Essay on Class and Culture in Urban American

3803 Words 16 Pages
Class and Culture in Urban American

A gang is a loosely organized group of individual people who join forces for social reasons. Or anti-social reasons depending on how one looks at it. A person may join a gang for numerous reasons. These reasons include the need for “identity, discipline, recognition, love, money, and belonging.” 5 “Today there are approximately 274 Blood and Crip gangs in Los Angeles County alone.” 1 The gangs that are often in the news are usually made up of African-Americans. “African-Americans first formed street gangs in the late 1920s and early 1930s on the east side of Los Angeles near Central and Vernon Avenues. They were also forming in the downtown area of Los Angeles around the same time.” 4
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I will look into how the Bloods and Crips started, why gang violence is on the rise, violence in our nations schools, women in gangs, how sports teams and their logos are used for a gang and their identities, and finally, I will look into two specific instances where gang violence occurred and the lives of many innocent victims were lost.

The Bloods and the Crips had rather inauspicious beginnings. The gangs started much like any other group or club. They had to establish a name for themselves. The gangs had to do impressive things, and seem tough or intimidating if they wanted respect. In the early 1970s they were not many Crips gangs. “The word Crip is a derivative of the word Crib.” 1 The word crib is slang for where one lives, or a person house. Soon Crips gangs began springing up all over. “Near Freemont High School there were Eastside Crips, across the Harbor Freeway is where the Westside Crips were, and in Compton there were the Compton Crips.” 1 The man that gets most of the credit for starting these Crip gangs is Raymond Washington. He did not start the Crips for any reason, except that he looked up to a group of older boys, who had been rolling together, in a small gang called the Avenue Boys. Raymond Washington liked what he saw and he started his own gang at the age of fifteen. Two of Raymond’s friends from his younger days at Freemont High also get some credit for helping to get the gang on its
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