Urban Legends Essay Research Paper Urban LegendsWhat

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Urban Legends Essay, Research Paper Urban Legends What is an Urban Legend? They are usually stories that have a wide audience, have circulated spontaneously, and have been told in several different forms. Many have chosen to believe these stories despite the lack of actual evidence to substantiate the story (Urban). What makes an Urban Legend is how it is told. This depends on whether the story is being told in first, second, or third person. Most of the time the real event happened to someone entirely unknown to the person telling the story (Urban). Some Urban Legends have roots extending as far back as twenty years or more (Roeper 15). One of these Urban Legends, called “Gang Initiation,” is one that many people believe to be true. In it a suburban woman is driving down

the road at night when she sees an oncoming car with its head lights off. The woman flashes her bright lights to let the driver know that his lights are off. The driver then blinks his lights in gratitude as he passes by. The woman then feels good about doing a small favor for a fellow motorist (Roeper 35). Ten minutes later, the woman is on a quiet side street when she realizes a car is riding her bumper. The car looked a lot like the vehicle she had signaled earlier. The car’s lights were off once again. This was not right (Roeper 35). In her rearview mirror, the woman could make out the outlines of the driver and numerous passengers. All of the occupants were young black men wearing baseball caps and jackets. The woman began to get scared. She wondered why they were

following her. A few minutes later, she found out. The car pulled up beside her, and the driver motioned for her to roll her window down. Hoping that the young men just wanted to tell her that she had a busted taillight or something she obeyed. Suddenly, the rear driver’s window rolled down and one of the young Darrow 2 men pointed a shotgun at the woman. He pulled the trigger before the woman even had a chance to scream. She was killed instantly. As they drove away, the driver said, “Your initiation is over, you are now in the gang (Roeper).” The point of the story is not to let anyone know that their lights are off by flashing the car’s head lights. This could get someone killed (Roeper 36). This Urban Legend is far from true. There is no record of this ever happening

anywhere in the United States. No gang member would ever be stupid enough to do something like that. They have a lot more brains than what most people think (Roeper 37-38). There is a form of racism in this Urban Legend. The victim is described as a “suburban woman,” which is assumed to be white. The attackers are “inner-city gangbangers,” which are assumed to be young black males. This story, like many others, preys on the fear that some whites have of black gang member or just blacks in general (Roeper 38). “The Hook” is one of the oldest Urban Legends in circulation. In it a man, with a hook for one of his hands, has escaped from an insane asylum. It stems back to the late 1950s. This Urban Legend was well known among teenagers and college students both then and

now. It will probably continue to be one of the most popular Urban Legends for many years to come (Brunvand 48-49). Some Urban Legend became popular when they were published in Abigail Van Buren’s newspaper column. Others that surfaced in the sixties have been made more popular through the movies of today. A couple of these movies include “Urban Legends” and “Dead Man on Campus” (Roeper 38). The movie “Urban Legends” is based on Urban Legends such as “The Roommates Death” and “The Killer in the Backseat” (Brunvand 58). In “The Roommates Death,” two girls stay late at college over Christmas vacation. One had to wait for a late train, and the other wanted to go to a fraternity party. While they are waiting, both hearing knocking from the outside of the