Gangs: “The Crips” Brother Against Brother (Part I)

The most violated civil rights are Black self-deceptions, cultivated from the seeds of slavery. ©️2020 JonAk-Rush Hour/AmericaOnCoffee (AOC)

…. And ‘Black Men’ are notorious for addressing one another as “Brother or Bro” and using the identity that: “He is a Brother”.

Matt 10:21
“But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

The Crips are a gang based in the coastal regions of southern California. They were founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1969, mainly by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. Once a single alliance between two autonomous gangs, they are now a loosely connected network of individual “sets”, often engaged in open warfare with one another.

Their members traditionally wear blue clothing, a practice that has waned somewhat due to police crackdowns specifically targeting gang members. Historically, members have been primarily of African American heritage.

The Crips are one of the largest and most violent associations of street gangs in the United States. With an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members in 2008, they have been involved in murders, robberies and drug dealing, among other crimes.

The Crips have a long and bitter rivalry with the Bloods.

Stanley Tookie Williams met Raymond Lee Washington in 1969, and the two decided to unite their local gang members from the west and east sides of South Central Los Angeles in order to battle neighboring street gangs. Most of the members were 17 years old. Williams discounted the sometimes cited founding date of 1969 in his memoir, Blue Rage, Black Redemption.

Gang activity in South Central Los Angeles has its roots in a variety of factors dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, including post-World War II economic decline leading to joblessness and poverty, with racial segregation leading to the formation of black “street clubs” by young African American men who were excluded from organizations such as the Boy Scouts, and the waning of black nationalist organizations such as the Black Panther Party and the Black Power Movement.

By 1978, there were 45 Crips gangs, called sets, operating in Los Angeles. They were heavily involved in the production of PCP, marijuana and amphetamines. On March 11, 1979, Stanley Tookie Williams, a member of the Westside Crips, was arrested for four murders and on August 9, 1979, Raymond Washington was gunned down. Washington had been against Crip infighting and after his death several Crip sets started fighting against each other.

The Crips leadership was dismantled prompting a deadly gang war between the Rollin’ 60 Neighborhood Crips and Eight Tray Gangster Crips which began causing nearby Crip sets to choose sides and align themselves with either the Gangster Crips or Neighborhood Crips waging an all out war in South Central and other cities.

The East Coast Crips and the Hoover Crips directly severed their alliance after Washington’s death. By 1980, the Crips were in turmoil, warring with the Bloods and against each other. The growth and power of the gang really took off in the early 1980s when crack cocaine hit the streets.

In the early 1980s, Crips sets began distributing crack cocaine in Los Angeles. The huge profits from distribution of crack cocaine induced many Crips to establish new markets in other cities and states.

As a result, Crip membership grew steadily and by late 1980s they were one of the largest street gangs in the country. In 1999, there were at least 600 Crips sets with more than 30,000 members transporting drugs in the United States.

Some sources suggest that the original name for the alliance, “Cribs”, was a name narrowed down from a list of many options, and chosen unanimously from three final choices, which included the Black Overlords, and the Assassins. Cribs was chosen to reflect the young age of the majority of the gang members.

The name “Cribs” evolved into the name “Crips” when gang members began carrying around canes to display their “pimp” status. People in the neighborhood then began calling them cripples, or “Crips” for short.

A Los Angeles Sentinel article in February 1972 referred to some members as “Crips” (for cripples).Another source suggests “Crips” may have evolved from “Cripplers”, a 1970s street gang in Watts of which Raymond Washington was a member.

The name had no political, organizational, cryptic, or acronymic meaning, though some have suggested it stands for “Common Revolution In Progress”, a backronym.

According to the film Bastards of the Party directed by a member of the Bloods, the name represented “Community Revolutionary Interparty Service” or “Community Reform Interparty Service”. Williams, in his memoir, further refuted claims that the group was a spin-off of the Black Panther Party or formed for a community agenda, the name “depicted a fighting alliance against street gangs—nothing more, nothing less.” Washington, who attended Fremont High School, was the leader of the East Side Crips, and Williams, who attended Washington High School, led the West Side Crips.

A Crip gang signal

Williams recalled that a blue bandana was first worn by Crips founding member Buddha, as a part of his color-coordinated clothing of blue Levi’s, a blue shirt, and dark blue suspenders. A blue bandana was worn in tribute to Buddha after he was shot and killed on February 23, 1973, which eventually became the color of blue associated with Crips.