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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”.

				
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