By James "Hollywood" Macecari
Looking back. I was gifted to grow up in Chicago. The culture, the food and people remain some of the best in the world. Chicago is a city like no other. Growing up in Chicago there was always a saying among many the folks in the neighborhood. "If you can make it in Chicago, you can make it anywhere in the world." Its a saying I still believe in till this day. There is a whole different way people think in Chicago compared to the rest of the country. Most of us grew up in neighborhoods of where everyone looked out for each other. It was quite remarkable actually. Back in the good old days, as they say. If you screwed up as a kid the neighbor would spank that ass and order you home for your parents to spank that ass again. Different times now. Something like that wouldn't happen anymore, and it's a shame. Kids grew up with respect. They comprehended what it was like to help a neighbor out. Be a part of a community. Not so much anymore.
Neighborhood was everything back then. Each neighborhood maintained its own set of rules. Those rules were adhered to and enforced. Not by the police but by those that lived in the neighborhood. Some of the best street guys and hustlers you will ever meet, come from the multiple neighborhoods in Chicago. Men who taught us neighborhood kids more than any school would. They advised us about life. They taught us about the trials, and tribulations life would consistently throw at us. Most importantly they taught us how to be a man. This modern generation coming up I actually feel pretty sorry for. If they only got to experience growing up the way my generation did, they would possess a different look on life. They would succeed more than they do presently because we were constantly informed to fight for what we desired. We were taught never to give up on who we wanted to be or what we wanted to achieve.
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You ever hear the saying "You can take the kid out of the neighborhood but you can never take the neighborhood out of the kid?" Yeah, well its true. Even though I finally moved away from the neighborhood, it will never leave me. Christ! I still complain all these years later about where I'm at now. The food sucks, the people I cannot get use to and I still miss the sirens going off every night. What I believe I absolutely miss though is the people. People, well at least most of them in Chicago, are real. Maybe we all share that common bond no matter what neighborhood we were from. What I do know is once you get outside of Chicago the people seem more and more fake. Oh, by the way, those claiming to live in the burbs. YOU'RE not from Chicago so stop claiming it. It's funny, you have this one guy who was from Tinley Park on YouTube claiming to be Chicago. Yeah, Tinley Freaking Park.
So let's get to the subject of gangs. It's a term which is thrown around by not only law enforcement but everyone in general. Motorcycle Clubs suffers from its usage all the time in the press. Why? Because the press and public only see the dark side of a lot of these organizations. Most cannot and will not comprehend the true meaning behind them. Now personally I would never ever consider a motorcycle club in the same arena as some of the organizations out of Chicago. Sure, they are tough and on the surface they possess some of the organizational makeup of a street crew. But that's where the similarities end in my opinion. Street crews are usually made up of people in a specific neighborhood. Ones that have been around each other their entire lives. Most of the time entrance into the crews started as kids. Some as young as ten years old (As for myself it was 12). There was never a six month or year prospect period. No, the prospect period in a street crew out of Chicago was one of years and years. Years of building up your reputation and putting in the work as one would say. The only thing that mattered to anyone was that reputation in the neighborhood. The biggest question. Would you stand up for your neighborhood?
Here is where the media comes in. Newsflash! Just because people stand up for their neighborhoods don't make them immoral people or criminal. Sure, I'm not going to sit here and lie my ass off and say the crews didn't earn. I'm also not going to sit here and pretend money isn't considerable when it comes to the hustle. But the indisputable fact of the matter is crews wanted to make sure the neighborhood were safe and protected. God forbid we knew the cops wouldn't do their jobs. So men of honor and stature made sure the neighborhood was protected. This has actually been going on since the first tribes of humanity started springing up. Do you genuinely think the primal instinct we possess as humans would ever depart from us? Yeah, no! I'm sorry to say the liberal tree hugger way of thinking will never come to a reality. As long as there are a group of humans on the face of this earth, we will consistently be at each others throats.
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Like anything the media touches. They will always concentrate on the bad. They will always focus on what sells newspapers and subscriptions. You can see it every day when it comes to the portrayal of motorcycle clubs. The media favorite term is what? "Motorcycle Gangs." Well, the street crews of many neighborhoods have suffered the identical type of fate. Sure, do some deserve the title? I guess. If you're out there making headlines or doing something stupid then of course you will get labeled. What don't I particularly like? The fact its always the bad put in the public arena. The good is never put out there. Especially the fact on how in particular parts of a neighborhood is safer because people of the neighborhood make certain it is. Enforce customs which have been around for centuries to make it that way. No, its never mentioned because it doesn't sell. One thing I do take comfort in? The neighborhood don't pay attention to all the noise. Even now a days most neighborhoods in Chicago still believe in family and neighborhood first.
I think this is the precise reason why people who grew up in Chicago take offense to carpetbaggers. Especially ones who think they were on top of some type of hierarchy in the city. These people didn't know the city or streets at all. They lived off others who were from the city. Sorry to say. Just because someone wears some sort of patch or designation with the word Chicago on it doesn't mean they can claim it. The same applies to those who did a couple of months of work in the city. How the hell you going to claim you're from Chicago? Morons is basically all they are. Its funny how these people are inevitably exposed for what they genuinely are. Posers! They wouldn't know honor or pride in anything because they cannot even have pride in where they truly come from. They have to ride the reputation of someone or somewhere they didn't put any work into. I think that's precisely whats wrong with this world today. Forget about the problem being just within the biker community. Its a society as a whole that is suffering from people who are nothing more than a bunch of posers and wannabes. Its just gotten more pronounced in the biker scene in the last few years with the help of the internet. We get to see exactly what people are quicker than it use to take.
This is all fine and dandy but I'm I actually hearing you right? Are you supporting gangs who sling dope and people who go out and murder? No, not at all. I will be the first one to tell you I cannot support anyone who feeds the drug pipeline. Nor do I support anyone who kills the innocent. What I'm suggesting is there is a back story to how gangs form and why they exist. Just because I'm having, a conversation about it doesn't mean I support everything they do. It means let's just allow an open and legitimate discussion about it without media and law enforcement spin. Let's take out the left, the right and all the politics of it and discuss it at face value. That's the most significant problem in this country. There is no longer any more room for debate or discussion. You're automatically considered something less than notable by one side or the other when bringing up legitimate subjects.One thing is for certain. With all the so-called studies about gangs and why people join them. Its easy and it won't cost millions of dollars to the taxpayer. It's all about family and the neighborhood first.