Racial Tensions between Blacks & Mexicans in Los Angeles are growing
Streetgangs.com Staff Writer
July 1, 2006
One of Los Angeles’ dirty little secrets is the rising tension between Blacks & Mexicans which is a situation that is being swept under the rug by the media, politicians, law enforcement and researchers, but for about 12 years, this has been a growing concern for residents in South LA, the South Bay area and the Westside. This conflict has manifested itself on several levels from the prisons, to high schools, among the gangs and subtly in local politics. The local print & broadcast media has nearly ignored this story completely, with the exception of FOX 11 News who produced a few stories on several murders in Compton between Black and Hispanic gang members back in 2001, but as I see it, each year in Los Angeles, the conflict between Blacks and Browns although small, is growing and the murders are slowly climbing.
From the 1940s through the early 1990s in Los Angeles, Hispanic & Black gangs rarely engaged in conflict, exhibiting more solidarity between the two groups. But something changed in the early 1990s, and conflict between Blacks and Hispanics were increasing. There has been much speculation on the root causes to the conflict, ranging from expanding drug markets, gang turf conflict, demographic and population shifts, and the California Prison influence.
Conflict between the groups has occurred at several High Schools, including Inglewood, Centennial, Luzinger, Jordan Downs and Hawthorne High Schools. Some of the first gang conflicts occurred in the Venice area of Los Angeles between the Culver City 13 Boys and Venice Shore Line Crips and soon thereafter, the 18th Street gang (Hispanic gang) were warring with the Black P Stones (Black gang). Today there are over a dozen areas in Los Angeles where this conflict is currently active and its tenticles are spreading to other pockets in the region.
In Highland Park the Avenues gang since the late 1990s have been actively using aggressive violent tactics to discourage black residents from living in the area. Using pre-1940s lynch mob metality, the Avenues have resorted to murder to send a message to Blacks; get out and don’t come back. Just last month, jury selection began for the murders of Christopher Bowser who was gunned down on December 11, 2000 and Kenneth Kurry Wilson, 38, who was also murdered in Highland Park. Several Avenue 43 members have been federally indicted for their role in the murders in Highland Park.
On June 30, 2006, several Hispanics were shot and murdered on East 49th Street near Central Ave in South LA. There is a bit more print media coverage of this shooting, but the racial element is always being downplayed, suggesting that the problem between Blacks & Browns is not that serious. In fact Mayor Villaraigosa stated that although the assailants of the murders on 49th Street are Black and the victims are Hispanic, there is nothing to suggest that these crimes were racially motivated. Time will tell to reveal the motive in this recent multiple murder, but there does not appear to be enough vocal outrage about the plight of Black/Brown relations in Los Angeles.
Although major conflict between Blacks and Hispanics gangs can be traced back to 1993 in Los Angeles, mainstream media, print and television, had given little attention to this growing problem during the 1990s while I was trying to bring this story to the forefront. Even after the Highland Park murders in 1999, both the Los Angeles Times & Los Angeles Daily News passed up on this story until five years later when the Federal Government charged those involved. Fox 11 News in Los Angeles were the first to call me on this issue back in 2002 when they wanted to do a story on me and suggested one on the on Black / Brown conflict in Compton.
The Brown / Black conflict predates any serious gang conflict in LA by a few years. As early as 1990, there have been tensions between Mexicans and Blacks at Jordan, Manual, and Inglewood High schools in 1990. In 1999, Inglewood High School cancelled their Black History events and Cinco de Mayo activities to prevent on campus violence. Even in 1990, school officials were downplaying any racial problems at their schools.
Below are some stories on this conflict in Los Angeles
Longtime prejudices, not economic rivalry, fuel tensions., Jan 7, 2007, LA Times
A Latino gang member is the second man held in a black teen’s death, Jan 6, 2007
Can the venerable black-Latino coalition survive the surge in Hispanic power?
, July 3, 2006 – Newsweek [ first mainstream article on the topic since USA Today article of 1999]