Elvis Navarro BLS 245 Prof. Perry 02/13/09 African American Heritage Research Paper African American gangs and their negative impact on poor neighborhoods in America. Gangs have been a big problem in the poor neighborhoods of America and have created an atmosphere of chaos and fear among the population for decades. Recently Ice Cube came out with a new rap called “why me” which speaks about the millions of people around the world that have died for no reason because of gangs and terrorists groups. Ice Cube shows how people have died from drive bys and little children who were just walking to school or from school who got shot because they were walking in the wrong place at the wrong time. He also shows how people in Africa and the Middle East die who were completely innocent from gangs and terrorist groups. I myself lost a friend who was killed by Dominican gang members for no apparent reason just because he touched their bike by mistake that led to his death. The individuals went after him and slashed him in the throat he came out in the news back in 2003. My poor friend was going to John Jay at the same time my brother was going to John Jay and he was going to be a cop. These evil gang individuals took a poor innocent guys life for no apparent reason. When I was 12 years old I was jumped by a gang of about 20 Puerto Ricans for no apparent reason. I was walking with my brother to the train station and out of nowhere came 20 Puerto Ricans who were grown men and began to harass me. They asked me for a dollar and I told them I did not have a dollar and right after that I got a huge beating and I fell to the ground. My brother ran and took the train and left me there on the floor bleeding. Half an hour later I got up and took the train all beat up and when I got home I told my brother what kind of brother was he, he could have at least took me in the train. Fortunately nothing happen to my brother and I was lucky that I did not get stabbed or shot by these mentally disturbed individuals. Another time my cousin was jumped by 10 African Americans because he refused to hand in 100 bucks he had with him that his mother had sent him to take to a friend. My poor cousin went home with a busted lip all because some punks wanted to rob him. Another time my other cousin got jumped for no apparent reason while visiting a friend he was crying from the huge beat down he received. Another cousin of mine was coming out of school when he got jumped by 7 individuals they beat him unconscious. Recently on the news in Brooklyn 4 African Americans killed an Ecuadorian immigrant who was involved in real estate and all he was doing was trying to help and revitalize a neighborhood in Bush wick Brooklyn. The 4 individuals killed him with a bat and smashed him to death. Another incident in the news a 15 year old girl who was a member of the Bloods gang killed and cut to pieces two people it was shocking. Ice T in the movie Colors played by Sean Penn and Robert Duvall raps about the Bloods and Crips gangs of Los Angeles who have spread across America and have ended up here in New York. New York City was the Mecca of gangs back in the 70’s and 80;s but cities like Chicago and Los Angeles have followed New York City footsteps surpassing New York City in murders after New York City was number one in that category. Ice T’s rap is deep and powerful he raps about how Gang members in the Bloods and Crips live and how they lose family and face getting shot every day. Tupac Shakur’s rap songs were about being raised in the Ghetto and how getting out of the Ghetto saved his life. In keep your head up Shakur raps about keeping your head up in tough times no matter what and that things will get better. He states how the government has money for wars but can’t take care of the poor in the hood. In changes Shakur raps about how he sees no changes and how police brutality is a major concern. Shakur emphasizes that in order for people to change they have to become better individuals by learning about the other culture or people’s problems and taking action but that he sees no changes and that kids keep selling drugs to kids and that is the way it is because they have to get paid. Like Tupac, Biggie Smalls raps about living in the Ghetto and how he struggled to survived until he made it big in a poetic way as Tupac rapped about social issues. Tupac was shot 5 times by gang individuals who had a problem with the rapper. I like many Latinos and African Americans am tired of gangs and their violence. My father got shot in the back by 2 gang members for no reason other than wanting to rob him. Thank God my father survived and did not end up in a wheel chair. All of us want to know when will these horrible way of life of mentally and emotionally disturbed individuals stop. When will there be peace where you don’t have to walk the streets in fear not knowing if you will ever make it home alive. It is a horrible feeling when you live in these poor neighborhoods as I do and to walk out of your house always with the thought in the back of your mind will you make it home today or will you be another gang statistic. In the movie New Jack City we see how gangs of all races destroy the neighborhood with drugs and violence. Gangs have destroyed thousands of innocent lives in poor neighborhoods with their drugs and weapons destroying everything that comes in their way. Gangs have killed thousands of cops who were just doing their job to serve and protect. My brother in Baltimore City like many cops was intimidated at first when he began his Cop career he always had that thought in the back of his head will he make it home today to his family when he has to deal and run after gang members and seen how many of them have died right in front of his eyes with bullet wounds. Baltimore City who is 64 percent African American is considered murder city. In articles it has been compared that in Baltimore City there are more homicides per 100,000 people than there are in New York City. My brother told me a story about some Puerto Rican guys from New York who went down there to do drug business and they were riddled with bullets from rival Baltimore gangs it was terrible. Gangs have a negative impact on African American neighborhoods creating an atmosphere of fear and violence and destroying peoples’ lives in an instant. My mother’s cousin had a nephew who got involved in gangs and was a hitman for some Puerto Rican gang and he decided to retire and have a normal life with his wife and three kids. One day two man came in a car to ask him a question and as soon as he was going to answer they shot him right in the heart. Society is tired of this barbarism, of this injustice, of this savagery, of this belligerent behavior from people who only think about themselves and their personal gain while they destroy society. African Americans are tired of seen how gangs make their people look bad. How gangs destroy their neighborhoods and their children. How gangs detriment their way of life and lead their children into a life of decadence. In the book Creating Black Americans speaks about Grand Master Flash and his group the Furious Five who rapped about social issues back in the 1980s. Grand Master Flash raps about life in the South Bronx in the 1980s and the horrible conditions people lived at that time. He raps about the rats and roaches, the noise, he has no money to move out and it’s like a concrete jungle. In Hip Hop Hysteria by Salim Muwakkil states that Hip Hop culture has been the representation of crime, drug abusers, and police brutality, but has grown since 1998 as a top chart selling musical format. Gangsta rap developed in the 90s in Los Angeles after New York’s rap influence spread across the nation. Feuds began to arise between East and West coast rappers. In Vibe magazine article speaks about rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie smalls were assassinated because of the feud between Death Row records and Bad Boy entertainment. Death Row records was based in Los Angeles and was managed by Marion Suge Knight who is suspected of being involved in the murders. Bad Boy entertainment is managed by Sean puffy Combs who signed Notorious Big. The feud escalated to a bloody war from gangs from the east and west coast and in the end the 2 rappers were slayed. Tupac Shakur was from NY but went West and signed on with Death Row records after a botched attempt on his life where he was shot 5 times. Both rappers died in the same way shot multiple times in the passenger seat. Notorious Big died in Los Angeles in 1997 while Tupac Shakur died in Las Vegas in 1996. Gang enmity between the Bloods and the Crips appears to have played a part in both murders. Also one of the members of the group Run DMC, Jam Master Jay was killed in his studio while he was doing a recording and like Tupac and Biggie no one knows who committed the murder. Many say that Jam Master Jay owed money to people and that its why he was killed by someone he owed money to. A drug dealer named Tinard Washington is believed to have been involved in the murder and is been searched for by authorities. As we can see gangs and gansgta rap have had a negative impact on African Americans and other cultures. Many blame gangsta rap as the motivation behind violent gangs and their way of life. Gangsta rap talks about hating the police, promotes females as whores, promotes violence as the solution to every problem, and idolizes drug dealing and making tons of cash. Gangsta rap promotes violence and downgrades females as bitches and hoes and is believed by many to be the driving force behind gangs’ violent acts. In the early beginnings of Gangsta rap the group NWA member Ice Cube rapped about killing cops and disobeying the law as well as Ice T’s cop killer song. These songs promoted hostility towards the police and many gang members found these songs to motivate them to hate the police even more and to make violent acts against them. These two rappers have matured now into good citizens of society and these days they rap about not joining gangs or rap about the horrible things gangs commit and advice the African community to do better things to strengthen the community and refrain from drugs and gangs. Ross Kemp’s on gangs of Los Angeles makes an online documentary about gangs in LA. In his documentary Kemp describes that LA’s mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has named Los Angeles gang capital of America. There are 700 gangs and in Compton alone there are 68 gangs and for every square mile there are 5 gangs. The police have different kinds of weapons and a tactical gang unit to deal with these gangs. Kemp’s documentary states that blacks and Latinos are fighting over territory and that the Latinos are winning because for every 1 black person there’s 5 Latinos. In the video Kemp shows Latino gang members saying proudly to kill them blacks is horrifying to see how they say it with such hatred. The African Americans too can be seen saying we going to get them taco eating bastards. Kemp also conducts interviews with Blood and Crip members. In one instance a Crip that they were interviewing made a gang sign and a Blood was outraged and they feared for their lives because that Blood could have ran to get a weapon and shoot them. Kemp’s documentary is gripping it captivates you from every angle. Kemp explains that the Latino gangs are more united and that the Black gangs fight among themselves. Kemp interviewed a member of the Bloods gang and he explains that he was shot in the face, arm, and stomach by a Crip member. The blood gang member wears glasses to hide his eyes wounds and had stomach surgery because a bullet messed up his stomach. Initiation to gangs in Los Angeles one needs to get a beat down and while getting beat up you have to fight back. One Latino gang member was bleeding from the beat down he received and was happy that he was a part of the gang. All of the gang members interviewed explained that they do what they do for the money. Kemp interviewed 2 members of the Crips gang and they explained that if they catch a Blood he is getting shot and that if a female traitor crosses the line she dies. As you see the documentary it is incredibly shocking how these individuals have no remorse for taking a life to them taking a life is nothing. These people fit the description of modern day monsters that destroy society and poison it with drugs and violence. The New York Post in October 2007 states that gangs are on the rise in New York City. The gangs prey on high school students or immigrants looking for protection or a sense of identity. As New York's gang population swells to more than 15,000 membership is increasingly Hispanic - spurred by a wave of street toughs from Mexico - and younger. Gang street crime surged 37 percent between 2005 and 2007. Two fast growing Dominican gangs are DDP (Dominicans Don’t Play) and The Trinitarios (The Trinity). As I can recall these gangs were around when I went to high school in 1996 and were very much feared and they carried weapons such as machetes and guns. They would go to local high schools and rob and beat up people. In Harlem these gangs were responsible for the killing of a 15 year boy and the wounding of another boy. A Blood gang member in Brooklyn had an argument with his girlfriend and fired 3 shots into the air which killed a 16 year old student who was looking out the window. A group of Latin Kings in the Bronx beat strangled and set a man on fire in the Yankee Stadium Parking Lot. Bands of Mexican gangs are fighting off Bloods and Crips and terrorizing Brooklyn it seems these gangs will surpass these other gangs in the future. Mexicans were minor players overshadowed by the Bloods but now their numbers have grown and they are becoming a threat as they are on the West coast. The Bloods are the biggest gang in New York City with 5,300 members and is mostly African American. They battle all the other gangs for territory and business. In the book Crime is not the problem lethal violence in America by Franklin E Zimring & Gordon Hawkins states that no aspect of the Demography in the United States is more dramatic than the concentration of lethal violence among African Americans. Also it states that there are four theories why blacks commit crimes 1) there are important constitutional factors at work. 2) “ net economic disadvantage is a cause 3) There is a pattern of cultural pathology rooted in familial experiences 4) Black rage at accumulated injustice is the cause of black crime. John Dilulio of Princeton explained that “America does not have a crime problem; inner city America does”! When we look at statistics and the newspapers and TV what we see is gang violence and crimes mostly committed in urban areas. Large metropolitan cities are a haven for gangs and crimes. The Black and White arrests graph shows that blacks in every category of crime exceed whites by a big margin. As a result individuals of other races especially Whites have an anxiety about dark- skinned people yet has no support in crime statistics. The reality of high levels of violence among blacks creates an atmosphere of fear which contributes to whites avoiding social inter action with gang individuals or people involved in criminal activities. Many view blacks as trouble makers and promoters of violence which leads many to fear blacks. As a result this is a social problem in America that needs to be addressed and resolved. Life threatening violence is more visible in African Americans than among any other population in the United States. Until life threatening violence becomes the special concern, the largest crime burden of Black America will continue to be ignored. In the movie Boyz N The Hood directed by John Singleton shows how gangs of the 1980s south central L.A. operated. The movie begins with a single father who takes care of his son and is teaching him how to be a man. A thug entered the house and ran when he saw he was discovered. The father calls the police and they arrive 2 hours later. 2 cops come to take the complaint when one of the cops who is black says that he should have killed the burglar. The father tells him yea there was a problem “it is too bad you don’t know what it is”. In this scene the father tells the cop indirectly that he is black too yet he is acting as if he wasn’t black. Singleton shows how little kids get into trouble stealing and how the kids walking around see dead people shot like nothing in alley ways and gang territories. Also Singleton shows how crack head mothers leave their kids unattended and almost get hit by a car. He shows that gangs and drugs destroy people’s lives with that poison called drugs. In another instance one of the characters is walking home when a car is passing by and stops right in front of him and in the rear one gangster pulls down the window and points a double barrel shot gun in his face and they laugh and sped off. Here you can see that for no apparent reason these individuals kill people who are innocent and are just walking by minding their business. Also while people are standing on the porch talking a thug comes up and snatches a chain off a guy’s neck and runs and is jumped by a gang and is beaten unconscious a trash can is even thrown on him he ends up totally smashed. In another instance a representative of USC comes to talk to one of the characters who is an aspiring football star and while he comes into the house helicopters are flying around and the other characters are on the way just hanging out on the porch. The character played by Lawrence Fishburne makes a great speech to his son and his friend as well as the people of the community. He tells them that the system wants black people to kill themselves by having gun shops and liquor stores in every corner while you don’t see that in Beverly Hills. He goes to explain that people must have their own property and money just like the Jews, Mexicans and Italians do. An old man supporting Fishburne points and tells the young people is you who are killing everyone with your guns and crack destroying people’s lives is a deep scene because it focuses on the truth the social problem gangs have created. Fishburne tells a young brother how he is doing just what the system wants for him to shoot another black man, he makes him realize that he has to think about his future and not waste his life on crime and violence. Fishburne’s son is tired of the shootings he wants to get out of L.A. and like many African Americans and other cultures and myself are tired of all these ridiculous gang savagery and violence this country needs to find a solution to gangs period. The aspiring foot ball star and Lawrence Fishburne’s son were walking around when the people in the car with the double barrel shot gun showed up. They try to escape but the aspiring foot ball star is shot to death for no apparent reason just because they felt like shooting him. Again these shows that aspiring young African Americans who are working toward achieving something in their lives are brought to an abrupt end by these gangs who destroy their future for no reason is like they walk around the street as if there was no law. Finally his brother avenges his death and shoots all the guys that killed his brother. This is the vicious cycle that we see daily from gangs you kill me now I come kill you and it never ends and the innocent get killed along the way too who had nothing to do with their problems. This is a very serious situation and something has to be done to get gangs off the streets. As we can see gangs contribute to the detriment of society and their drugs and violence destroy poor neighborhoods. Innocent people die every day from drive bys and shoot outs and they were just walking home. As Ice Cube song portrays “why me” it describes why innocent people have to die because of these street psychos. These gangs make African Americans as well as other cultures feel ashamed, and make many people in poor neighborhood have low self esteem to only think that gangs are the only way out of poverty and to a better life. When in fact gangs are the major problem that has belittle poor neighborhoods and made them ghettos of street wars. Precious young lives lost because of egotistical, selfish people who only think about themselves and don’t think of what they are doing to themselves and society. Hopefully someday if God permits President Barack Obama might find a solution to this serious problem and he has shown to African Americans as a role model that you can do anything you wish if you work hard enough now there is no excuse for African Americans to say the system is keeping them down. Barack Obama accomplished what was thought to be the impossible. Therefore he is living proof that dreams come true and that the color of your skin is not an obstacle to achieving greatness. Barack Obama has given African Americans hope and even the members of gangs are proud to see a black man become president. BIBLIOGRAPHY ROSS KEMP ON GANGS OF L.A. SKY 1 Site / Report title: Institution: WWW.ONLINEDOCUMENTARIES4U.COM URL: Electronically published: 10 September 2008 Day Month Year Date accessed: 06 January 2009 Day Month Year ONLINE SOURCE CRIME IS NOT A PROBLEM LETHAL VIOLENCE IN AMERICA BOOK: Report title: Advanced info: III FIRST III Vol. Edition Series Publication info: OXFORD NEW YORK 1997 Publisher City Year Pages: 74 87 Start End Pages are nonconsecutive AUTHORS: FRANKLIN E. ZIMRING & GORDON HAWKINS NEWSPAPER: THE NEW YORK POST ARTICLE: GANGS OF NEW YORK AUTHOR: BRAD HAMILTON DATE: 10/28/07 MAGAZINE: VIBE TITLE: HIP HOP MURDERS-TUPAC, BIGGIE AND JAM MASTER JAY AUTHOR: DERRICK PARKER DATE: 04/06/2005 PAGE: 159 MOVIE: BOYZ N THE HOOD YEAR: 1991 DIRECTED BY: JOHN SINGLETON TEXT: CREATING BLACK AMERICANS AUTHOR: NELL IRVIN PAINTER PAGE: 336 “GRAND MASTER FLASH” TEXT: HIP HOP HYSTERIA AUTHOR: SALIM MUWAKKIL PAGE: 335 QUOTE: “ HIP HOP CULTURE FOR YEARS HAS BEEN THE REPRESENTATION OF CRIMES, DRUG ABUSERS, AND POLICE BRUTALITY, BUT HAS GROWN SINCE 1998 AS A TOP CHART SELLING MUSICAL FORMAT”.