One aspect where the two groups are in sharp contrast is in the targets of their racial prejudice. The Neo-Nazis are a white supremacist group, whose ideology includes elements of militant nationalism, xenophobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism. They are identified by their tonsured heads and call themselves the Fourth Reich – following up from Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Despite such a regressive socio-political agenda, the organization manages to thrive in several countries across the world. The Crips, on the other hand is a small entity confined to a metropolitan quarter. Even in terms of their politics, the neo-Nazis are at the far right of the political spectrum. The Crips, though not actively political can be located on the left. (Musto, 2001, p.49)
In the two documents perused for this essay we see how the characters of Kody and Derek epitomize what it means to be a Crip or a neo-Nazi. Their lives were very precarious, dramatic and eventful. Often pushing or breaking the limits of law, their indulgences, follies and indiscretions were theatrical and morally dubious at once. Their personal stories, however engaging and thrilling they may be for the audience, cannot be set as example for children. In many ways, they both represented the darkest facets of their respective organizations. Their biographies share the theme of how not to ruin one’s life.
Hence, what we have learnt through the study of Crips and Neo-Nazis is how volatile underground culture can be. The members of these groups lived each day as if it could be their last. While they make good material for adventure novels, their impact on real society is decidedly negative. But one cannot apportion blame on individuals who gravitate toward these groups, for it is victims of social injustice who end up joining these groups. Hence social policy makers, instead of taking a retributive attitude toward the social menace, will have to look at prevention and timely intervention. A constructive idea is to identify high risk children in schools and given proper guidance and support.
American History X, Produced by John Morrissey, Distributed by New Line Cinema in 1998.
Sanyika Shakur, Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member, published by Grove Atlantic Books in 1993
Hagedorn, John M. (2008), A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States:University of Minnesota Press
Musto, David F. (2001). “Opium, Cocaine and Marijuana in American History”. Scientific American 265 (1): 40–47.
Dichiara, A. And Chabot, R. (2003) ‘Gangs and the Contemporary Urban Struggle: An Unappreciated Aspect of Gangs’, in Gangs and Society: Alternative Perspectives. New York: Columbia University Press.