Monday, August 14, 2006

Gang Colors in LA

The Associated Press reports the apparently startling revelation that Hispanic and black gang members are sometimes motivated by - gasp! - racism when committing crimes against each other.

Alejandro "Bird" Martinez and a crew of fellow gangbangers were joyriding in a stolen van when they came upon a black man parking his car — and decided to kill him.

Three of them riddled Kenneth Kurry Wilson and his Cadillac with bullets from a .357-caliber revolver and a 9 mm semiautomatic and blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun.

This month, Martinez and three other members of the Avenues, a Hispanic gang entrenched in one Los Angeles neighborhood, were convicted of federal hate crimes usually tagged on white supremacists.

Although the slaying was seven years ago, the verdict this month was one in a series of reminders that racially motivated black and Hispanic gang violence is still a Los Angeles reality.

The notion that different non-white racial groups might harbor racial animosity toward each other astonishes no one who has lived in a multi-ethnic city, certainly not anyone living in New York or Los Angeles, but among the leftwing multiculturalist elites, such ideas are abomination. Only whites can be racist, their argument goes, since racism requires power to impose itself and non-whites are perennially powerless in the faceof white supremacy. Of course, this is a gross distortion of the definition of racism, but one necessary to justify the multiculturalist agenda, and to cover up the abundant evidence of its failures. It is also a linguistic ruse needed to morally justify the left and its social-political agenda. But as mulitculturalism has become the entrenched policy of federal, state and local governments, the chorus proclaiming this inanity in the face of overwhelmin evidence has become vociferous. Nevertheless, sometimes the reality is so stark, people begin chaffing against imposed ideological rules of thought.

While some police, academics and even gang members insist racism isn't a factor in the violence, a pair of headline-grabbing killings — of a Hispanic teen by a black assailant described by witnesses as yelling a gang name as he fled and a drive-by shooting by a pair of black gunmen who killed three Hispanics — suggest otherwise.

"If it's not race motivated, if it's not gang motivated, then what the hell is the motivation?" asked South Los Angeles activist Taylor Mayfield after the June 30 drive-by.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca cited tensions between black and Hispanic gangs as he redeployed deputies to the Compton area, where four people were killed in 20 gang shootings during one July weekend. And the federal prosecutor who oversaw the Avenues gang case announced plans to prosecute other gangs involved in race-based violence.

It appears that the racial animosity and violence long on display in the California prison system is driving the conflict between black and Hispanic gangs.

Complicating the current equation are gang members returning from prison, where joining a race-based gang is a means of survival. A war between Hispanic and black prison gangs set off a series of prison riots across California this year in which two people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

"The whole racial thing leaks out into the real world," said Joseph Holguin, 28, who grew up in an East Los Angeles public housing complex as a member of the Primera Flats gang.

In the Avenues case, an informant told the FBI the gang had received an order from the Mexican Mafia prison gang to kill all blacks on sight in their predominantly Hispanic Highland Park neighborhood. Leading up to Wilson's murder, members of the Avenues terrorized other blacks, shooting a 15-year-old boy on a bicycle, pistol-whipping a jogger and drawing outlines of human bodies in a black family's driveway.

The last mass outbreak of black-Hispanic gang warfare was in 1993 and 1994, when two Hispanic gangs took on the black Shoreline Crips, who had cornered drug sales in the beach community of Venice. Eleven people were killed in six months.

However, there appears to be a more immediate and profound case to the current wave of racial violence between black and Hispanic gangs: Hispanics are overwhelming black neighborhoods thanks to illegal immigration.

However, a war that began more than 10 years ago in South Los Angeles with a fight between a Blood and a member of the mostly Hispanic 18th Street Gang continues today.

Los Angeles gang feuds were historically black-on-black, but that changed in the 1990s when Hispanic immigrants moved to Compton and South Los Angeles homes that middle-class blacks were leaving.

The area was 80 percent black and 20 percent Hispanic in 1980, according to an analysis by University of California, Santa Cruz, professor Manuel Pastor. By 2000, it was 60 percent Hispanic, 40 percent black.

Resentment simmered between the recently arrived Hispanics and black holdouts.

"They would try to jump me for not being black," said Mario Bonilla, a 22-year-old Mexican immigrant who spent much of his childhood looking over his shoulder. "They resent us."

Don't try selling that to the elites in Berkeley. But they spend most of their time trying to ignore Mr. Bonilla and his kind anyway.


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