An Open Letter To The Bloods And The Crips

And the Boule, and the Nation Of Islam, and the New Black Panthers, and…
by S.R. Torris

One would have a legitimate argument if they insisted it a waste of time writing a letter to street gangs. You are ruffians and thugs, the lot of you, who spend little time entertaining constructive ideas – much less reading.

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But the truth is you do read. Some of you even write and not always with an aerosol can. A lot you have the aptitude for being CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. That last sentence may have elicited a few chuckles but a well run, RICO investigated street gang is just as ruthless and makes just as much money as a multinational corporation. I’ve participated in many a conversation where I realize the only difference between the two is the language they use. Whether the “block is hot” or the “SEC is breathing down our neck”, the sentiment is the same even if the jail time isn’t.

So why bother to write anything in the first place?

It’s easy to point out halfway drunk ideologues wearing funny costumes if they are not part of your group. It is a whole lot tougher when you have to cast the mirror on yourself. I’ve had this particular conversation before and it makes me tired.

Black people, African-Americans, Negroes, Coloreds, niggas, Chuck, or whatever

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“people of color” concede to call each other these days (we’ll stick with “Black” here) should be running the country. I’m not talking about some “history making”, oh-look-what-we-did, symbolic figurehead who’s been disrespected since the moment Justice Roberts botched up the swearing in process or some minced mouthed shuckin’-n-jivin’ entertainer, I’m talking legitimate progression for the future of America. Some will feel like this is taking over the world speak but I want to see contribution to the global community by Black folks – I’m talking quality of life here.

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There’s a crisis going on in the white part of town. Drop out rates are on the rise; many can’t survive on a High School diploma. America doesn’t “make” anything anymore; there has been a foreign invasion where not one bomb was dropped, yet the foreigners are winning. The Bell Curve has been bent out of shape and the President is a Black guy. Wholesale foreclosures threaten the very idea of the quaint, Main Street, small town ethos. Greedy banks are stuck with properties they’d rather have someone in, this way they continue to make money. There’s a wealth of opportunity for Blacks to pick up the slack and go far in the process. Instead, you are on a trajectory backwards to a place worse off than we were during the time of slavery.

We know the tale, it’s been repeated over-and-over: “The White Man” a story by

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Whining Negro with foreword by White Guilt Masterson. The White Man is holding the Black man back. The White Man made the Black man and woman slaves. The White Man raped Black women. The White Man won’t let Black men or women live in his neighborhood or go to his schools or give them a good job… OK, this knowledge has been documented all kinds of ways but what’s your solution? One group of you puts on a blue handkerchief and the other group dons a red handkerchief, you get some high powered assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns and do the most logical thing you can – kill each other! By the way, doing this makes the diabolical White Man richer in the process.

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For the most part, “it’s hard out here in the streets” claims are no longer exclusive to Black people. The White Man is not the same ominous entity of the 18th and early 19th centuries. And no matter how big they say their balls are you won’t see the Ku Klux Klan marching in full regalia down the tough streets of Newark or down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn or slow rolling through Compton or Decataur. But they used to do that, have a full forward march right through Black neighborhoods, as scared citizens could do nothing but watch in fear and frustration.

You guys have rendered them useless; too bad it’s because you’re killing each other at alarming rates.

Yes, you all are putting up statistics that rival both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. As I write this, there are body counts in Chicago, Queens, Louisville, Los Angeles, and Miami that are tallying higher as time ticks on. Of course, you can’t limit your assholery to each other. Grandparents, working people, party goers just out for a good time always get caught in the crossfire.  And children – most of the time it’s the good ones. How much potential have we lost to a stray bullet? Potential world leaders, potential doctors, potential scientists are gone all because some guy was wearing the wrong color. Or one of you idiots looked at another one of you idiots five seconds longer than the idiot requirements allow. Or here’s one of the best reasons, because someone showed up on the wrong block and your crew owns that block.

But you don’t anything and that’s tragic.

You don’t own the house you live in nor do you own the apartment or the apartment

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complex. Your contribution to the block is to help distribute illicit pharmaceuticals and create a hostile living environment. How about that on a résumé? By virtue of the block being beneath your feet it is below you, so you do not have to “hold it down”. It’s made of cement that you don’t own, which happens to be some sturdy material. The block will be fine. But that mother who has one less child because you had to “rep your set” and bullets don’t have eyes, well she’s another story entirely, now isn’t she?

To try and convince you that you are so much better than this is fruitless because many have, with little success. To ask you to go back to your annals, study your origins so that you realize Bloods and Crips weren’t started to become this deadly criminal enterprise is disheartening, as you have already inhaled the magical ether that makes you love The White Man so much you hate yourself. There are people coming to this country for the expressed purpose of blowing it up – they hate America. Domestic terrorists use the old moving-truck-filled-with-cow-shit bomb and blow up buildings with people still in them. But not you guys. You are angry with The White Man but you’ll shoot a rival gang member who most always is Black. Once he’s dead, you shoot him again at his funeral or some other kind of savagery that gets displayed on the local news for all to see. And you’re offended because immigrants don’t want to live in neighborhoods where you are nor do they wish to associate with you. That’s not them having a haughty attitude toward Black people (not in all cases), they have what you’ve tossed out the window to The White Man – hope. Hope breeds a future and you all live like you don’t have one.

Which brings me to the absurdity of the New Black Panther Collective, the Nation of

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Islam, and other well-groomed poverty pimps. Crisp black fatigues creased just so with matching black Beret skewed at the proper angle and shiny black combat boots, make for an impressive spectacle. Even more is the Nation, dressed in their Sunday best, shoes spit-shined with clean bowtie perfectly horizontal. The very thing that the Nation of Islam accused Malcolm X of doing, they’ve become. It’s more about personality branding and product sales rather than the spreading of Islam and liberating the so-called Negro as Malcolm X did in the past. I doubt a great many in the Nation of Islam can even read, write, or speak fluent Arabic much less any other language that would allow them direct access to their peers across the ocean.

Anti-America speech coupled with aggressive marching and spitting on the American flag accomplishes what? I would be willing to bet that the founding fathers of the Black Panther Party see the incarnation you’ve created as pure buffoonery. The original Black Panther Party wanted the power to be with the people, all of the people, not a few loud talking egotistical Black guys flashing sticks and guns looking for a YouTube or other type of media moment. They wanted an end to police brutality and better living – in America!

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When you get enough sputum and boot tread on the American flag, where do you plan to live? Libya? Zimbabwe? The Sudan? Germany where there is The White Man who speaks a different language than you do? It’s admirable to point out the injustices and mistakes this country continues to make with regard to its Black populous but what are you doing to be a part of the solution besides looking for a photo-op?

I have news for you: reparations for Black people in this country will never happen. The ripple effects of America doing such a thing would be felt around the globe for generations. The White Man’s progeny in America doesn’t feel it fair to give Black people reparations besides, where is it going to come from? Many, unaware of their privilege because of the head start given to America through the legacy of slavery, feel it would be punishing them for something they had nothing to do with. And you think marching on a flag, cursing the place you were born (and currently live), trying to convince others they have no stake in a land they pretty much help build to become the greatest country on Earth, and calling The White Man the devil is going to fix the problem? You guys are worse than the gangbangers and you’re supposed to be enlightened.

Encourage Black kids to get educated. Tell them it’s not about The White Man, it’s bout those poor kids in China and Mumbai who are learning math and science under adverse conditions while Blacks are concentrating on the pursuit of the new Jordans at whatever cost. Convince them the world is waiting to hear their voice and not the whiny I’m-a-victim voice. The planet is becoming smaller each day. There was apartheid in South Africa, there is brutal slavery in the Sudan, rural poverty in China – the world is not going to care about Black people in the greatest economic powerhouse on Earth boo-hooing about an unfairness from four centuries ago. Do you think China is absorbing American debt with the thought of reparations on its mind? Yeah, OK.

You guys are all the same. Well not exactly the same, there are varying degrees of ridiculous, with the Boule and folks like them being the worst sort – they are the educated ones. They’re successful and know the deal but choose to sit back in wonderful homes or palatial estates judging from afar.

I get it, you’re royalty and royalty doesn’t commune with the commoners. If no one else of higher socio-economic educational status is expected to dwell beneath their station, why should it be expected of Black people?

Answer: You’re not different from those beneath you.

OK, you’re royalty, right? Well, Queen Elizabeth is not going to get pulled over in her

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Bentley while driving through a posh American neighborhood, you will. An orange-haired nutter massacred a bunch of innocent people trying to watch a movie. Do you think white kids with colorful hair are going to be profiled? No. A Black drug-dealing kingpin drives an Aston Martin. You work hard in a legal career and treat yourself to an Aston Martin; chances are you’re getting pulled over. Your children are going to be harassed by “the law” and one day the police might handcuff you, in your own house!

It’s guilt by associative complexion – you’re Black, you’re a suspect. And you are in a unique position to make a difference but you won’t. Hillary Clinton may have titled her book “It Takes A Village” but that particular bit of wisdom is an African proverb about raising children and like it or not all children are our future.

If Black people in America continue to devalue their lives, as demonstrated in today’s

Rap and R&B music, the mindless killing of each other, and the utter disregard for anything positive, you can’t expect anyone else to show you respect. It’s so easy for you to murder and say nothing as we disparage our neighbors why be mad when the police do it? Why have protests of outrage and panels of discontent when a white guy does it? You victimize each other on a daily basis, with no light at the end of a dark descending tunnel.

Boundaries are blurring. A vast sea is no longer enough to keep people from knowing

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each other. Bloods, Crips, everybody, we’re in this together and it’s time to lay down the burden of hate, anger, and a misplaced sense of entitlement. If we don’t make a concerted effort to change our condition we will, all of us, be dead weight – made in America. We will forever be “the entertainment” – singin’, dancin’, coonin’, or dunkin’ a basketball, or the help – cleaning the homes and businesses of our advanced immigrant counterparts, and the Chinese, and of course, The White Man.

Now to some of you that might sound cool but the head monkey in a cage is still in a cage.

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