I decided not to write about other minor uneventful incidents which have occurred involving the gang culture. These events consisted of “ice grills” from gang members with facial tattoos and such trivial chance meetings; I don’t feel the need to waste anyone’s time with these tales. This last encounter will hopefully be my last post on the subject, until I ultimately achieve my life’s goal of ending gang violence in the city of Los Angeles. I don’t know why I was chosen to be the savior, but I was so I will fulfill my duty.
In the previous post, I mentioned how it didn’t make any sense for red to be the only banned color, but I eventually gained an understanding as to why. Blue represents the infamous Crips gang. Yet, blue is a universal color and tends to blend in. Most people wear blue on a regular basis, so it would be tedious to police the color. (By policing the color, I mean harassing anyone who wears it! I’m just speaking the truth. I’m not a gang member, but I have had several run-ins with Los Angeles’ least finest, and I must say that I am not a fan. NWA has a song called Fuck Tha Police…I don’t know why I mentioned that!) Crip members wear a blue flag to show their allegiance to their gang. They may also wear blue laces to be identifiable.
Red on the other hand is a color that stands out, which makes wearing red more of a statement. The more important reason for the ban on red is the fact that the Bloods are vastly outnumbered in the city of Los Angeles. If not for Crip on Crip violence, the Bloods would have a tough time surviving in the city. People who wear red are placing their safety on the line.
Usually, I am traveling by myself or with a woman, so I think gang members tend to give me a pass. This is just a hypothesis, since I don’t know for certain why I haven’t been in more incidents. I may just be lucky.
One day, my cousin came down from the valley to hang out for the afternoon. We decided to go get some Popeye’s for lunch. (We all know that white people eat chicken too, let’s not play that game.) I had on a gray Red Sox hat and red sneakers. My cousin had a traditional Red Sox hat and some black Jordans with red laces. (They really shouldn’t sell sneakers with red laces in Los Angeles, but who am I to make such an intelligent suggestion.)
I pulled into a parking space and we stepped out of the car. I heard someone yelling from across the parking lot, but I paid him no mind, because people are always yelling. We started to walk towards the entrance and the yelling became a bit louder and seemed to be directed towards us. I turned around and saw a guy standing by a car yelling at the two of us. I couldn’t make out what he was saying, so I stopped and attempted to make out his words. There was a girl sitting in her car directly in front of me so I assumed he was attempting to get her attention, so I pointed towards her, as if to say, “are you talking to her?” He pointed at me and yelled what I thought was, “bird gang,” but I really had no idea what he was saying. I gestured with both hands up in the air to let him know that I couldn’t understand him. He yelled again, and I was certain he said “bird gang.”
I was confused because the only Bird I know, other than Larry, is Birdman so I assumed this guy was putting some respek on his name. He completely misunderstood my sign language and thought I was saying, “what up blood…I’m with it…let’s do this.” (I was saying no such thing.)
I started walking towards him and as I got closer, he started walking in my direction with the clear intention of fighting. That’s when I heard him say, “dirt gang.” (I later found out that I was in the territory of the Rolling 30s Harlem Crips, aka Dirt Gang.) Looking back on the incident, I can understand his level of aggression, because it may have appeared to him that I was a Blood, and clearly trespassing in his neighborhood; the Popeye’s is in a Crip area. He assumed that I was making some grand statement that I can go wherever I pleased and anyone who had a problem with it, can deal with my wrath. (I was not making any such statement!)
Once I understood what was happening, I stopped and said, “I’m not here for that…I’m not a Blood.” He then wondered, “why do you have on all that red?” It was a legitimate question. To which I replied, “I’m from Boston.” His energy changed, and he responded, “my bad…you should be careful with all that red, cuz.” Then he backed off and went to his car. The situation was diffused, but if he was a little younger and had a little less sense, there would have been a squabble in that parking lot. The incident would have clearly changed my life, I would have joined the Bloods and taken out revenge on the entire Crip nation. (Just kidding!)
The Gang culture is definitely the real deal in Los Angeles. The entre time, the man’s friend remained by the car with the door open. I’m not sure why he didn’t attack along with his friend, but I can only assume that he had a gun in his possession and was prepared to use it if need be. I still wear red from time to time, but I am always prepared to deal with some type of nonsense when I choose to do so. (The fact that I live in a Blood neighborhood, probably keeps me a bit safer when doing so, but one can never be too careful.)
Honestly, I think I’ve experienced enough gang banging for a life time. I would write about the shooting incident, but I don’t want to make it seem as if South Central is more violent than it really is. There are many great events, such as the Taste of Soul, in which Crenshaw Blvd is shut down for many blocks and people from all over the city enjoy different forms of entertainment including concerts. (Last year, the rapper Doug E. Fresh brought out special guest Brandy and they performed a live concert.) There are also many vendors selling all types of goodies. The food is amazing and I was able to purchase a novel, written by a local artist. There are many gang members present, but they are able to leave the violence at home and have a good time.
I often hear people say things like, “the Bloods and Crips are dumb…why would they kill someone for wearing a color.” That is a very uninformed way to look at the culture. The gang members are mortal enemies and blood has been shed on both sides. The colors are just the way of identifying which gang one belongs to. They are simply attacking the enemy…it’s a lot more complicated than just colors.