I was listening to Michael Savage’s radio program today; he was talking about the white kids in this country who go around with sagging pants that hang down below their butt and displaying their underwear. Savage speculated that this trend comes from suburban kids emulating what they see in the hip-hop culture– which (in theory) emanates from the nation’s black ghettos.
It got me to thinking about an interesting three hour interview I had a couple of months ago with former Washington Huskies linebacker Anthony Kelley. AK talked about his white teammates that mimicked the inner city kids on defense on the Huskies from 1999-2002.
We all had our struggles and our baggage, but it was a genuine love we had for each other. We never judged each other for the baggage we had. When we came into our locker room, we all knew each other’s stories, and it was okay. That was a big thing. In that locker room, a lot of us came from bad backgrounds around LA. That group of us understood that we had a great opportunity here and we understood that pain.
A lot of the other players on the team were thinking that we came from gang-infested neighborhoods and they thought it was a cool thing. What they didn’t realize that the reason we came to damn Washington was that we were trying to escape that damn life. They would try to emulate it. Some players would come on and think being hard like a gangster was really tough.
Guys from the suburbs would act like they were a true gangster. Jeremiah Pharms would put that straight to the test. Because we realized that it wasn’t cool. We knew how to function in it and survive in it—but we got away from it for a reason!
You would have guys from the suburbs who felt that being big, black, angry and intimidating was cool. They would try to follow that. Their friends would say to us, “I don’t even know why he’s acting like this. Trying to be some gangster. He comes from a middle class neighborhood. He has nothing to do with that.” It was crazy. They thought being a wannabe gangster was so cool. That was one thing I noticed about Seattle. People would watch Menace II Society and Boyz in the Hood and they would go on a How to be a thug kick. They wanted to identify with us, and yet we were trying to escape that.