Where You From? What Block?

Essay

My father is from Compton, but I am not. He grew up in one of the most infamous cities in America, “Straight Outta Compton”. Over the years, my father told me what it was like to growing up in Compton in the late 60’s to early 80’s. I never had to face the hardships that my father faced growing up in Compton. As a black, upper middle class young millennial woman, I am writing as an outsider and I am coming from a position of privilege. I understand my class privilege and I routinely check my class privilege. I remember being eleven years old when my father sat siblings and I down to watch a documentary called Bastards Of The Party. It was a documentary that detailed and unpacked the weighted history of Compton and its intersections of race and class politics, tracing its formation. Bastards Of The Party maps the history of Compton from the 50’s through the late 90’s and its close relationship to gangs. The history of sectioned neighborhoods, like Compton, is largely important in fully understanding African American history, African American culture, class culture and the class politics of today.

We live in a time where ‘clickbait’ culture runs rampant and grabbing despite knowing context has become The culture. I find it very problematic when white people miss use and appropriate hood/ gang culture.

A white person wears a red shirt and says, “haha 'I look like a blood :) !”

My reaction is: No you don’t.


or vice versa

A white person wearing a blue shirt, insinuating that they're embodying what they think to be a 'Crip', says: "Ain’t no blood bih!"

and My reaction: a very Long eye roll.


I understand that hood/gang culture is linked to hip hop culture, which considered pop culture nowadays. I also understand that artists make songs about these very things like: BPT (YG), Bicken Back Being Bool (YG), etc. Rap artists can arguably be seen as responsible for today’s viral misuse of gang/hood culture, but they have associations and ties with these specific contexts. They have direct ties to these histories and cultures. For example, YG grew up in Blood territory of Compton, as did Kendrick. YG, Kendrick, and various others are specifically telling us about where they are from. Their work tells us of their experiences; of what it was like to be a black male in these spaces. They are telling us exactly what they experienced living in Blood territory Compton.

In an Instagram post, a Kardashian wears a hat that says ‘Compton’ cocked to the side, while reclining on a yacht, on vacation (somewhere in the ocean, far away from Compton). Having no roots or specific ties with Compton, she is ‘repping’ Compton for ‘cool points’. (Repping – to represent a place. Usually a place that of which the person is from.) Further suggesting, Compton or ‘the hood’ is a costume; something to be worn in order make you look “cooler”, and nothing more.

I want to know what's so fascinating to privileged white people about ‘the hood’, when they are the ones that created the dehumanizing sectioning of neighborhoods, not only in Compton, but nationwide. Gangs emerged out of the racist sectioning of neighborhoods where Blacks and Latinos were sectioned off into specific parts of town because White people didn't want to live near them. This is what we call, white flight. White flight is the vast migration of white people moving in order to escape the arrival of minority people and their families. White flight is the case with Compton and all ‘the hoods’ across America. White people fled from these areas out of fear, treating minority people like animals, suggesting that they did not belong with the rest of society, sectioning them off into these ‘caged’ hoods that they could rarely, and can still rarely escape from. Compton was once an all white suburb of Los Angeles. During The Second Great Migration, waves of African Americans uprooted from the South, moving to industrial cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Oakland seeking jobs and better futures. In part of this Second Great Migration, In the 1950’s, Black people began moving to Compton with hopes of the ‘American Dream’, raising their families, owning homes, and building wealth. As a result of Blacks moving to Compton, White people fled from Compton moving to other suburbs in Los Angeles County, (creating what we know to be wealthy, white Orange County). Post white flight, Compton turned into a heightened militarized police state and the divestment of Compton caused the neighborhood to crumble.

“The Crips and Bloods are the bastard offspring of the political parties of the 60’s. So, out of the ashes of the Black Panther Party came gangs; Crips. Bloods.” – Cle ‘Bone’ Sloan, Bastards Of The Party

The Crips and Bloods were birthed after the Black Panther Party and all of its political leaders were sabotaged by the government. The Black Panther Party and other organizations, implemented to uplift and help provide support, functioned as stability for black communities and for black youth. Once these parties and organizations were spearheaded, some of Compton’s youth started taking matters into their own hands. The Bloods and Crips emerged out of the racist sectioning of Los Angeles County. As the sectioning occurred, white people were too afraid to go to these specific parts of town so there were things like highways and freeways built so that white people wouldn't even have to come in contact with these communities. Compton is sectioned off by four major freeways, interstate 110, interstate 710 , interstate 105, and California State Route 91. In the 60’s, with the newly implemented, militarization of police, Blacks were either beaten, threatened and or taken to jail for leaving their neighborhoods. This militarized police force made sure that Blacks did not set foot in the wealthy white neighborhoods and stayed quartered off to the confines of Compton.

For some people who are not privileged, gangs might be the only option. A young person in the hood might have gone down the wrong path due to the lack of options, resources in their community, or lack of chances, being a person of color.

A white kid with a stable family and trust fund doesn’t have to worry about that. They have white privilege, they have the resources, they have the access to education, they have the love and support from their family.

Why am i seeing a white kid with a trust fund saying she 'blooded out'? or spelling ‘fuck boy’: ‘fuccboi’?

Spelling ‘fucc’ with a double C is another eye roll. The double c stands for ‘Compton Crips’. ‘Fuck boy’ and ‘FUCCBOI’ are not the same thing. What block is she from? Maybe these millennial, pop culture crazed, young people, who have absolutely no association to these cultures are just spelling it this way to seem cooler or maybe they just are ignorant and don’t know. It's annoying seeing it rampant on the internet.

To our our white, millennial, pop culture crazed counterparts, I suggest ……. stop throwing around terms that you don’t know the context or meanings of.
What is your association to Bompton? Did you grow up in blood territory? No.

What is your association to 'Bompton' besides the fact that you stumbled upon a YG song? Nothing.

Why are u saying 'I'm blooded out' when you've never been to the hood in your life?

This seems to be like white kids trying to use the word Nigga. like no… and Don’t be white yelling “Gang, Gang!” around me.

Stop Romanticizing, Fetishizing, and Appropriating the hood and it's culture. Please make up your minds. Y’all don’t want live in the hood but you always want to grab from the hood. Stop. Know your place and know the boundaries. You can not come in and out of these spaces whenever you please. Don’t rep it, if you’re not from it. Be mindful. Associating yourself with ‘the hood’ when you have no direct tie or association is distasteful and trivializes the extreme realities of people who live in ‘the hood’. ‘Hood shit’ is real shit . It’s not a joke. It’s not a game and it should not be thrown around like some costume for your enjoyment.

Bastards Of The Party. Dir. Cle Shaheed Sloan. Fuqua Films. 2005. Film.



haleigh nickerson


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