Saturday, February 28, 2009

East Coast Bias

Today Alex is hosting a "Save California" party/birthday party for one of our friends. Despite California's economic woes, we thought we would celebrate the state with many transplants. In addition to having California decorations, we are serving California oranges, avocados, beer, and wine. That of course means stocking up on two buck chuck-- Trader Joe's decent and cheap wine. While we were checking out . . .

Trader Joe's Checkout Guy (TJ): Oh, are you going to or having a party?
Me: Having one. It's a California theme party.
TJ: Oh, are you dressing in red and blue?
Me: Not sure what you mean. (said with a confused look. does this have to do with democrats and republicans?)
TJ: You know . . . bloods and crips.
Me: Yeah, no.
TJ: Oh inappropriate?
Me: Um, no. Just not what we were going for.

I was thinking more that his reference was outdated. Granted I lived and went to school in nicer parts of Los Angeles, but the last time I heard mention of the Bloods and the Crips was when Stanley Tookie Williams, the founder of the Crips, was on death row and people wanted the Governator to exonnerate him because he had "reformed." That and "Crip" walking in high school. There are definitely still gangs, but Bloods and Crips are no longer the first who come to mind.

More interesting to me is whether that is the first thing people think of when they think of California. Cash register guy is not the first person I talked to who thought California was full of gangs, riots, and violence. Maybe I am just biased, but I thought people would think of sunshine, beaches, surfers, Hollywood, plastic surgery, hippie liberals, Arnold, happy cows, or earthquakes before they thought of gang violence. But I guess it is not uncommon for people to have misperecptions. Everyone thinks all of DC is a hotbed of crime.

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