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Friday, 24 June 2011

Crips & Bloods: Made in America

I watched this documentary with my boyfriend last night (thank you netflix) and it opened my eyes in a way I never imagined.  I never suspected I would walk away from this film feeling empathetic towards such violent gang members, but that is exactly how feel now and why I'm writing this today.

The film begins with the history of oppression against black people in America.  It is truly heartbreaking.  As a white person, I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to be rejected, excluded, hated and feared every single day because of the color of my skin.  Think of the racism that exists in our society today and multiply it a thousand times over and you might start to get an idea of what it was like for black Americans 60 years ago.  I would be pissed off, too.

In LA county over 15,000 people have died in gang related deaths in the past 20 years.
"If you had 15,000 people killing each other in any other country there would be diplomats, there would be mediators.  It would go to the UN."
But instead of it going to the UN, everybody just goes to jail.   According to the film, 1 in 4 black men in America will end up in jail at some point in their lives.  It has been alleged that this insane statistic is simply a more politically correct way of enslaving blacks all over again.  Why is it that prisons are comprised of roughly  50 percent black people when they make up only 13 percent of the overall US population?  Something must be done.  You can blame poverty, poor education, high police presence in poor urban areas or you can just say it's all their fault if you want to be like that, but that doesn't change the fact that these statistics must change.

If all of these black men are in prison, it's no wonder their children stray to gangs.  Over half of the black children in America come from single parent households and 91.4% of black single parents are women.  Many of these women are forced to work two or more jobs in order to support their families.  That leaves their children unsupervised, starved for love and searching for a male role model.  All of which gangs can provide to them.  These gangs can also provide them with safety.  This war between the Bloods and the Crips has been going on longer than these kids were alive.  If they were unlucky enough to be born into the wrong place, they are raised to be hard and raised to fear for their lives.  Some people have spent their entire lives within a ten block radius because they are afraid that if they go beyond those invisible boundaries, they'll be shot.  Is it any wonder they desire the protection they feel a gang will give them.  Recent studies have shown that kids living in south central LA are showing higher symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder than kids in Baghdad.

The overwhelming sense I got from watching this documentary is that these gang members don't want things to be like this.  I'm not saying I condone the things they've done, I don't.  But I think they don't want to kill people, they don't want to live in fear and they don't want their children to repeat the cycle and end up like them.  They want change.  There is little government funding towards this, but several independently financed organizations are starting to make changes.  If you would like get involved, or purchase this documentary please visit

It's also available on youtube in clips or you can view it in it's entirety on

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