Today, I was walking my dog down Manning Street in Toronto. I was behind this kid, about 16 years old and watched him get approached by two guys who were slightky older then him. One of the approaching guys asked him "What are you doing walking down this street" to which the kid replied "Going home". He was then met with a grab of the arm and a warning of "You know this is my street and you're not allowed to walk down it, we own this street". The poor kid got off with a warning and I was cast an attempted intimidating glance.
This is the second time in 2 days that I've witnessed kids claiming street ownership. The first occasion happened on Saturday when I was once gain walking my dog down Queen Street. I was standing outside the Czehoski bar when 3 mid level street kids (not full blown skids but on their way) were jumped by a group of kids who claimed ownership of Queen Street. They assaulted the street kids and stole some of their belongings.
I remember growing up in Thornhill hearing of fellow classmates venturing downtown only to get "rolled" for their Air Jordans and having to walk home in their socks. However, when I moved to Toronto, the amateur crime scene seemed relegated to the Yonge Street area with the more severe crime occuring in Regent Park. Now, it seems as though, kids have feel the need to be part of a gang and inflict intimidation amongst other kids who have the gaul to walk down "their" streets.
The similarties amongst these encounters is that all of the kids involved seemed to be influenced, at least by their clothing, by hip hop and hip hop culture. I find it hard to take anyone serious who wears a flat brimmed basketball hat tilted to the side but apparently it works. It's not breaking news but the hip hop estethic is being sold to and bought by disenchanted white kids. White kids are trying to emulate their hip hop heroes such as the G-Unit posse. The release of 50 Cent's film "Get Rich or Die Trying" is going to continue to propel gang culture amongst white kids. When i saw Good Fella's for the first time, I wanted to join the mafia, I was 16 years old and saw the power and glamour that came with being associated with a gang. It's no secret that a lot of today's rap artists were also inspired by mafia films, they often cite Tony Montana aka Scarface as one of their big influences and heroes. If Cribs is in a rappers house, there's a good chance there's a picture of Pacino on the wall somewhere.
I'm all for free speech and have no problems with the movie, but gang culture is being glamourized and the kids are eating it up. This city is going to shit, the gun violence is at an all time high cause guys need to show their strength by "poppin a cap" into someone. The male ego is at fault here, men don't want to be show up or stepped on and feel that it's their resolve to kill someone who wrongs them in anyway. It goes right up the ranks to the White House, men do not want to be pushed around or admit any wrongdoing, no matter the consequences. They want to show dominance and be able to intimidate others, it's a jungle philosophy.
The question is, how far will this go before this city erupts? The white kids now have a new hero
to look up to. It's all going to break.