to them or a lost bullet.

Doughboy’s Criminal Behavior and Reasoning

Doughboy started entering the juvenile justice system at a young age after stealing from the store with Chris and getting arrested. From that point, he was in and out of prison and hoped to stay out, “you know I’m out the pen. I’m gon’ keep my ass out this time” (‘Boyz n the Hood’). Even when he is committed to staying out, there is a lot of things going on around him that keeps pushing him towards crime. Doughboy’s criminal behavior consists of, carrying a concealed weapon at all times, selling crack, drive-by shootings, and committing murder. We could assume that most of these crimes are done because he is a criminal and gang member but most of this is done for his own protection and revenge. Drive by shootings done constantly in urban communities represent the turf control, but for Doughboy and his gang is to retaliate Ricky’s death. Doughboy is also seen selling crack to an individual, this can be assumed as his source of income and survival. Carrying a concealed weapon is a crime in the state of California especially among ex-convicts. Doughboy carries the weapon around for protection against his enemies and because of the occupation he has as a drug dealer. In reality scholars have determine many reasoning behind gang members carrying a gun with them but reported studies also mention “over half of the juveniles who reported being in a gang also reported owning guns for protection” (Bjerregaard & Lizotte, 1995). Committing murder for Doughboy was a revenge mission for the murder of his brother, Ricky. Towards the end of the movie, Doughboy realized that he needs to change and questions the outside people “Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood” (‘Boyz n the Hood’). In the end we see Doughboy tries to change his behavior and become someone new, but his actions of murdering Ferris and his gang eventually catch up to him. The epilogue of the movie show that Doughboy was able to bury his brother but two weeks later he was murder.

In conclusion we can agree that gang membership and gang violence can be prevailed and if Doughboy had the proper guidance and support, he would had been someone different. There are many factors that lead at-risk youth to gangs and criminal behavior, but communities and elected officials can propose educational and other supports to prevent youth from entering the life of a gang member or criminal. Through Doughboy’s home life and actions, we observe how low-income communities have less resources and get gentrified. ‘Boyz n the Hood’ has been relevant to understanding the life and stereotypes that African American adolescents had to endure during the 1990’s and early 2000’s.


  1. Bjerregaard, B. & Lizotte, A. J. (1995). Gun Ownership and Gang Membership. J. Crim. L. & Criminology, 86, 37. DOI: 10.2307/1143999.
  2. Lilly, J. R., Cullen, F. T., & Ball, R. A. (2019). Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences (7th edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. ISBN: 978-1506387307.
  3. Needham, C. (2008). Boyz n the Hood (1990) Trivia. Retrieved June 22, 2019, DOI: https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0101507/trivia
  4. Reinhold, R. (1988, May 22). In the Middle of L.A’S Gang Warfare.[Newspaper Article].
  5. The New York Times Archives (Pg. 006030). The Times’s Print Archive. Retrieved June 22, 2019, DOI: https://www.nytimes.com/1988/05/22/magazine/in-the-middle-of-la-s-gang-wars.html
  6. Singleton, J. (Director), & Nicolaides, S. (Producer). (1991). Boyz n the Hood. [Motion picture on DVD]. London: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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Explaining of Doughboy’s Criminal Behavior and Deviance Through the General Theory of Crime (‘Boyz n the Hood’ ). (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 16, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/explaining-of-doughboys-criminal-behavior-and-deviance-through-the-general-theory-of-crime-boyz-n-the-hood/
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