What Up Blood: 1st Encounter

When I first moved to South Central, I was aware of the gang violence but I didn’t fully understand the culture. I did have knowledge about the bloods and the crips, but there was a lot that I didn’t know. Thankfully, we live in the information age and I was able to do a lot of research; partly because I was interested in learning more about the culture, but more importantly was the necessity to stay safe.

Initially, I was told not to wear red – I didn’t heed the warning because I thought it was silly. (My stubbornness also played a large role in my decision.) Honestly, the advice didn’t make any sense. Why would I not be allowed to wear red, but blue was not off limits? Further more, I wasn’t involved in any of the gang activities so I didn’t see the need to stop wearing red. Plus, I have a lot of red sox hats and t-shirts, so I didn’t feel like not wearing red. Following this advice would have been a huge inconvenience to me.

I lived in South Central for several weeks and wore whatever I felt like wearing. I have a pair of red Adidas which I wear regularly, and many Red Sox hats, which have a lot of red. Thankfully, I was able to befriend some guys who grew up in the area, and the consensus was that I could wear whatever I wanted and I should be fine. They’re main concern was whether or not I would be riding the bus, which I learned was a hotbed for gang violence. I have a vehicle, so the bus was not an issue. Also, I was told to be careful around teenagers, because they would be more likely to be violent due to their need of proving themselves and building up their reputations in the streets.

One day, I wanted some fried fish and I found a place on Crenshaw, which was only a few blocks away. I drove to the fish spot and walked in wearing a blue Red Sox t-shirt with a large red B on it, my red Adidas, and a blue Sox cap with a red B on the front. Inside, there was a lady receiving her order and two young men in their early twenties waiting on their food. Once the lady left, I stepped to the counter and placed my order.

I stood against the wall awaiting my food. (I didn’t say what I ordered because I don’t remember, but it was probably some fried catfish, which is way better than the ones online that ruin the lives of their victims.) The two men kept staring at me and talking low enough for me not to be able to hear. Their interest in me was apparent (Not in that way…not that there is anything wrong with that.) and the tension was building. Unfortunately, I don’t own a gun, so I was at a huge disadvantage. Suddenly, the cook came from the kitchen, looked at me and said, “I like your hat.” I thanked him and he continued. “Seriously, I like that hat…I am from Boston.” He said proudly.

I let him know that I was from Roxbury and learned that he was from Dorchester. Once I revealed that I was from out of town, the tension ended and one of the guys said, “I figured you weren’t from here after I heard you talking…you should be careful wearing all that red around this hood.” It turned out that I was in the territory of the Rolling 60 Crips (shout out to Nipsey Hussle! Get Victory lap and you won’t be disappointed.), where bloods were unwelcomed, and at the moment I looked like a blood.

The cook made it known that any time I went to the shop, I should always wear my “B” hat. The guys were interested in learning more about Boston, so I answered all of their questions. After a few minutes, they received their food and started to leave. One guy stopped at the door, threw up a “W” with his fingers and said, “west side!” I laughed and he left.

Thankfully, my first encounter with gang members in their gang territory went well. While living in the valley, I ran into the rapper August Blue, who is really cool and talented, on several occasions. Interestingly, he is from the Eight Trey Gangster Crips (They don’t get along with the 60s) and in a wheelchair due to being shot. You may have heard of the Gansters from Monster Cody, who wrote the book Monster, about his life as a member of the Eight Trey Gangster Crips. (A very good read.) The fact that I survived this encounter without any incident strengthened my initial assumption that the color thing was a little overblown; I continued wearing anything I wanted.

So far, I have had a few more experiences, and I will write about them soon. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the sun and following the snowy East Coast from a distance!Thanks for reading!



Fighting Gang Violence

Most major cities are plagued by the same problem; gang violence. Police departments do their best to keep control over the streets, but budget cuts and lack of innovation allow the gangs to stay one step ahead. There are also procedural constraints which handcuff the patrolman’s ability to stop the violence.

I have a solution which will cripple gangs all over the country. My method is both expensive and inconvenient to the public, but I believe it is effective and necessary.

What I propose is fairly simple. Every city should rename streets and change the area codes and zip codes. Obviously, the federal government must get involved.

For those of you who may question whether or not my solution works, allow me to explain. Gang bangers (not the porn version) love to tag. They cover the city streets with their street names, area codes, and zip codes. These guys also cover their bodies with tattoos. I am always baffled by the fact that some of the tattoos are religious in nature. We all know there is no “god,” but if he did exist, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to forgive a murder due to the fact that someone has the virgin Mary holding an assault rifle with a halo over her head.

Imagine the first day after my plan is enacted. Big Mike (every gang has a big Mike) wakes up and walks outside, prepared for a long day of Pharmaceutical sales. When he gets outside, he finds his fellow gang members in an uproar. The boys just learned that they no longer live in the 617; their new are code is 928. Their tattoos and street tags are no longer relevant.

Furthermore, their zip code changed from 02119 to 90210. How can a Roxbury gang banger rep Beverly Hills? It would be an embarrassment. The worst news of all is the fact that the gang, the Dudley Street Boys (DSB) discovers that Dudley St is now called Richard Simmons Boulevard. (Good Luck turning that into something hardcore!)

Clearly, my plan calls for the mayors to change known gang streets into new, funnier names. (What’s the point of any plan if you can’t have a little fun!)

I’m sure there are other great aspects to this renaming approach, so if anyone has some great ideas, feels free to comment!

Go Giants!!!