The Crips and The Bloods: Made in America

The Crips and The Bloods
The Crips and The Bloods

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The Crips and The Bloods: Made in America

The documentary, “Crips and bloods: Made in America”, portrays the rise of gang life in Los Angeles and throughout the United States. Stacy Paralta presents the inherent growth of gang and crime life in the post-World War Two American Society. With the onset of the economic recession, the living standards of many Americans greatly deteriorated. Many young men found solace in deviant activities to manage the tough economic conditions.

Many youths in the United States Predominantly African-Americans, Hispanic and Latino’s were facing segregation in the access of services and opportunities. The current paper seeks to analyze the historical timeline of gangs and gang activities in south central Los Angeles as presented in the documentary, “Crips and bloods: Made in America”.

Racism during the economic recession led many marginalized American citizens to live in deplorable conditions. Greater resentment and mistrust of others among African-American communities emerged due to the inequality and injustice imposed against them.Brutality and victimization was at an all-time high, with injustices against African Americans in police arrests. In addition, there was open intimidation, with random police checks and a continued scrutiny of African-Americans. In August 1965, the Watts riots in Los Angeles were fueled by the arrest of African Americans for driving while drunk. This form of inequality stimulated deviance and development of gang life in American society.

Economic slowdown drastically reduced employment opportunities for marginalized groups and directed increased advocacy for equality. As a result,there was emergence of more civil disobedience and escalating violent demonstration to articulate the inequalities.The challenges had a significant impact on family structures where most children ended up as orphans due to crime. Further, owing to the tough economic situations, family members resorted to join gang life because of the economically lucrative and simple life. In addition, others saw these as a viable avenue of deviance to fight the banal inequality in the American society.

As presented by Stacy Paralta in the film, the Crips and the bloods gang were formed over 30 years ago in Los Angeles and have now spread to over 123 cities and 33 states in the United States. The Crips was established by two African-American students Raymond Washington and Tookie from South Central Los Angeles High School. It emanated from gang which was named “Baby Avenues” during the time in 1960’s. The motive of establishing the gang according to Raymond was for protection against other violent gangs committingcrimes.

            The Crips expanded to the most parts of the Los Angeles city with most of its activities based on the high school campuses. Initially, the Crips entailed three factions; the Eastside Crips, Westside Crips and the Compton Crips. According to the documentary, most of the other gangs within the area of Los Angeles affiliated, labelling of their gangs to the Crips. The criminal activities of the Crips revolved around extortion of other gangs, assault and robbery.The pioneer founders of the gang dissociated themselves from the gang. Raymond Washington was killed in 1979 and Tookie imprisoned for murder.

With the spiraling of the Crips dominance throughout Los Angeles, the Piru street boys, a gang composed of the mostly African-Americans emerged in the 1970’s. Both the Crips and Bloods had rituals for all the members before they join and also a symbol of loyalty. They had a membership of youths aged between fourteen to twenty-four. Further, the gangs were territorial exhibited brutal violence in their expansion. Initially, the gang was a set of the Crips until the confrontation of Sylvester Scott and Benson Owen by the Crips. They later broke off its membership after calling on other gangs victimized by the Crips which led to a serious conflict.

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The gang was formed to fight against the increasing dominance of the various Crip gangs in the city. Sylvester Scott and Vincent Owens created the gang based in West Piru Street in Compton Los Angeles. Piru street boys enjoyed new membership from members who exited the Crips. As a result, they formed an affiliation and was named the “bloods”gang. A serious feud between the Crips and the Bloods ensued which saw one of the most violent and bloody gang related killings in South Los Angeles.

The continued violence between the Crips and the Bloods was greatly fueled by the Narcotics trafficking business. In the 1980’s, inception of crack cocaine into the American market led to the increased gang based violence. The Crips and the Bloods are credited with most distributions and drug dealing activities throughout the United States. The fight for new territories among the two gangs has continuously sustained the highly violent feud. The high stakes in the drug business augmented the new heights in the crime the gangs are willing to engage in.

The gang life has gradually been entrenched into the popular American culture.Social organization of the youth have fostered the integration of practices such as graffiti and tattooing. These are very important symbols in the communicating among the gang members. In the education system, schools have become crucial socializing agents for induction of most teenagers into crime life. Crime norms and ideals are learnt through socializing with other students in addition to provision of incentives to joining crime life.

The high level of bullying evident in most high schools in America can be attributed to the gang socialization in community. In the business sector, gang life has permeated into the daily operation of legal businesses. Entrepreneurs engage in extortionists activities to solicit money and business deals. In addition, bribery and protection fees for businesses have become part of everyday business transactions.

In conclusion, the advent of gang life in the United States as depicted by the documentary is largely ascribed to economic challenges and social injustices. Most of gangs were formed to contest against the blatant segregation of African-Americans, Hispanics and Latino communities. Formation of these gangs disintegrated the conventional way of businesses and family operations. Bloody violence increased number of violent murders leaving many orphaned.  Furthermore, intimidation was entrenched as the new way of conducting business.


Stacy Peralta, S. G. (Writer), & Paralta, S. (Director). (2008). Bloodz &Crips – Made in America [Motion Picture]. Retrieved from

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