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Inside The Crips: Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang Paperback – 14 Nov 2006
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From the Inside Flap
Simpson was an elite gang soldier, loyal to a fault, participating wholly in a system whose rules and unique ethics he quickly mastered. But Simpsons run at the top of the Crips was cut off by betrayal, injury, and a prison stint that plunged him into an even fiercer war beyond gang violence: the war in Calapatria prison between the Crips and the corrections officers.
Its impossible not to care about the youth Simpson was, or about Simpsons fellow gangbanger Smiley, or about Gina, the long-suffering friend and mother of two sons who eventually married Simpson in prison. INSIDE THE CRIPS is an intimate detailed look at gang life in the 1970s-1990s, and at the same time a story of both buoyant camaraderie and devastating loss. It places the reader in the center of the rush that comes from participating in gang violence and puts the extraordinary life and times of one Crip into a larger context.
From the Back Cover
.."(an) arresting memoir..."---Entertainment Weekly
Colton "C-Loc" Simpson was a Crip. Beginning at the age of ten in the mid-1970s, Simpson's world was defined in terms of war. By the time he quit, Simpson had risen through the ranks to become Stabilizer and later, General.
Simpson was the son of Dick Simpson, a ballplayer for the California Angels and Cincinnati Reds, but even before he became a gangbanger, his life was rough. Raised by his grandmother in South Central L.A., Simpson didn't so much turn to the streets as become engulfed by them: without asking to become part of the gang, his forced induction into the Crips meant running down an alley while the members opened fire on him.
INSIDE THE CRIPS is Simpson's unstinting account--emotional, violent, ugly and tender--of life inside a gang. You'll meet intense characters such as Smiley, Simpson's fellow gangbanger, and heartbreaking ones such as Gina, the mother of two young sons who married Simpson in prison.
"The book provides a window into an often misunderstood way of life."--Publishers WeeklySee all Product description
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After growing up on the streets of South-Central Los Angeles, being ‘initiated’ into the Crips at 10 years of age, shooting people, robbing jewellery stores, shooting more people, robbing more jewellery stores and spending more than a decade in some of the toughest prisons in America where war between Blacks, Mexicans, Whites, Bloods and even separate Crip sections is an ongoing source of violence and death he’s come full circle. But – and this is a huge BUT – he’s such a bloody racist, and I just can’t offer a racist a 5 Star review.
I detest racism of any kind. I hate the ignorance of it. I’ve worked with tough Poles, lazy Somalians, hard-working Lithuanians and Bulgarians, friendly Romanians, fun-loving Sikhs and quiet Muslims. And I absolutely despise and abhor the kind of racism that Simpson, or Li’l Cee Loc, preaches so openly in this book.
“My people are still enslaved by the White race.” No their not. They’re enslaved by themselves. They chose to commit those crimes. And your people, my arse! What does that mean? In the book you claim it’s the Black man. That would be the Black man that’s spent decades shooting and killing other Black men, I suppose. Yeah right, your people …..
And what is this White Race? Hungarian? Romanian? Italian? Lithuania? Scottish? Which race? White isn’t a race, Colton Simpson, it’s a colour. How can you apportion blame onto ALL people of a white colour? How is it the white man’s fault?
“At last the system has turned me from a human being to just another number.” Not really, Li’l Cee. Your own CHOICES turned you from a human being to just another number. Really, does society deserve to have to put up with the likes of Li’l Cee Loc?
“1.6 percent of White men between 20 and 34 are in prison (Simpson’s figures not mine), 12 percent of Black men 20 to 34 are in prison. My people are still enslaved.” They’re your figures Simpson and they speak for themselves, don’t they? I checked out some other stats. Black people make up about 30% of the population of the United States, and 60% of the prison population. Now regardless of whom you committed your crimes against society had decided that it had earned a well-deserved rest from your activities. It had absolutely nothing to do with the colour of anybody’s skin.
“Judge Cecil J. Mills peers over his glasses and says, ‘Well now Mr Simpson. Don’t you dare look at me like that,’” and Li’l Cee honestly doesn’t understand how the judge thinks he’s being antagonistic. But I understand it. Li’l Cee’s look is common to the streets of South-Central L.A., in particular the areas of Compton, Watts and Inglewood. And I know that because in the early eighties I worked that area as a White English cab driver. I possibly know more about those areas and the people who live in them than any other Englishman alive.
And I’ll tell you something for nothing. They were such a miserable crowd, not giving a toss about manners, respectability or even cleanliness. Their homes were greasy, foul and noxious, their personalities were out for the count, and they never, ever smiled. The only thing that came close to a smile would be a derisory snigger or a mocking catcall. And they had such a chip on their shoulders. Always bitching about how the white man had screwed them over.
And that may be true. Black people definitely had a raw deal in the old slavery days, but no small measure of irony creeps in here when we realize that the Moors - Muslims who eventually settled in North-West Africa - laid waste the coasts of Europe, taking slaves that were sold in the markets of Venice. In the early 9th century the Vikings took over the slave trade - the word commemorates the fate of the Slavic people - and sold them to rich Muslims in the Eastern Mediterranean. But Muslims were the world's first slave traders. I only speak the truth.
However, the way that Black people were treated in the south of America in the 50’s and 60’s was disgusting. But Native Americans and Jews have been treated far, far worse over the centuries, and you don’t hear them whinging about it, do you?
Coloured people really don’t do themselves any favours by turning the neighbourhoods they live in, in whatever city of the world they happen to be, into trouble spots and danger areas. It’s a well-documented fact that a large proportion of the crime in London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles is focused around the Black communities.
Why is this? Are White people to blame? Of course not. For if that were the case then the Jewish sections in countries like Russia and Germany would also be ‘no-go’ areas where prostitution, drugs and homicide are a daily form of misery, fear and death.
When Pulitzer prize-winning writer, Edwin Way Teale, wrote in 1953 that, “It is not races but individuals that are noble and courageous or ignoble and craven or considerate or persistent or philosophical or reasonable,” what he was really saying was that a whole race of otherwise well-adjusted, well-dressed and well-read people get the blame when a high percentage of their individuals are troublesome.
But why are a high percentage of their individuals troublesome? I don’t know. It’s just the way they are. Lack of effective role models as parents probably has a lot to do with it. But it’s not my fault, is it?
I’ve learned that there are a group of people, those who are so racist, so bigoted, so locked inside their own tiny little box of hate that the only way to deal with it is to accuse OTHER people of being racist.
A small portion of the ethnic minorities living in England and the USA have such a narrow focus that, for whatever reason, they live in a permanent state of hostility towards the (quote) White race (unquote). They may well have suffered trauma and persecution, but this has warped their mind-set and psyche to such an extent that they now hold ALL White people accountable for ill treatment their ancestors may have previously suffered, ever on the look-out for any imagined sign of abuse.
The persecuted has become so twisted that he has swapped places and is now himself the persecutor, intolerant of all White members of the community. These people who habitually fill their own minds with the rank poisons of hatred, suspicion and jealousy can get very upset at those who refuse to do likewise, and they find a perverted relief in actually accusing THEM of being racist, when of course it is the reciprocal outlook that is the truth.
Interesting how the perspective changes with the point of view, isn’t it?
So while this really is an excellent book and a fascinating read as we follow Simpson’s spirited, brave and it has to said foolhardy journey from Colton-to-Li’l Cee-to-Cee Loc-to-Colton again as he comes full circle and shares his campaign with us I just can’t give a racist a 5 Star.
This is one of the best books I’ve read about the Bloods and Crips, but with regret – for I believe Simpson to be, and to have always been, a very principled human being - I can only afford it a 3 Star.
I've long been fascinated by the bloods and crips war that rages in much of the united states especially in South Central Los Angeles. I had always passed it off as mindless violence, however while I still think this I understand more to the mentality of those who live the life and what goes on in their minds when they are doing what they do.
It's easy to pity the protagonist at the start and then dislike him as the book continues before he sees the light and you begin to feel for him once again and the hand that life handed him.
A worthwhile read.
Humans are a scary species.
Read this book.
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