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1
TAPE~
<8'B
INTERVIEW WITH
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Interviewed by Kate Cavett
Hand in Hand
t
CHRIS
Saint Paul ORB (Oriental Ruthless Boys)
20 year old Hmong American
'i -2
September 10, 1996 and August 13, 1998
at
Saint Cloud State Correctional Facility
You know that I am going to interview you and that I'll be using the
material for various educational purposes. Is this okay with you?
Yup. Yes it is.
How old are you?
I'm 18.
And tell me a little bit about your early history, you know, where you were
born and kind of give me a little early history up until when you first
became exposed or first heard about gangs.
Well, I was born in Spencer, North Carolina; and we moved up here. I
guess I was alright, an alright kid for a little bit. And then we just started
going out with the wrong people and I was hanging around them and they
started doin all kinds of stuff like smoking weed, and breaking into cars,
whatever, just for the heck of it. You know we don't get nothin out of it.
We still do it just for the heck of it.
KC:
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38.48
KC:
How old were you when you started hanging around with the wrong
people?
Ah, about 11 or 12, then I started seeing my brother's friends around.
C:
And they were all gang members, and I started hanging around with them,
hanging out the basketball court around with them and I just got hooked
on all the stuff they were doin.
KC: What gang were they in?
They're the Cobras. They're much older than me.
C:
KC:
How much older?
Let's see, when I was 12, they were in their twenties, or 18 or 19 and up.
C:
COPYRIGHT: HAND in HAND, Post Office Box 65522, Saint Paul, MN 55165
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KC:
So you're brother's a member of the Cobras?
C:
He used to be, but after he went to California, did some time over there
and came back, I guess he just settled down
and quit everything.
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39.15
KC:
So your first exposure to gangs was when you were about 12 and it was
through your brother's involvement?
C:
Right. Right
KC: What kind of things did he do in the gang?
Urn, I don't really know. He never talked about it or nothin, so I don't
C:
really know what he did. I'm pretty sure he did the same things that I did.
KC: What was interesting about the Cobras?
C:
Nothin really, I just thought they looked, half the stuff, they were cool like
that and just you know hangin around, not doin nothin, doing things they
were doin, just trying to get a reputation and all that. I don't know, I just
thought it was cool then.
KC: What kind of reputation did you want?
C:
I wanted to be known as the toughest guy there is, you know, I wanted
everybody to fear me, and like I thought it was respect for awhile. I
thought fear was respect when nobody would mess with me. But I know
now that it isn't, so.
KC:
How did you learn that it wasn't?
C:
Well, respect means that people will, ya know, when you walk by people
will say hi, shake your hand, ya know, if something happens to you, ya
know, maybe they'll help out, you know, or they'll feel, they'll feel
something for you, ya know. But the fear I was looking for was ah, fear is
just, they don't care what happens to you, ya know, if you get shot or
something like that, good, I hope he dies whatever, you know. They don't
really care about you, ya know. Respect, they care about you, fear they
don't, you know.
KC:
Have you ever gotten respect from anyone?
40.10
Ah, I'm sure I got respect from some people. I mean since I started
C:
changin a little, ya know, I started givin people respect, and I'm pretty
sure a lot of people didn't give me respect back, ya know, cause I learned
how to respect people now instead of pushing them around or threatening
them or whatever, ya know.
K:
What were the things that you did that created people to fear you and
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show you, acknowledge the fear that they had for you?
Well, me and my friends used to go around just beating people up, doing
drive bys, shooting at people. Every little thing, I would always go home
and grab a gun and come back and shoot at them or whatever. I think
they got some fear in them, I guess.
Let's go back, when you were 12 and you were hanging around with the
Cobras, did they have like a junior organization for 12~year olds?
Not really, I was the, I was pretty much the youngest one there, so I was
just hanging around playing basketball and everybody was all there, I was
the youngest one there.
What was the first gang~related thing that you did besides playing
basketball with them?
Well the first thing I ever did was jumped some guy from a rival gang, like
15 or 20 of us jumped like 4 or 5 of them. Yea, that was the first thing I
ever did.
What did you think and what did you feel after that?
I was a little shaky at first, but then you know it did seem kinda fun but I
don't know, we hurt him, we hurt him pretty bad. And I felt kinda sorry for
them, they didn't know they don't know, they didn't know what happened
to them ya know. But I don't know.
This was a rival Asian gang.
Right, rival Asian gang.
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41.13
KC: When did you first join a gang? You know, you were hanging out with the
Cobras, but were you initiated into them or were you considered a Cobra?
C:
Ah, no I wasn't considered a Cobra. I was just, I guess they considered
me as a friend. I guess some of the older guys
they considered me as their little brother and stuff, but I never really
joined them, but when I first joined a gang was when I was in junior high
school, about 7th or 8th grade.
KC: What gang did you join?
C:
Ah, I joined, we started up the Junior White Tigers.
KC: What did the Junior White Tigers look like?
C:
What do they look like?
KC: Yea. I mean, how many of you were there? Urn, what did they expect
you to do? How much involvement was there from the older White
Tigers?
C:
Well it wasn't that many of us. There was about 3 or 4 of us, that's it. But
they didn't really expect nothin from us. Ya know, all we did was hang,
COPYRIGHT: HAND in HAND, Post Office Box 65522, Saint Paul, MN 55165
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hung around, ya know, just tagged along with them, see whatever they
did, ya know, it was like whatever they'd do we'd follow them, ya know.
That's all it was.
Did you have an initiation ceremony into the Junior White Tigers?
KG:
41.54
No, it was mostly, for me, it was all mostly walk ins, but we did initiate a
few other people.
How come you got to walk in?
I'm not sure, I'm not sure.
When did you first start using chemicals?
About junior high, too. Just started taking acid, smoking weed, drinking
and all that stuff.
Was all this part of being part of the Junior White Tigers?
Not really, we just, cause everybody was doin it so I guess I did it, just to
see, just to see what it felt like.
What did it feel like?
It didn't feel too good. The marijuana and stuff, I didn't, I didn't really like
that. You know I smoked for it for two to three years straight, ya know,
every day. It took a lot of money, ya know, made me tired, and the liquor
and stuff, it was alright, ya know. I didn't feel as bad as the marijuana.
But it did make me feel pretty gOOd. And ah, acid and stuff, it was pretty
fun. But lookin back at it now it's kinda stupid. I coulda gotten a lot of
stuff, ya know, while under the influence of all that stuff, but luckily I didn't.
Where did you get the money to buy that weed?
I'd get it from my parents sometimes, and sell stuff like stereo equipment,
whatever, whatever I could get my hands on I'd sell, ya know.
Did you do robberies to get some of it?
Pretty much. We would go break into cars and stuff and steal a lot of stuff
and .,.
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KC: What ages were you smoking marijuana?
What ages? Ah,about12, 13,or14.
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KC: At what ages were you drinking alcohol?
G:
About 12.
KC: And acid?
G:
Acid was about 14. I started when I was 14. The last time I did it was like
a year and a half ago.
KC: When was the last time you drank or smoked?
C:
The last time I drank was I think, New Year's Eve, still smoking now, so
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KC:
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43.36
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I was a member for say a year. I wasn't with them too long, ya know, so ...
Did they have initiations, a particular initiation ceremony? I mean you got
to walk in but.
No, all there was was just, ya know, close friends, whoever your close
friends are, ya know. Just walk in or whatever If there's somebody we
don't know comes in and wants to join, then we might just jump them in for
like 3,4 minutes, ya know.
When, why did you leave the White Tigers?
I left them because I guess, one friend went, one friend was with his
uncle and them so he was going on the right track so it was just me and
another, me and another one of my friends left, so. I don't know, I just
said forget it, ya know. We're too small now so I, ya know, I just, I don't
know, we're just too small, ya know. I didn't want ta keep it up no more so
Ijust said forget it. I just went and hung around with my other friends, my
cousins and them, so.
What gang were they in?
Ah, we were in no gang yet, but people used to come around and call us
the Playboy Posse, or the Playground Posse, because we used to hang
around the playground by my friends. And pretty soon we were just sittin
around outside and started up a Hmong Mafia, I guess.
So the Playground Posse grew into the Hmong Mafia.
Right, right.
How many, how many were in the Hmong Mafia?
When we started there was about 7 or 8 of us, yeah.
How many are still in the Hmong Mafia?
Now I think there is about probably 15, 15 or 20, now.
Are the original 7 or 8 still in the M&M's?
Urn, me and my friend Enario, we're both out now, so, there's only, there's
in
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KC:
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(laughter) Does that help the time go faster here?
Yea it does, it kills, it helps kill time, ya know. We're in our cell most of
the day and there's nothing really to do but smoke, I guess to get rid of
your frustration and stuff, ya know. It helps me, it helps me sleep too.
Is it more expensive in here?
It is really, cause we only get paid 40 cents a hour and, ya know, and
they're still selling it pretty much like usual, $2.00 a day for a single pack
and it still costs a lot compared to the outside, in here, I guess it costs a
way more in here, ya know.
How long were you a member of the Junior White Tigers?
M
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about, what, 5 originals left.
44.43
KC:
Fat Erin, Fat Erin you mean?
C:
No Fat Erin wasn't an original, he was a tag along at first. But then, I
never let him in, so, he never got in until I got out so I guess they put him
in, I guess.
KC:
Because I had been told he was one of the originals
C:
Oh, no he's not.
K:
He just wants to be, huh?
Right.
C:
KC:
Oh, okay. So, what kind of, when you were still the Playground Posse,
what kind of things did you do, what kind of criminal behavior? Were you
still smoking and drinking then?
Yeah, I was smoking more then. I was smoking more then because I
C:
mean the one, my friend that's in there right now, he used to. I guess he
liked that. He loved that stuff so, so we got money. We'd always go buy
some and we'd smoke it every day, ya know. Every day we'd smoke
about $30, $40's worth, ya know.
KC: Where'd you get the money?
C:
He'd get it from his mom, and I'd get it from my mom. And whatever we'd
see of value in the house, I guess we would take it and sell it or anywhere
we'd see something valuable we'd take it and sell it.
KC:
So you were stealing from your parents and you were going into other
people's houses?
Pretty much stealing from my parents.
C:
How did your parents react to that?
KC:
I guess, they never knew it was me. They suspected it was me or my
C:
other brother, but they never knew until not too long ago when I told them
all the stuff I took from them and all this, ya know. They reacted, they, I
didn't expect them to react that way. I thought they would be mad or
something, ya know, but they weren't, ya know. They acted like they
understood what was going on and all that, and they forgave me, yeah.
45.40
KC: When you formed the M&M's, what, did you set up an initiation for people
that wanted to come in, or how did you evaluate if somebody could come
in or not?
C:
Well, when we formed it, we didn't really let anybody in, so. We were just
pretty much us 7, ya know. We never really let anybody in there,
whatever. But I guess we were just sittin around, but then one of my
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friend's little brother, I guess, I don't know, he just started a junior M&M up
too so. They started taggin along with us. There was a few of them too,
about 6 or 7.
What was the, kinda like the structure of the M&M's? Was there a leader,
um?
No, there wasn't a leader. Everything was just by majority vote, ya know.
Seeing if everybody agrees to whatever we're gonna do, ya know. Cause
we didn't want a leader because we couldn't make up our minds to see
who would be the leader, ya know. So we just said we'd go on with no
leader, just majority vote, ya know.
Did you have rules or literature that you were going to organize the gang
around?
We did have rules, but nobody really followed it or nothing, ya know. We
were gonna, because I guess I told them the word Mafia doesn't mean
gangsters or nothing, ya know. Mafia means, ya know, you supposed to
make money, ya know. Dress properly, not wearing your pants half-assed
sticking out, but we were gonna supposed to cut down on all the drugs,
too, but I guess nobody could so, all the rules were broken. So we just
said forget it, ya know, do whatever we want, just ya know. Just
whatever, we just backed each other up, so.
How many drugs were you doing like a day, a week?
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46.41
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A day we'd smoke like I said $30, $40 worth of weed, once
in awhile we'd take acid, like once every three weeks. And
sometimes we'd drink, and all that.
KC:
If you were about making money, what were the business enterprises that
the Hmong Mafia was involved in?
C:
Um, just pretty much breaking into cars and stealing stuff and selling it
and selling guns and stuff.
KC: Where'd you get the guns?
C:
From a gun shop robbery.
KC:
So you'd, you'd break into gun shops and steal the guns?
C:
Right, right.
KC:
How many times did the Mug Mafia do that?
C:
Ah, only once when I was in there, I only did it once and everything went
pretty quick.
KC: Where could you make more money, cars or guns?
C:
I'd say guns 'cause everybody wants, everbody wants a gun now ya know.
That's where you sell the guns for $200 to $500, ya know. That's where
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most of the money comes in.
KC:
So how is the money handled? I mean if, did the money go into a central
pool for the whole organization, or did individuals get the money?
The individuals got the money, spent it on whatever, ya know. Like I don't
know, we were just spending money like, it wasn't important, ya know.
Like we'd spend this and get some more later, ya know. It wasn't
important, ya know. cause we didn't work hard for it, so. I guess it didn't
mean nothin to us, just something to spend to get somethin for us, ya
know, whatever.
Were you in school then?
No, I dropped out.
How old were you by now?
Urn, still a freshman, about 14, yeah.
So you dropped out of school when you were 14. So days kind of
consisted of smoking once.
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47.45
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Well I slept most of the day. By the time I'd wake up school would be out.
Then I would just go outside, and go to my friend's house and everybody
would be there, ya know.
So it's hangin out, alcohol or acid once in awhile. Did you smoke blunts
or joints, or bowls or..
Smoked pretty much everything, blunts, bowls, joints, ya know.
How often would the Mafia go out on a business expedition?
Pretty much almost every night. Only some of us would go and some
would stay. I guess the people that'd go do the theifing and stuff, they'd
only take the people that I guess they'd trust, and whatever. Most of the
other gang members left behind.
Was it always the same ones that went out thieving?
Pretty much.
How many years were you in the Mafia?
I was in for about 2-3 years.
Kind of like 14 to 17?
Yeah.
Why did you leave?
Well, I left because, they were doin a lot of stuff I didn't like and cause
when I was in there we didn't have problems with anybody, but they'd
always go around and pick on people, ya know, like mess around with
anybody, ya know. And that wasn't really, I don't know, I wasn't really
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happy with what they were doin and plus, I don't know, one day, one of
them came around to my house and I guess you could say he
disrespected my house or some stuff. And that's what gets me the most
like when I get disrespected and stuff, ya know. But he was going
through my mom's stuff, and goin through the whole house like it was his,
ya know. So I kicked him out and he came back in and said, ya know,
that's how it is, you want to go to war? And I looked at him and I said, ya
know, we're in the same, we're in the same set, but, ya know, if you want
to, we can, ya know. So I closed the door. He tried kicking the door
down. So I went and grabbed a knife. He came back around. I opened
the door, tried stabbing him, but the knife was pretty dull so it just
punctured his stomach just a little. Then when I tried to go for his throat, my
brother, my older brother came, grabbed the knife away, pushed him
outside, and me and my brother just beat him. So after that I guess
everybody was pretty mad at me, after that I left, ya know.
49.06
KC: When you left, what did you do?
C:
Ah, when I left I just stayed home mostly. Stayed home, just went out and
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played soccer, ya know. And hung around some guys from, that owned a
nightclub and stuff, ya know. We had a little singing group for awhile.
What kind of music did you sing?
Zacobella.
And you sung it at what nightclub?
Fantasia.
Were you any good?
I guess we were alright, alright for amateurs.
So how long were you in the singing group?
We were pretty much off and on, ya know. We'd wait for like special
occasions like the New Year. We'd practice and sing cold songs there
and pretty much whenever we wanted to sing. I guess we just got
together, ya know. We were, I guess we were doin alright. We didn't,
when I was with them, we didn't do any criminal activity or nothin. But we
were still drinking and I guess they were smoking weed, cause I had quit
then. But then they were smokin weed and we were still drinkin constantly
and just goin out, staying out late, goin to restaurants, whatever.
So you were still out of school?
Yeah, yeah. I was still out of school.
So you were at Johnson when you were a freshman and you quit then?
Right, right.
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So now, did you feel like you got kicked out of the M&M's, or you just
kinda left?
C:
I just kinda left, because I did time for some guns too when I was an M&M.
Pretty much after that I didn't hang around with them that much. But I was
out with them once in awhile until that fight happened. So after that I felt
like I left, ya know. I didn't feel like I got kicked out or nothin.
Where did you do time?
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50.06
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At Boys Totem Town, did longterm up there.
Mr. Russ?
Yeah, Mr.Russ.
Who was your primary?
It was Mr. Reed for awhile. But then after he left, it was Mr. Russ.
Walter Reed?
Yeah, Walter Reed, right.
I saw him a few weeks ago. You joined another gang?
Well, I didn't really join for awhile because I have a few friends in
California. He came down, I guess he moved down here. I was pretty
much hanging around with them for awhile. We didn't get into any
criminal activities right away, but we just hangin around at pool halls,
going to restaurants once in awhile, hanging at his house, going to
parties together, ya know. I was with them, I was hangin around with
them for about a good six, five or six months. Then he asked me if I
wanted to be in, I was thinkin about it for awhile, but then he said, he just
said that I was in. He said that I could just walk in, ya know, cause they
knew me. So he just pretty much let me walk in, so ..
Which gang was this?
It was the ORB, Oriental Ruthless Boys.
How long have the ORB been around?
Well, they've been in California since I think '88, '89. They've been
around for awhile, but they not from Minnesota. They started up '94 or '95,
somewhere around there.
So you just got to walk in?
Right.
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51.02
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If anybody else wanted to join the ORB, could they walk in or is there an
initiation ceremony?
C:
We did initiate a few people, just jumping, ya know the same thing, just
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jump em in.
For how long?
With them, it was about two to three minutes.
Now I know there aren't any girls in the M&M's. Are there any girls in the
ORB?
Ah, in California there is, but not in Minnesota. I think there's a few now,
but I'm not sure. I just been hearing from people that there is now, but I'm
not sure.
Do you still consider yourself an ORB?
No, no. After I did this, ya know, I thought they were my friends and stuff
but, once you're locked up or somethin, they turn their back on you, ya
know. They would just say, you're in here and they're out there and
they're gonna forget about ya, ya know. I don't know.
I know that there are lots of gangs in prison. I know that the traditional
black gangs are real active in prisons. Are there Asian gangs in prison?
There are some. There's about one or two that are active in there. And
they still, they still want to do their gang bang and stuff, claim their colors
or whatever, their names or whatever. There're still some in there.
Do you have to be in a gang in order to be safe?
No you don't. All you have to do here really is just, ya know, respect
others and they'll respect you, ya know. Because pretty much they
require people out here, ya know, people to give more respect to you than
the people that are, ya know, talkin, ya know, talking too much or trying to
act hard in here, ya know. Yeah.
Does the ORB have colors and symbols and signs?
We have signs but we don't have any, we don't claim any colors. All we
claim is just Hmong pride. All we claim is our pride, so.
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52.07
KC: What are the signs of the ORB?
The signs are (like that)
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ORB and it would be
Right
C:
KC: So you write that on things?
C:
I never wrote anything on anything, but the other ones did.
KC: You said you didn't have any colors that you particularly used.
C:
No, no colors.
KC:
How long were you in the ORB?
C:
I was in about, almost a year I'd say, almost a year to a year.
KC: What was life like in the ORB, what were the kinds of things that you did?
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Were like there names for the different people?
Names like?
Names, like in the GO's there are lieutenants and there are violators and.
No, all we had were just shot callers, I guess, ya know, shot callers in
every state to call the rules and whatever, ya know. Just tell, ya know, if
somebody, if the shot caller wants somebody to do a job right he just
picks out the people and tells them to do this and that, whatever, ya know.
Were there rules or literature that came in from California?
There wasn't literature, but I think there was some rules. Yeah.
Tell me the story about how you got here in St. Cloud.
Well, I guess since I started hanging around with the ORB's and stuff, the
M&M's got mad, ya know. I don't think they really got that mad, but they
were mad ever since me and my brother beat the other one up, ya know.
And he fled, he moved to South Dakota for awhile. But when we came
back everything started ya know, comin back at me, ya know. They all
started comin since I got arrested for the guns they wanted me to pay for
it, ya know and ...
They wanted you to pay for. ..
For the guns, then I got arrested for it.
Pay the M&M's for the guns that you got arrested for?
Right, right.
Is that standard procedure in a gang?
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It was a little bit more organized. But you know we collected money, ya
know, we had a bank for a while, ya know, collected money every
Saturday whatever, had meetings every Saturday. It was pretty
organized, but me and my friend and this other guy we were the oldest
and everybody else was younger, so, but it was alright though. But the
younger kids, they liked to fool around a lot, ya know, and that did get on
my nerves, but, ya know, I let it slide cause they were younger, ya know,
and I understood how they, I understood, ya know, cause I was like that
when I was younger too, ya know.
So were you and your friend and this other guy kind of the leaders?
Pretty much, pretty much, yeah.
So you'd call the meetings and you'd run the meetings?
My friend called the meetings and, ya know, ran the meetings and stuff.
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No, no cause usually, ya know, the guns holds sets, ya know. But if
somebody in the set gets arrested with it, ya know, that's the end of it, ya
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know, you lost it, ya know. You got arrested with it, ya know. That's it, ya
know. But I guess they just brought that up to add more to it cause me
and my brother beat their other member up, so they were pretty mad and
everything was cool until that night at Fantasia Nightclub, about ten or
twelve of them tried jumping me over there, ya know. And I guess they
weren't too successful so they plotted something else and, ya know, tried
to come back at me, ya know. I joined, me the ORB's and some 612's,
we'd like get together and talk about it and ya know I'd tell em we could
just mediate this, ya know, just talk it out, ya know, call a meeting with
them. So, we had several meetings, ya know, with them, with the White
Tigers to back them up I guess, ya know. I was with the 612's together.
We mediated. I gave em some money and I gave em some stereo
equipment, ya know, but I guess since I did that, they wanted more. They
think that they could push for more, so they kept on doin that until that
night they came over to my house and told me if I wasn't goin to give them
any more stuff, start givin them guns, they gonna, I guess they wanted to
beat move up out there, ya know. And there was, well, four of them that
night. So I said I wasn't givin em nothin more, so I just locked the door.
They started bangin on the door. When I got my dad's rifle I just came
and shot some warning shots through the door and they all took off, so I
was scared then cause my parents weren't home then, but they were
goin to be home that night and I was afraid that they were gonna, the
M&M's were gonna go back and get their guns and come shoot my house
up, ya know. And I didn't want to put my family in danger, so I called my
friend up, told him to take me to the 612's house and get em and they just
come and sit in my parking lot and wait for them to come, ya know. So my
family won't be in danger or nothin. But when I got over there they were
still over there, they were over there talkin to em, ya know.
The M&M's were over talking to the 612's?
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Right, right. I guess they came out of the car smiling and saying, ya
know, why did you shoot at us, you wanna die, or this and that. The guy
that died came out of the car and said, ya know, something like, ya know,
if you were to hit the car, I'd kick his ass, ya know. And I was already mad
then cause they came and disrepected my house, ya know. And that
really flared me up. Plus the grin, the smiles on their face, whatever, got
me even madder, so I guess I just lost it there, just took out my gun and
shot him.
KC:
Did you think you'd kill somebody?
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C:
No, I never thought I would. I thought I'd maybe wound him or somethin
but never thought I'd kill him.
What happened when you realized you hit him?
I was stunned for a little bit, but then I was only stunned for a quick
second cause when I shot him I saw the bullet come out slow motion, fly
and hit him in the stomach, ya know. That kinda stunned me for awhile,
but then the temper took over again, and I guess I just fired more shots at
the other two while they were running and stuff.
Then what happened?
Then, I guess the 612's came and grabbed me and, ya know, asked me
what I was doin and I said, ya know, I said forget all this talkin and stuff,
ya know. It's been gain on too long and, ya know, and nothin else helped
so I don't know, I just lost it, so I just turned around and walked away,
walked down the street. I guess they came back and picked him up and
put him in the car, and they drove to the hospital and I saw them leave,
ya know, with them. After that my friend came and picked me up and just
thought of a way to get out of the state.
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KC:
Did you leave the state then?
C:
Yeah, I left the state for awhile. I left the state in October and I came
back around December.
KC: So there was a warrant out for you all that time?
Yeah, there was a warrant out for me.
C:
KC: Why'd you come back?
C:
I came back because I had to get some clothes, whatever, get some of my
stuff so I could go to the other side of the state, ya know, or the other side
of the country, cause I was coming through anyway so I might as well stop
in there and get my stuff, ya know, try to get some money.
KC:
How did you get arrested?
C:
I guess I stayed too long. I stayed till about January 19th. I ended up
staying longer cause, I guess when I came back I went and got my
girlfriend and she got pregnant and everything just fell apart and then I
didn't know what to do.
KC: So are you a father?
C:
She had an abortion.
KC: How was that for you?
C:
In a way it's alright and in a way it's bad, ya know. You know it hurts me
to know that I should be a father but I'm not cause she killed the baby.
And part of it's good because I never wanted her to raise a kid like this
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Chris 15
anyway, ya know.
How did the police happen to find you? Did they know all along it was
you?
I guess cause after that night, two M&M's told on me, ya know, they said
that I did it and a few, a couple of the 612's said that I did it too. And I
guess when I ran, that convicted me right there already, ya know. So I
guess I was there, we were there too long and my brother's wife's sister
and them would come over and I guess some of her friends saw me so I
guess they went and told the M&M guy that died's brothers so they went
and told the police and I guess the police came and arrested me then.
What was it like when the police were at the door?
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I was kinda glad it was over, ya know. All that running, I didn't get no
sleep, no nothin, ya know. I just constantly running and moving, ya know.
I was kinda glad it was over, but then I was kinda mad that I got caught
too, ya know. I was just thinking how much time I was gonna do, what am
I gonna do, cause when I was on the run I was just thinkin ya know since I
did it, I'm probably gonna do life anyway, 40 without parole and stuff. So I
said if any cop gets in my way, ya know, I'll make him do something to
shoot me, ya know, so I can just end my life instead of doing time in
prison. I guess every time I said that, God's never let it happen, ya know,
so I guess they got me, they came when I was sleepin, ya know, and I just
said, ya know, forget it. I'll just go do time since I did it, ya know.
What is the sentence?
258 months.
How much is that?
21, 22 years.
When were you first exposed to guns?
About, I was about 12, 13
Did you have a gun most of the time from then on?
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I didn't start carrying one till I was about 14, 15.
Did you carry guns most of the time after that?
Up to the time I got caught. After that I didn't really carry one that much
no more till something popped off so I'd just run home and grab it, ya
know.
How many times did you do drive~by's?
I'm not really sure. It was a lot of times.
How many times did you shoot at people and never hit anybody?
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How many times did I shoot at people and not hit anybody? It was most of
the time. I guess I never really did hit anybody before.
Five,100?
Oh I don't think 100 but I'd say about 10, 15 times.
Did you ever think about that you could hit somebody?
Yeah, I'd think about it, but I guess back then I just
thought that if I hit somebody, ya know, I hit somebody, ya know. I guess
it was just his day, ya know. So it didn't really bother me that much.
It sounds like lots of anger was going on right then. What was that all
about, Chris?
About all the anger and stuff? It was about me being disrespected. I
guess it was a little bit of, ya know, how your parents yell at you for this
and that. And I guess that makes me mad, too, but I guess I'd just go out
and take that out on everybody I guess, ya know. But they'd yell at me
just for, ya know, just to tell me to be good, ya know, not abusing me or
nothing, I was just, because I know I did wrong, ya know, but that still
made me mad. Just went and took it out on everybody.
C:
KC:
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KC: It sounds like disrespect is real important.
C:
Yeah, I guess it is. I don't like to get mistreated or nothin, ya know.
When people talk to me I want them to, ya know, just look at me, ya know,
and not try to look through me or nothin, speak to me like I'm a person, ya
know and not no animal or anything, ya know, cause really people talk to
animals like they're real people, ya know. They look right at em, and ya
know, whatever. Then some people they talk to you like, ya know, you're
nothin, ya know. I could just shoot you right now and get it overwith, ya
know. I don't like you. You're nothin, ya know.
KC: I know that this country is a very racist country. Do you think that some of
the sensitivities that you have about disrespect are because of the racism
you've experienced?
C:
Yeah, I think I do because when I hear the wrong words come out of like a
white person or a black person's mouth, ya know, I would usually go off
on em, ya know. Like, if I didn't have a weapon or nothin I'd start hit, ya
know, beating him up or whatever, ya know. If I had a gun, I'd start
shooting at them or, ya know. If I had a stick I'd beat em with it, yeah.
KC: What's the earliest experience of disrespect you can remember?
C:
About 6th grade. Some kid said that, said that if it wasn't for them, we
wouldn't be here and all this stuff and I don't know, just putting my people
down and stuff, ya know. I guess I challenged him to a fight, ya know. I
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never sho'Hed up. I didn't show up.
White kid?
Yeah, a white kid.
KC:
C:
1:00.01
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KC:
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KC:
C:
KC:
C:
KC:
KC:
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KC:
C:
KC:
Are you very grounded, or are you very in touch with the Hmong culture?
Pretty much in touch with it. I know, I know all, ya know how the 'Heddings
go, how the funerals go, ya know, and so forth. I know pretty much about
it.
Do you respect the Hmong culture?
Yeah, I respect it.
Respect is very important in that culture, isn't it?
Correct, right. Your respect and reputation is important in this culture.
In the Asian gangs, you talked about having meetings, it sounds like,
kinda like so much meetings happen and negotiations bet'Neen gangs,
that's my impression. Am I correct?
What was that?
That there's like meetings, you know like the ORB will ask for a meeting
with the M&M's. You know, where do you have these meetings?
We'd have it like at parks while 'He barbeque, at my friend's house while
we'd barbeque or sit back and drink or whatever.
So there's a lot of alcohol or marijuana taking place at these summits or
the negotiation meetings.
Not really any marijuana but drinking, yeah.
The day that you committed your crime, were you high or had you been
drinking or smoking?
I was sober. I was sober. I knew what I was doing, but I guess I just
couldn't control myself, just 'Hent off on them, ya know.
Have you had a chance to do some anger work?
Not yet, but I'm still waiting for an opening in the classes.
Is that something you want to do?
Yeah, it's something I want to do.
How do kids get out of the Hmong gangs, I mean we've talked about your
brother's out of the gang. Do they have to be beat out or what are some
other ways that you can get out of the gang? Can you just say "Ok, I'm
out now"?
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KC:
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1:01.07
C:
You can stay out by, you can get out by, ya know, just not going out,
hang in around with them no more. And I guess some people do get
jumped out, but if you don't want to go that way ya know, just stay at home
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and do what's cool, ya just disappear really, ya know. Just disappear. I
guess you just can't do the old things like you used to, ya know, like go to
parties or whatever, ya know, you just gotta disappear for awhile, ya
know.
KC: What about getting married?
C:
Yeah, that helps a lot too, but sometimes, some people gets married too
early, and I guess it doesn't really work out, ya know, cause I, I got a lot of
friends that were married and now they're separating, ya know. They're
back, they're all back into that stuff, ya know, back in that gang banging
stuff.
KC: What have you learned from all of this, how have you changed?
C:
Excuse me?
KC: What have you learned? How have you changed?
C: Um, I learned that gangs just keeps ya in the same spot, ya know. You don't
get ta go to get no education, get no job, pretty much you're out there
killing yourself, ya know, with all the drugs and all that stuff and sittin out
there you catch a bullet, whatever. There's only two ways ta go when
you're in a gang, ya know. You're either in prison, ya know, or be in a
coffin, ya know. There's only two ways, but I changed because it's
senseless, ya know. There's nothin in it. All you do is go around hurting
people, pretty soon, because my parent's aren't gonna be around for long,
ya know. And once they're gone I can't count on nobody no more, and I
guess I'll just be a bum on the streets pickin garbage, ya
know.
KC:
Do you have any regrets?
1:02.12
C:
I have a lot of regrets, ya know. ever joining a gang, ever starting
hanging out, ever startin smokin and just everything, I guess.
KC: What can you do to make it up to you?
C:
Get me a good education, get a career goin, ya know, so when I get out,
ya know, I could get a good job.
KC:
Can you go to college here?
C:
Yea, I'm still waitin for a class now, 2 months. I should be takin it pretty
soon.
KC:
St. Cloud State?
C:
Excuse me?
KC:
St. Cloud State has got classes for you?
C:
Right, right.
KC: What are you going to study?
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Chris 19
I want to be a child psychologist or counselor, ya know, help them out,
because I know what they been going through. I know, I been there
before, ya know, and some kids think that whenever their parents yell at
them, whatever, ya know, it's like they think their parents hate em or
somethin. I wanna help them with their problems, try to prevent them
from, ya know, following the same path that I did, ya know, try to prevent
that.
KC:
You've been through a lot. What could have prevented it for you? One
of the things that we're looking at is what can
we do, what programs can we create, what can we do to help kids not get
into gangs?
C:
Well, I guess I just need a positive, ya know, environment, need to be
around positive people, ya know, I mean not be around people that are
like nothin but school, ya know, but pepole, ya know, people that know
how to have fun, ya know, and avoid all that criminal activity and stuff,
that gang stuff. Like, I mean, people that had programs like camping and
all that stuff, but I don't really see that stuff helpin cause people, I guess
the guys just really go there to meet girls or whatever. The only way to
help is just try, to get somebody, just positive people ta hang around with.
KC:
So how do you find positive people to hang around with?
1:03.25
C:
That's pretty, that's kinda hard, ya know, there's not that many around, ya
know. It takes, I guess some people it takes places like this to change
em, ya know. And some people come here but still don't change. Guess
the ones that really change is the ones that, ya know, think right, ya know,
that get tired of all this childish gangs, and stuff, the senseless beatings
and shootings and stuff and so when they get beat up real bad, ya know,
catch a bullet and survive, ya know, that's ...
KC:
How do we teach young kids about true respect and that most of what
they do is only about creating fear? What could somebody have done or
said, or what program could you have been in that would have made a
difference?
C:
Um, I don't know. That's a hard question, ya know. It's mostly kids, words
go in their ears and out the other end, some just close the door there and
bounces right out, ya know, it doesn't never go in. I'm not really sure.
KC: After the incident with the M&M's, and you did time in Totem Town kinda
left, if there had been some type of a program with a lot of support, do you
think it would have helped you stay out of the gang or going back into the
gang?
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It might have, but I'm the kinda person that, ya know, whenever there's,
whenever I'm out on the streets, ya know, I don't, I'll go to that place a
few times, ya know. I'll go there a few times, but pretty soon I just end up
quitting, ya know, just say I'm on the streets. I got better things ta do, ya
know, gotta have my fun, whatever.
1:04.30
KC:
If you could design a program, what kind of a program would make a
difference, would have made a difference for you?
What would you need?
C:
That's a hard question, too.
KC: I'm going to ask you to think about those, okay? And see if you can come
up with any other answers. One of the things that we're looking at is
designing a program. Some of the things we've thought about to help is
like teaching more indepth
, and to teach about specific culture.
Another thing we've thought about is helping people to tap into their
creativity and like teaching if somebody likes to write poetry, doing poetry
and doing artistic abilities or dramatic abilities. Do you think something
like that could have tapped into you?
C:
That, that might help a few, might get into a couple of their heads, ya
know. Probably change a few, not many, maybe one. One's good
enough, well it's not good enough, but it's good. But a lot more would be
better.
KC: Well, you've got the answers. See, I don't think the professionals have
the answers. I think you kids have the answers. And I guess I challenge
you to think what the answer might be; and as you get ideas, look back.
What could help me change? What could help me have not gotten into it,
to come back and give me that information so that we can design
something, cause I don't think I can design anything, I don't think there's any
professional that can. I think you kids can. What else should I ask
you
that I haven't?
1:05.26
C:
You've asked me pretty much everything.
KC; How are you feeling now, about being here for a number of years.
C:
I feel, I feel like, sometimes I feel like I just don't wanna do all this time, ya
know. Just try to do something to end it. But most of the time I just plan
out, make my goals, plan out what I wanta do when I get out, ya know.
There's a lot to think about for that, ya know, so. I'm mostly thinkin about
that.
CK: Thanks, Chris
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Tape 57
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Interviewed by Kate Cavett
Hand in Hand
Wednesday August 12, 1998
t
INTERVIEW WITH
CHRIS
Saint Paul ORB (Oriental Ruthless Boys)
20 year old Hmong American
ROOM TONE
Background noise and DOORS
3.13
KC:
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C:
Chris, you're working with the kids up here, those that aren't here as long as
you to help them get out. So, you're an expert on helping kids change their
attitudes and wanting to leave the gang. What do you do, how are you
helping them? I don't know what questions to ask.
Basically what I'm, all I'm really doin is helpin em boost up their confidence,
ya know, like bein there in a room with peers an ya know they see me as a
old gang member or whatever an their always tellin me about, ya know, the
bad stufff about em, ya know. I mean like, oh I don't ah, I'm not good in
school an I can't read, whatever. An, my mom an dad this, my mom and dad
this. An I'm tellin em, ya know, I'm jus helpin em boost their confidence up,
ya know what I mean. Like, ya know, your mom whatever, ya know, your
mom took care of you when you were little, ya know, if you don't care for
your mom who's gonna take care of her when she gets older an ya know,
your mom's doin this for a reason, whatever. Your dad's doin, whatever he's
doin, for a reason. About, for school, ya knowwhat I mean, the only reason
why ya don't know is cuz you're not goin ta school, right. If you, the more
you go to school, the more you learn. Ya know, I mean, you jus can't learn
jus by sittin there an ya know watchin TV an whatever, ya know. An,
(unclear) I mean, I'm pretty sure as soon as they start goin there, they'll start
thinkin - wow, ya know what I mean, I'm learnin somethin I never known
before, ya know what I mean. Here I am writin a letter an I've never known
these punctuations or nuttin before an here I am puttin em dOwn, ya know
what I mean. An I know where ta put em in the right spots, ya know. Yeah
,I seen a lot a these kids that come in here, ya know, it's jus the same thing
over, ya know, every single one a them, it's jus the same. Ya know what I
mean. They complain about the same things. It's either about ah, I don't
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Chris 22
care, I wanna be tough an all that stuff an I give em insides on the future, ya
6.48
KC:
Do you find it takes a long time, I mean they're here with you in the house.
You have kind of a stable ...... it seems like a lot of the Hmong kids are in
your house.
Right. Right, they are.
So, and as professionals I observe that, you know, I have a conversation
with a kid and I want him to change tomorrow. I mean does it take a long
time for you to keep asking the questions and feeding and repeating?
It does, it takes, it takes awhile. It takes awhile, cuz they're young,
hardheaded an I'm probably still hardheaded myself, ya know. They're
hardheaded an yajus gotta keep askin em over an over again, ya know what
I mean. An, as far as bein in (unclear) day they have time ta think about it
ya know. Bein (unclear) on the streets they'd be constantly out playin wid
their friends an they ain't got nothin ta think about. You might ask a question
out there, but like they said it goes in one ear an out the other, ya know.
How old are you now?
Bout 20.
20. About 20 he says.
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know what I mean. Cuz, all these kids don't, they don't really look on the
future. Tomorrow's as far as they look, right. An, I try ta feed em some stuff
about ya know, you're gonna have or kids, ya know Wlat I mean. It doesn't
matter, you might be young now, but as you look down the road if you keeps
actin like this you're not gonna have a future at all, with no family no kids.
I dunno, be in the Hmong community it's, when your parents get old they get
passed around from house to house an stuff, ya know what I mean. I talk to
em a lot about, ya know, if you don't have money how's your mom gonna live
an how you gonna take care a your mom when your mom took care a you,
ya know Wlat I mean. I mean, how would you feel, have your mom and dad
get moved down from house ta, ya know, to your brothers to your sisters to
your aunts to your uncles to your, ya know just passed around the family, ya
know what I mean. I don't think they're objects, they're the most precious
thing here on earth, your parents. I can't see how people can treat em like
that, but. .. 1ask em questions like that. They give me feedback an they think
about it over night an then the next day or whenever they come back, ya
know, they're - yeah, I see what yer talkin about, ya know, I mean I wouldn't
want my family gettin passed around like that or ya know my mom and dad
get passed around like their objects an stuff. I jus, ask em a lot a questions
like that ya know.
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Chris 23
Turnin 21 by the end a this year.
You know your culture. You know Hmong culture right?
I know, I know pretty much. Not a lot, but I know.
Were you born here?
Yeah, I was born in North Carolina.
A challenge I 'M)uld throw out to you, is to study more about Hmong Culture
because you have the time to study it and learn it, and you can teach that,
along with American Culture.
It's my observation that in this country a lot of your friends want to become
American, but Americans don't see them as Americans, so they don't get
treated the same. It's important to be proud of being Hmong and American.
And, I think it's going to take kids of your generation to set the model on how
you can be both. From what you know about Hmong culture, and I know that
your community is in a lot of pain over all the kids in gangs, how do we
integrate? What are some ideas of things that we can do to be preventative
so that the kids don't get into gangs, the Hmong kids?
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KC:
Well, you could like do things that, put together things that they like, like me
an some a the guys talk an I dun no, maybe a gang task force could put
together, you know, just a big party one night, ya know, before school or
after school party an invite all gangs, ya know what I mean, jus all flags
down. An jus do stuff they like. I'm pretty sure, eventually the ones I know
I would think will change, the ones that, ya know, there's a few hardheaded
ones that'll take awhile, but the more everybody do, we do more things they
like an I'm pretty sure they'll change.
In a way there's nothing wrong with gangs, it's just the violence and the
crime.
Exactly. It's you could say everybody been sayin (unclear) whatever's
protrayed on TV they try ta act it out, ya know what I mean. Like
whatever gang movies, they'll come out an ...• I've seen it, I didn't believe
in, believe in that it was TV at first ya know, I dunno, I have seen in
some a the people out there, I mean like you can be watchin this gang
movie an when ya get out, somebody jus act it out, ya know what I
mean. I dunno.
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10.58
KC: I've been told that one of the ways to learn English is to watch TV. So if you
watch the violence on TV to learn English does that mean you learn
American way by watching the violence?
Probably so. It's most a these kids that are jus comin over here from
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Chris 24
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10.02
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Yeah it was your choice, but my challenge is; how do ...... it seems like there
needs to be more support when kids are kind of walking away, to support the
healthy choice of walking away, and that we're not doing that. Is my
observation right?
It is right. Yeah, but I dunno it's. I spose if, if they walk away an you gotta
show em somethin, ya know somethin better like, like the young guys these
days they jus hang out in a parkin lot. No money, no nothin. Whenever
somebody's hungry say -let's all scrounge up .99¢ fer a whopper an there'll
be 10 a us an we'll jus share one, ya know what I mean an I spose ya show
em a better life, ya know what I mean, like a cuz they're lazy.... ah they're not
lazy, but they wanna be lazy an they hate hard work, ya know what I mean
an I mean they pretty much hate work period, but I mean if all their friends
are workin in one spot, they pretty much do whatever, it's a laid back job an
ya show em a good like, ya know what I mean - hey, here ya go, ya know,
stary dressin em out them scrubby ass clothes ya know. Here put on this
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Thailand or Laos, ya know. I mean the majority of em are gettin in gangs
right away, bein that they see - Oh, wow, look at all these gang members
they got, ya know. Another ways a way for me ta get girls, ya know what I
mean. Get girls, maybe it's ta be cool an so I won't be called a nerd an, ya
know what I mean, an thas the most thing, they hate bein called nerds. I
dunno, I guess thas how they see themselves gettin girls or whatever, ya
know.
What about you, is there anything that could have been done, cuz you had
kind of left the gang if I remember right, and then you went back. Is there
any support that could have been given to you when you left so you wouldn't
have gone back?
Well, for me it's jus, it's pretty much my own choice here, cuz um, I dunno,
it is kinda hard when yer (unclear) ya know what I mean. Have friends ever
since yer little an grow up wid em, ya know what I mean an jus cut em off an
not, ya know, hang around wid em. It's kinda hard, but after I (unclear) I
went back, cuz it's an off an on thing ya know, an I was hardly wid them, I
was there once in awhile an I was more worried about, ya know, who am I
gonna get married to, what am I gonna do fer a job, my education, ya know
what I mean. So, thas the only reason why I, ya know I went back ta school
an I had a steady girlfriend then, too an I guess I was jus mostly with her,
hardly ... 1see em once in awhile, I hang out wid em like maybe three times
a week, maybe ya know what I mean. But I guess the second time was, it
was, it was my choice ya know what I mean.
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Chris 25
shirt, tie go out there good lookin, urn, here's a good job, or here's a job
whatever that you might enjoy doin, ya know an they get money, ya know,
an they might - oh yeah, ya know, I'm gettin paid fer this .. this is ahh ... show
em, show em somethin better than what they're doin right now, they think
what they're doin right now is cool an fun an I dunno.
It is cool and fun, but then bad things happen. It's not like somebody's doing
bad stuff all the time. What are the kinds of questions that adults need to be
asking? What are the kinds of questions you ask? I mean you talk about
parents, because truly I think you're probably an expert that's probably
making more of a difference than anybody on the outs right now. I mean
you're significant getting some of these kids to turn. So, you ask about
parents and kids, what else is important to a young Hmong male?
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Well, me an the guys here, we've gotten together in a whole group an had
a conversation about, ya know, our culture, ya know what I mean. It, it
seems ta be important, ya know, I've talked to em an everybody agree ya
know, it's the ones that have been thinkin about that an they been thinkinWow, our culture is important, ya know what I mean. Bein that we're all,
bein gang members an all, ya know, who's gonna be there when our
generation gets ta be the grandparents an all that. Who's gonna be the
Shaman's, who's gonna, ya know, run all the weddings an stuff. An I ask
"Disease" (street name) what are ya spose ta do at a Hmong wedding when
yer son gets married to somebody's daugther, ya know. What are ya spose
ta do, jus tell yer son ta give er a ring an say let's get married an we jus
throw a, ya know, like .. 1dunno, I call a White wedding, ya know what I mean.
An, I tell em, we gotta ... if we don't, if we don't push ourselves to learn
everything about our culture, nobody's gonna know what to do, ya know
when the old people are all gone an our generation is, ya know, nobody's
gonna know what ta do. An our culture's gonna die slowly, an pretty soon
our language is gonna go an we jus gonna be another ya know, I dunno, jus
be a lost race, ya know. I've seen concern about that, ya know, like
(unclear) he doesn't like the way how our culture runs marriages an stuff an
I mean, cuz I told em, I said even though you don't like it, ya know what I
mean, it's .. it's the culture, ya know, it's our culture. Ya can't hate it, I mean
if ya hate it, it doesn't you can always, you don't hafta have alcohol at the,
at the wedding ya know you an have pop or whatever, ya know what I mean.
You can pretty much mix, ya know what I mean, there's nothin wrong with
mixing, ya know an jus as long as all the rituals an stuff go the same way, ya
know'Nhat I mean. That'd be fine ya know. I've seen pretty concern about
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that an they all start tellin me - yeah, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do that an
yeah, I'm gonna try ta help out wid the Hmong community, ya know. They
all wanna get back, maybe back to the Hmong community, ya know what I
mean. Soon as they do that, ya know, if they start getting back to the Hmong
Community than they'll start thinkin - wow, ya know, if I get back ta them, I
jus try ta get back ta everybody, ya know, an they jus try ta get back to the
community, do whatever they can or they jus change, ya know.
Sounds like you're creating a new gang with a focus of restoration, of
restoring the youth.
Right.
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18.18
KC:
Do you know a lot about your culture? I mean have you read any books
about the culture and the rituals and all?
Well, me an the guys in here we've traced, with HAP's we've traced our
C:
ancestors way ... all the way to the beginning where we're originally from, ya
know. Our origin, we traced our origin all the way back an um, I know, I
know pretty much, I know a lot about my culture. I jus don't know how ta, ya
know, little things about like, if I get married what am I spose ta say or ya
know. But, I've talked to a lot a old people, ya know, an like I said it's, like
I've told the guys here too, ya know, on the streets it's good ta have old
people's respect, ya know, ta have old people everywhere ya go shake yer
hand an ya know, call yer name on, like ya know, I mean - how ya dOing?
Like yer their friend, ya know what I mean. An, I got a brother-in-law thas a
Shaman an my grandpa an then my dad they been, they been ya know ever
since I been little they been teachin me about the culture an stuff. Like some
a these kids, you go over to their house, ya know what I mean, an some a
these kids they jus sit there an watch TV. They open the door fer you an jus
walk away, ya know what I mean. They don't know how ta like, greet cha or
nothin, ya know what I mean. Cuz my dad told me when I was littte that
every time someone comes over, I'm always spose ta greet em, ya know
what I mean. Shake their hand, ya know what I mean, an I didn't do it for
awhile ya know, an he hada keep remindin me an then pretty soon I jus
started doin it an I could see, ya know, I could see the change in the
people's attitude that come over, ya know what I mean. Like, I go over an
shake their hand an he'd be like - Oh (unlcear) this your son, ya know,
yeah .... ya know, I dunno, I jus see the change in em, ya know. Most a these
kids jus sit there an ya know, give em a glance an continue on with whatever
they're doin or go ta their room or jus ignore em, ya know what I mean an I
told some a these guys, I've asked some a these guys - I said - how many
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Chris 27
21:07
KC
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Yeah. How do you become a Shaman in your culture?
Ah, I spose, there's only a few there. Spose ta be a select, ah spose ta
happen naturally or somethin, ya know. I never really asked about that, but
I think (unclear) there's only a certain few that become Shaman, ya know
what I mean. I guess it gets passed down the line from old Shaman to
probably his son or somethin, ya know what I mean. But, I'm not really sure.
Yeah. And usually it's kind of a born inherited gift and then somebody
teaches and practices it. Maybe Chris is a Shaman and hasn't fully started
recognizing and practicing and studying?
Maybe, maybe.
It sounds like it's in your family, right?
Actually my in-law. I'm not sure about any a us in my family, cuz my family
we been ah, I don't know Christians, ya know what I mean, I been goin ta
church since I was, ever since we got ta this country I guess, ya know. I'm
not really sure. My grandma talked about .. Shaman stuff an I'm not sure it's
in the immediate family, but my in-law, ya know it's .....
Well, what I know is that if it's something that's inherited genetically that
some generations may go through practicing Christian and what I watch a
lot is that people almost are like dual cultural or dual religion. So, traditional
Shaman can fit with other. Spirituality is spirituality and we can practice in
different ways. What I hear you saying is values, that one of the ways you're
able to work with the young men is by restoring and teaching values of
respect.
Right. Bein then, ya know with guys there's pride, so bein ... 1mean you don't
have ta hurt their pride jus by callin em a girl or whatever, I mean jus go
toward their future, ya know, jus hit em, about their values an their future an
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a you guys do that? How many a you guys do that YJhen people come over?
Ya know. Maybe one of em, one or two of em do, the rest jus - yeah, I
usually go ta my room or leave, ya know what I mean. I'm tryin ta tell em it's
good ta have old people ta respect ya an respect old people an it's good to
have em as your friends. It's not like, I mean, It's not a bad thing ta have, to
know old people. It's actually a good thing, ya know what I mean. I
appreciate, cuz I'm ... that'li help em out too. Havin respect from old people,
ya know, instead a old people lookin at em an - oh, you gang, you jus gang
bangers an ya know get away from me, whatever. It, it makes ya feel good
ta have old people respect you, ya know like you'll be walkin around, they'll
come shake yer hand an ask you how you're doin or whatever an I mean,
actually makes ya feel good, ya know.
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stuff an that pretty much hits their pride too, ya know what I mean. That
makes em think. Ya knowVv'hat I mean - if I'm gonna be man, ya know, what
am I gonna do. I'm not gonna, I won't be a man if I don't have a job an I can't
even raise my family or nuttin, ya know what I mean. There's too many,
(unclear) there's too many people on welfare as it is, ya know what I mean,
I dunno. I say if you're gonna be a man then ya know, look at the future, ya
know what I mean. I told em (unclear) too ya know, there's nothin wrong with
it, but in our culture it's not good ta have a wife that is smarter than you an,
ya know what I mean, it's good ta be equal but if she's smarter than you an
stuff everybody.. an they'll look down on you and like, ya know, you married
a .... 1dunno they'll probably jus, I dunno they'll be on the wife's side all the
time. She coulda done somthin an you could jus go complain about her to
her mom an dad an all her family get together an it's like oh well bein she's
smarter than he is, whatever, an he could be the person, ya know, causin
problems in the marriage or whatever, ya know. Talk about that, an their
thinkin - yeah your right, ya know what I mean, I don't think I'm gonna marry
anybody smarter than me, ya know, what I mean. An I say, by the time we
get out, ya know, usually girls are smarter than, ya know what I mean. All
these girls are smart, they're all goin ta school, ya know. An I'm sayin, jus
you guys aren't goin ta school an the only way ta be smarter than them or be
equal is jus hit the books real hard, ya know what I mean.
Do you help them learn to read, the punctuation or are they, like I know Thai
is real uncomfortable that he doesn't know, is he going to school or do you
do a lot of the helping?
He goes ta school, everybody here goes ta school petty much. The only
person that doesn't go ta school is urn probably Foo an a Moue. Moue he's,
I dunno, he's pursuin some vocation, ya know what I mean. He's got a
certificate already for a barber shop, ya know, I dun no what he's gonna do
next, but that's a good start, ya know. He's got somethin ta look forward to,
he could open up a hair shop wherever. An, Foo, he's a pretty good artist,
ya know. I mean, actually I won't say pretty good, he's a great artist, ya
know an he could, he could draw picture perfect. I'm pretty sure if he
pursues it, I mean he's older than I am, so I, ya know, I don't really feel
comfortable tellin em what ta do, I ask em whatever, but. ... pretty sure if he
pursues that, ya know, his art work, he'll make a lot a money.
26.09
KC:
Have I met Foo?
C:
I don't think you have, no.
KC:
If you could get real introspective, in other words look inside deep, what
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Chris 29
have you learned since you've .... cuz you've been here 3 years?
Bout, bout three years.
What have you learned about you since you've been here?
What have I learned about me? Um, I'm not sure.
Nobody's asked you that for a long time.
Nobody.
Ok, well now you've got something to think about. Because in the two years
since I've interviewed you, you have grown a lot. It sounds like it's a
powerful road that you're on here and being able to look inside. If you were
to say somthing to young kids, 9, 10, 11 years old, young Hmong males,
what would your message be to them?
What would my message be to them, huh? Um, I'd jus basically tell em, ya
know, everything I been through, ya know an tell em there's better, cooler
things ta do, ya know what I mean.
C:
27.25
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Ya don't have ta go ta gangs to be cool or get girls, ya know what I mean.
There's better things, ya know, there's it's a lot better havin money an 'Near
good clothes an have respect than it is to, um sit out in a parkin lot an jus ya
know hang out. Thas just a waste of your life.
The kids that are already in gangs, that are committed, that are having fun.
Is there something that you can say to them about looking at the life that
they've chosen?
Like I said, I jus, ya know, question em about their future, ya know what I
mean. They jus can't look as far as tomorrow an bein that they're in gangs,
ya know what I mean, they think they're havin fun already, they're cool, ya
know, they think they're getting respect in the V\,()fld, but alii can really say,
it's all fun an games but ya know all of a sudden this rival gang comes over
here an, ya know, shoots you, shoots one a your friends or whatever in front
a you an most a your friends are gonna wanna bailout after that, ya know,
cuz they'll be scared er if you get shot, you'll wanna bailout after that cuz
you'll be scared, ya know what I mean an I kinda ask em about is their future
an what, what they plan ta do. They jus can't look as far as tomorrow, ya
know.
Where is Chirs going? What, you've got 7 more years here?
Um, bout another 11 or 12.
11 or 12. So, what are your goals for the next 5 years?
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29.27
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Um, I'm pursuin a vocation now, too. I'm jus, I'm gonna try ta get as many
trades as I can, ya know. Get a barber' certificate, maybe get a butcher
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Since I've been born.
Catholic or Protestant?
Well, we've been around Baptists, I was baptized as a Baptist, my parent an
them now are Lutheran an ....
In the Catholic Religion they have Monks and Ministers kind of do a lot of
pulling away and just studying. I have several friends that were Monks or
Brothers and did quiet contemplative study until they were in their mid-30's.
Kind of strikes me like that's a road that Chris is on. When you get out, you
know you're preparing, what do you want to do when you get out?
Jus basically help out these kids, ya know what I mean. I don't wanna see
em worse than they are now, ya know what I mean, cuz they're, they gettin
pretty bad. But, I've heard that some of em, at least some of em have got
jobs, cuz they're startin ta want, want expensive things, like cars an all that
stuff an apartments an I jus wanna help em, jus get through this, ya know,
gang bullshit, ya know what I mean. All this - I'm gonna shoot you, I'm
gonna beat your buddy up here an you go get yer guys an come back an
beat one a my guys up an ya know. Tha stuff's back an forth, ya know what
I mean, it's pointless, ya know. There's no point to it, I'm, I jus wanna try
helpin, I jus wanna help em see that, ya know, that there's no point in all this
that they're doin or nuttin. You can, you worried about gettin girls, you get
girls anyway, ya know what I mean. You could be a, I mean a doctor, ya
know, even the biggest nerds married, ya know what I mean. It doesn't
matter what chu do, ya know what I mean.
The Hmong boys mostly want to get Hmong girls, they're not interested in
getting European girls are they?
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certificate, ya know, get my AA degree, ya know Vvilat I mean an I'm gonna
try everything. I dunno, I'm jus gonna try ta get as much as I can from hear,
ya know.
So in the next five years you're going to get some trade certificates, an
Associate of Arts degree. What about in the nest 12 years Vvilat are your
goals?
Next 12. Well, hopefully I can get myself started so when I get out I can start
my career bein in, I'll be in my early 30's an thas just about the right time ta
start your career an everything, ya know. An, jus try an get myself set like
any ordinary person out on streets, ya know what I mean. An get myself
goin, get my career started, ya know.
You said you've been Christian since you've been here, what...
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32.25
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The majority of em, yeah, yeah. They jus wanna, they ya know, we got a few
that are sorted out ya know. Like these guys, they jus wanna gang bang for
the girls an these guys wanna gang bang jus ta build up their name, an they
don't even, ya know. They got em in categories, ya know what I mean.
Do the Hmong girls like the gang bangers? Do they see that as something
glamorous and that's why the guys want to be gang bangers?
That's what it seems like, but I dunno. Like it seems like girls get older too,
they look for somebody not in baggy, raggy clothes. They look for somebody
maybe wearin slacks an boots an ya know, that dresses nice, ya know what
I mean. An, I've seen that as they, as they get older, but they still in like,
they're still in that gang stuff, ya know what I mean, like I can be a gang
member, but if I dress nice whatever no girls like ya. But, some do, as they
get older, ya know, they get out of it, it gets old.
Maybe what we need to do is get to the girls and start raising the
consciousness of the girls and having them deliver the message to the boys.
Well, like if you guys hold like a big 01 conference or whatever an ya got a
(unclear) full a guys, only a fews gonna come, but if ya know, girls come or
(unclear) they're all gonna show up, ya know what I mean, thas where all the
girls are at, ya know. That does seem ta attract em, wherever there's girls,
they're there, ya know.
What a bunch of the guys have told me, is that they get the girls to give them
money so that they don't have to spend their money and they don't have to
work as hard.
Urn, a lot a guys like ta brag about that, I don't think thas true. There's some
a these guys that talk about it, but then all of a sudden next thing they're
asking for a quarter or nickel or ya know, whatever. Like, if your girls
supportin you so much an she's sendin you so much money how come ya
know, right away your, ya know, askin for this an that, ya know what I mean.
An, I think guys jus say that, jus ta so guys will envy em, ya know, the guys
like - Oh, wow, I wish I was like you. I don't think it's true. My girl never
gave me any a her money, so.
I had one kid say it was the American way to have women support men.
I don't think it is. I YtOuldn't never spend her money ya know, even if she did
give, I wouldn't never spend it.
But you were raised with a lot of values.
Right.
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KC:
C:
KC:
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35.22
KC: The Hmong culture is a culture of lots of rich values, but is it hard for the
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KC:
Hmong culture to pass that down to the young people because the parents
have gone through so much stress or are working so hard?
It's not hard, it's not hard. Jus gotta have somebody with patience ta pass
it down, ya know what I mean. If you don't have any patience, you won't be
able ta pass it down, but the more patience ya have, ya know, with us
teenagers, ya know, it'll get passed down.
I know when my son was a teenager he didn't listen to me very much. He's
beginning to listen a bit more because he's 28. Maybe it's about you kids
talking to the teenagers, because teenagers, traditionally, don't' listen to
parents or aunts or uncles.
Right. That's what we gotta work on. We gotta work on, ya know, havin the
kids have respect, ya know, gain respect for your parents an all that stuff.
Parents, ya gotta, like they said, ya gotta treat em respect to get respect, ya
know what I mean. An parents jus gotta be more patient an treat you guys
with respect an pretty soon they'll start listenin, ya know what I mean, it'll
click in their head like - wow, ya know, my parents never treated me like this
before, ya know. I mean, they never talked to me, joked around with me, ya
know, whatever. See in the Hmong community their parents, parents aren't
really all that bad, ya know like how some people say me an my parents
argue all the time, we don't get along an no, it's not, it's not like that, ya know
what I mean. I mean I seen a lot a kids an their parents, but I mean it's
never like that, I know a couple American kids an my parents, ya know, got
alcohol, ya know they're either an alcoholic or a drug addict. A lot parents
in the Hmong community aren't like that, they're stressed out maybe, but I
mean it's not like they're always hittin you or somethin. If it is, well I mean,
it's usually a kid that's threatening their parents or raisin his voice, ya know
what I mean. I've seen a lot a people like that, ya know, go in there an ya
know, mom, gimme money, gimme some money, ya know what I mean.
She's like, she's tryin ta she don't wanna give em money, she knows it's
gonna go ta drugs or alcohol, whatever, she's like no, I don't have it. Ya
know, an all of a sudden out from no where a kid jus bursts out, mom gimme
some money now or when I come back I'm gonna beat chu up or ya know I'm
gonna do something, ya know what I mean. I dunno. They gotta, I mean,
they gotta, parents do hafta show who's boss too, but I mean they gotta do
it with respect. . . . .
37.57
KC:
Now, I've talked to your mom on the phone, she speaks very good English,
but still a lot of the parents aren't speaking English. Does that make the kids
feel like they're more powerful than the parents?
They do, they do, they do an plus I dun no it jus makes em .... my parents, ya
C:
know, they speak Englis an they were gonna go out somewhere ya know
with .... 1mean they feel embarrassed cuz their parents can't speak English,
so they bring, ya know they don't wanna bring anybody nice, like most of em
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Chris 33
won't wanna bring their, like if they're goin out with your Gaucausian girl,
they won't wanna bring her home, cuz my parents don't speak English,
alright. Or whatever if they wanna go ta school or whatever, ya know meet
my teachers ya know, I'm like no, ya know, they don't even know how ta
speak English. I jus rag on em an put em down, ya know what I mean. I
dunno they get embarrassed about that, thas probably what, ya know makes
em act like they are too, ya know what I mean.
How do we address that? Well, it appears that the parents haven't chosen
to learn how to speak English, because there are parents, like your parents,
that have chosen. So those parents must not be feeling very good about
themselves either if they ........ and it's hard, it's a very different language.
Right. If it's like that, I jus tell em - what are you around for? Ya know, I'll
ask em - what did your mom an dad have you for? Ya know, what the hell
you doin around, your spose ta be there ta help em, they don't (unclear) you
spose ta be translatin for them, ya know what I mean. If this lady got, ya
know, 5, 6 kids an she's gonna come over here an ask me ta translate ya
know, I'm gonna think ya know, I'm gonna feel sorry for her. I'm like gee,
you got all these kids an ya know what I mean, they don't wanna help you
out or nuttin. I mean, thas bad when ya gotta go ta somebody else ta help
out. I jus feel sorry for her, ya know.
So you kind of challenge the kids to teach the parents English so the parents
can raise their levels?
G:
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40.07
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Well, they use ta come like once a month, but I haven't seen em for,
since last year. Summer a last year. They have access though, jus like
you, ya know, they come in every Monday or Monday once a month an
jus chat with us. Bring us the newspapers an ya know like the youth
circle stuff, ya know what I mean. They bring some a that stuff in, ask
us how everything's goin ya know, we ask em how everything's goin on
the streets. What's new or whatever. They haven't came, haven't seen
em come for awhile.
in
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G:
Right, right. Why look down on em when you can help em, ya know what I
mean.
Are you still practicing your Hmong?
Yeah. I still. We speak a lot in the house, bein that there's a lot a us. Bein
in (unclear) we speak a lot in there.
Because it's important for you to stay bi-lingual. That's very important for
you. You said Hap ...... does Hap have access where he comes in and works
with you guys?
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KG:
But you said that they helped you, they did some history stuff with you. Was
that here in prison?
41.15
G:
Yeah. They brought some papers an stuff, then .... cuz they went ta visit
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KC:
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C:
some a the Hmong people that lived in China an they helped us trace our
origin, ya know.
Sounds like that was real important for you guys.
That was important, it was important. Some a, some a these guys they didn't
really care about it, ya know what I mean, until we started (unclear) an they
said - oh yeah, you still got that booklet, that pack, whatever, an ya know
bring it down, let me read it, ya know.
Do you miss them not coming back?
Well, in a way I do. Cuz, I knew, I knew them guys from Hap from the streets
ya know, I've talked to em an I knew their brothers an stuff. I kinda do miss
gettin all them Hmong newspapers ya know, hearin about. ... it's good ta hear
about the community once in awhile, ya know what I mean. I miss that.
Were you guys all able to meet together or did they just meet with you
individually?
At first they only brought us in two at a time, but after, like the last two times
we got, ya konw, to get together as a group, ya know.
I think that that would be important.
Yeah, an then too, everybody was in separate houses ya know. They
brought us all together an we got ta see each other ya know. This guys in
a rival gang, but ya know, if I see em I'm all smiles an like - hey, what's up,
ya know what I mean. I'm happy ta see em ya know, it didn't matter.
Everybody was like that, ya know what I mean. Bein (unclear), Moua's here
they kinda fight here already, ya know what I mean, bout gang stuff. An, ya
know, basically saw each other an they was like, ya know, all smiles - hey,
how ya doin? ya know, heard ya were leavin pretty soon, ya know. Jus
chattin like they were friends ya know what I mean. They could get, all the
rival gangs up there they get along man, they're all at one time either friends
or ya know, whatever, cousins or whatever. They could all get along, it's not
hard.
What would it take for everybody to put their flags down?
To get a truce, to create .... turn them into social service clubs or something?
Urn, I'm not sure about that, but I mean like I said gang task force is good,
then, do like parties every once in awhile, where all flags down an everybody
gets together an pretty soon, if they keep doin that constantly, everybody 'II
start reminiscing about their past, ya know what I mean, an ya know start
laughin an talkin an I dunno they'll jus be cool, ya know what I mean. I mean
you can be gang members, but I mean you ain't gotta do all that violent stuff,
ya know, it's not a have ta, ya know what I mean, it's your choice that ya
hafta make this gang your rival, rivals ya know what I mean. You don't have
ta, you always jus be friends, ya know what I mean.
You all have a same history, you know like the army and navy people are
rivals when they're in the army and the navy. My son went to St. Thomas
in
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Chris 35
and St. John's, big rival schools. What else do I need to ask you? What do
you want to say to the kids on the streets or what do you want to say to the
parents?
Urn, that the parents are a big part of, ya know, helpin the kids change. An,
thas where it does start though, your parents, ya know that's were it starts.
Once your parents start naggin or yellin you start sorta respectin em, an
showin that they wanna help you out, ya know. The kids 'II start thinkin.
That's a big part, ya know, some parents need ta change, ya know what I
mean. That'll help the kids change, thas a big part of it. Bein that they
wanna help em out more an show em more respect. That's all it is, respect
an showin em that they really care an they wanna help em out wid it,
whatever, I mean. Cuz some a these kids, some a these parents are like if
their kid's outa control like ya know, oh-I don't wanna support you or nuttin,
ya know what I mean. An they feel bad, an say - oh, what the hell, if you're
not gonna help me out, I'll jus go ta my friends, they probably love me more
than you do, ya know what I mean. See these parents are, like my dad
awhile back, when I was young, he had a hard time showin how much he
cared for me an stuff, ya know. So he hada show it through his anger, ya
know what I mean. An after awhile, ya know, he started showin respect,
started treatin me ya know like he, supportin me an stuff, ya know what I
mean. I started thinkin I was like - wow, he's not as bad as ya know I
thought he really was, ya know what I mean, an my friends don't do as much
for me as he, as he would, ya know what I mean. If I get shot my friends
would probably jus leave me there, an my dad would probably try ta take the
bullet for me. I dunno, parents are a big part in it.
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46.00
KC:
So I think what I'm hearing you say is that when the kids start getting in
some trouble and gang banging, the parents get really frustrated and they'll
do what is done in Hmong cultures, disassociate and get angry and say you go away, I'm not going to have anything to do with you. And you're
saying, parents need not.. .. that isn't useful, parents need to continue to set
boundaries, but show love and respect, say - no, I don't like this, but I still
love you.
Right, right. Cuz, why should the kids go out there an try ta get respect
C:
when they could get respect inside the home, ya know what I mean. Ya
know the parents could show em respect, ya know.
So the parents aren't showing respect and that's one of the things that's
KC:
pushing some of the kids into the gangs?
Right. Most parents think that if they act tough to the kids, ya know, the
C:
kids'll start listenin more, ya know, like if I, if I get mad at my kid I jus grab em
an jus give em a whoopin, he'll get scared an ok, ya know, I'll stop ... stop
whatever I'm doin, ya know what I mean. But, ya know, that's not the way,
if he, if my parents did that I'd leave home an never come back, ya know
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Chri~
KG:
G:
what I mean. I would jus be mad, but they jus gotta start showin.... they're a
big part a this.
Ok, if I could get in here with a video camera, would you be willing to talk to
parents and say that and say it in Hmong?
Yeah, yeah I would. I mean it'd be nice if they, ya know, they could ask
questions an stuff. It'd be a lot easier to answer, ya know their questions an
stuff, ya know, but yeah, I'd do.
Ok. Well maybe we can even. I don't know if 'He can bring people in to ask
questions, but maybe we can get questions to be asked, and do that. What
else do you want to say?
That's about it.
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36
Tape turned off and started up again with Chris talking.
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she jus embarrassed me.
What could she have done? What might have worked?
I'm pretty sure all that woulda worked, jus that I didn't. I dunno, cuz I kinda
thought she was .... it was kinda stupid ta do whatever she was doin ya know
what I mean. It was embarrass me so I went, ya know what I mean. I'm not
the type a person, ya know, jus ta snap at my mom an tell her an threaten
her an all that stuff. She embarrasses me, I'm, ya know, I'm gonna leave my
friends an go with her, ya know what I mean. When I, in the car, ya know,
I jus tell her - geez mom, why do ya have ta come over here an embarrass
me like that when I'm with my friends, ya know what I mean. She jus laughin,
ya know what I mean, like - that's one way ta get you away from that, that's
what I'll do ya know.
Did it help you get away from the gang?
Well, it didn't. .... she got me away for, ya know, for a whole day she'll take
me out shoppin an .. 1benefitted from that, ya know what I mean, every time
she does that, I go an get some new shoes or new clothes or whatever, I
benefitted. That got me away for a couple days, ya know.
But you kept going back enough that the attitudes an the challenges still
created a behavior that got you here. Is there anything in a perfect world
that your mom could have done to have totally pulled you away from the
gang so you wouldn't have acted out in the gang mentality?
49.26
G:
I don't think, I don't think there was. Maybe in a earlier time, ya know what
I mean she woulda, like when I was younger stayed home whatever,
whenever I went ta play was with my dad an my mom an they would take me
fishin, whatever. Take me out to the park, whatever. I mean, I guess it's
the bond that parents are spose ta have with their kids, or they should
have with their kids. Ya know probably prevent em from early age from
gettin in the gangs, ya know what I mean. If I had fun with my parents, ya
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Chris 37
know my brothers an maybe a few selected friends, hey, ya know what I
mean, I'm jus gonna stick ta that. Instead a findin these friends that are jus
misleadin me ya know what I mean. I dunno.
Why do you suppose that bond wasn't able to be created, was there so
much hard work and being in a new Country and new places or...... .
I think so, it's probably been new country an ....
I know! didn't do a good job of bonding with my son, I'm not good with little
kids. So I get to look at that and say - golly I was lucky, gangs weren't there
when he was in High School and he didn't do it. What do parents need to
do to bond with their kids more. Is that something in Hmong culture or is this
a new skill that Hmong parents need to learn to do?
I think it's a new skill they need to learn to do. Cuz, I mean, parents should
once in awhile take their kids ta work with them an ya know, you you already
seen parents go play with their kids or do anything the kids, ya know, wanna
do. It's like my mom right now is she doin with my little" brother an Sister,
they wanna go play video games, she takes em up to Arcade, my little sister
or whatever. I'm kinda happy, ya know what ! mean, cuz I don't think my little
brother an sister is gonna end up like, ya know, me an my other brothers
have. But I'm pretty sure they're gonna the ..... cuz, my mom's bonding with
em, ya know what I mean an doin whatever.... they'll say like mom I don't
hafta go meet with my friends an do whatever ya know, why go with my
friends, I can go with my mom, ya know what I mean. An, it's not so bad.
In Hmong families, do they .... ! know you have family gatherings. There's
huge gatherings and huge funerals and huge weddings. But, are there like
small family gatherings; one aunt and uncle and the kids and everybody
goes to the lake and plays, stuff like that?
KC:
C:
KC:
52.13
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We got that. Like if my dad's plannin a fishin trip, ya know, my aunt an my
uncle, whatever. He'd call em an, ya know, ask em iftheywanna go an they
have em ..... it's mostly fishin trips thought, it's about it.
Are mom and dad married?
Yeah, they're married.
So, dad likes to fish?
He loves fishin, he loves it.
Do you like fishing?
Yeah, I got into it, ya know. When I dropped outa school, he'd wake me up
like 3 or 4 in the morning, ya know, tell me ta go fishin with em. I'm like, ya
know, that's too early, I jus got ta bed for a couple hours. Ya know, he's like
- come on, let's go with ...... I'd go with em, he'd buy me a pack a cigarettes
ya know an I'd go there, an ya know he'd tell me - I expect that pack a
cigarettes ta last for a whole week, ya know what I mean. He said - if it
doesn't than I'm not gonna buy you any more. Then! was under, ya know I
was underage too, an I said Ok, sure. An we'd go fishin an he'd tell me, ya
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Chris 38
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know, he'd tell me, ya know he'd talk ta me calmly ya know, an say whadaya think I come out here ta fish cuz I like fishin? I dunno, I spose he
liked it, thas why he come an fish. I said, well, I like ta fish, he says he
watches the water an stuff an see how it moves, see how nature works an
ya know thinks. Thinks about, ya know, whatever, what he could do an
thinks what he could do for future, what he could do for my future an
everybody else's future. He says he jus goes out there an thinks, ya know
what I mean. I guess for him it's like a meditation thing, ya know what I
mean. When he goes out fishin he can sit out there an jus meditate an listen
to water an all that.
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53.54
KC: Sounds like you got to learn a lot about your dad that way.
C:
Yeah, yeah. I learned a lot. Before, I use ta think he was just a, some
grouchy 01 man, ya know what I mean cuz he's got a loud voice an he's
always gettin mad an ya know yellin at us, ya know what I mean. An soon
as I reached about 14, 15 years old started ya know, I started learn in more
about em, ya know, he started openin himself up ta me ya know an started
showin the respect that I want, ya know what I mean. Talk to me like I was
jus not his son, but like a friend or a peer, ya know what I mean. An, I, ya
know, I jus thought that was pretty cool, ya know.
KC: Howald were you then?
Bout 14, 15.
C:
KC: Howald did you need that to be happening?
C:
To need ... ?
KC: For him to start talking to you with more respect?
C:
Oh, that was ... thas a good age ta start. From, anywhere from 12 an up, ya
know what I mean. 12, 13, 14, by the time ya hit 15 probably be a little late,
but.
KC: Howald were you when you started banging?
C:
Bout 12, 13, ya know.
KC: But it sound like when you were 12, 13, dad would just get angry and kind
of push you away. If he had done the fishing, respect, lets just take time and
talk at 12, do you think it would have made a difference?
C:
Pretty sure it would of. It might of. Pretty sure it woulda.
KC: You have older brothers?
C:
Yeah, I got um 3 older brothers.
KC: Have they all gone through the gangs?
C:
Ah, two of em have. One's in, ya know, he's been good always gettin
straight A's, college boy, ya know what I mean. He has, but my oldest an
third oldest they been through this, this third oldest he hasn't been as
much .... he hasn't really been in trouble all he probably got was jus for drinkin
under age an stuff, but my oldest brother he's been in an out a institutions.
He got, did prison time in California an ya know, he left the house when he
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Chris 39
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was like 15, 16 ta go ta California an I didn't see em til he was like, he came
back when he was about 22,24, so.
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56.16
KC: Is he still bangin?
C:
Well, he wasn't for awhile, but my mom an dad said he's gettin back to it.
An, I mean, he's not really bangin, but ya know he's hang in around his old
friends again an at least he still has a job an stuff, but. .... they jus don't like
that he's back with his old friends an ya know goin out all night an whatever.
KC: Well, when you get out of here, you might be able to hang out with your old
friends, but all the ones that you've helped reform.
56.46
C:
Right. It would be nice. It'd be nice. Ah, we could reminisce ya know, I like
reminiscing about the past, ya know what I mean. Talkin about, yeah you
remember this, remember that, ya know, remember the good times an stuff,
ya know.
KC: Chris, you're a great interview. Thanks.
57.10
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Chris 40
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