February 14, 2007

Gang Evolution

I just watched an HBO documentary called "Bastards of the Party", which is a history of gangs in L.A., directed and produced by a reformed Blood.

There is so much I want to say about this amazing doc. It's heartbreaking. It's enraging. It's hopeful. But I think, as usual, the film speaks for itself.

But, just so you can have a sense for how deep and unexpected this story is, consider these two points:

1. when they say "Bastards of the Party", the "party" in question is The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. And just what is the connection between the Panthers and the modern-day gangbangers?

One word:

COINTELPRO.

If I may paraphrase Snoop Dogg, if you don't know what COINTELPRO is, you better ask somebody.

2. You want to know the name of the earliest recorded street gang in L.A.? "The Spook Hunters". Those of you who don't have a Black person over the age of 50 in your life on a regular basis may not know that "Spook" used to be a fairly common racial slur for Black people. And, no, the name was not intended to be ironic. The Spook Hunters were a WHITE gang who rode around town looking for uppity negroes to beat-up, harass, and perhaps even kill. So the original street gang in the City of Angels was basically a beautified, L.A. version of the Ku Klux Klan.

If you have HBO, chances are, you have HBO on Demand, which means you can watch this documentary for free anytime you want.

Watch it tonight. It might blow your mind.
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