Review: Crips & Bloods

Program: Independent Lens “Crips and Bloods: Made in America”
Date: Tuesday, May 12
Time: 9 p.m.

Guns, knives, drugs…what could I be blogging about on a PBS station in regards to these three things?  The options are pretty narrow, but the answer is Independent Lens’ Made In America, a documentary airing on KLRU on May 12 about gangs in Los Angeles.

Like most people, I couldn’t say I knew much about the origins of the Bloods or the Crips, but Independent Lens certainly gave me a ton of insight.  African Americans were not allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts in Los Angeles, so they created their own social groups, based on geographic locations, they even had their own hand signs.  LA was highly segregated geographically; a black person dare not cross a street into a white community or risk being questioned and beat by the police.  As time progressed, the Community got fed up with the racism; they rioted, hence the Watts riot lasting for five days in 1965.  Following the riots, there were increased pledges to fix the poverty and issues in Los Angeles, but nobody followed through.  With conditions stagnant, family life in these communities was poor; the young came together once again in their geographically isolated groups, but this time, revolving around crime, territory and drugs.

Through interviews of people currently in gangs and former members, Made In America tells the story of the rise of gangs in America from their beginnings to present times.  Many of the former members interviewed have turned around and now risk their lives on a daily basis to bring the two groups together, as the one thing they have in common is that they are all “Made In America.”
– Jared Kastriner

About the reviewer: Jared works in KLRU’s onair marketing department helping create the promos viewers see between programs. He is a business major at the University of Texas.