A history of radical activism in the Bay Area.
Wow, I thought this was really old, reminded me of something from the mid '80's. Then I noticed that the clothes were all current styles. I got a question though, from an old white guy from the North Bay, where we don't have very many Black people. What's a Scraper Bike? Even if I never find out, I liked it. Off the subject. I finally took the time to root around in old posts. What a fun blog you've got. I liked the post on Locke. I read that book and went there over 20 years ago. Back then it looked to be almost completely abandoned. Things appear to have revived a bit, without the character of the town changing much. Once again, I have to compliment you on your work here. I wish more folks knew how much fun local history can be.
jon-In Oakland slang, those big cars from the seventies that have been decked out with fancy rims and hydraulics, are called "scrapers." (I don't know the origin of the term.) So a scraper bike is a bike that's been customized in a similar way. I'm guessing that "scraper bike" is a jocular term, in keeping with the lighthearted tone of the song and video. It's nice to see some Oakland kids being creative and fun instead of directing their energy in negative directions.
OK, that makes plenty of sense. Scraping as when you dump the hydraulics at one end and the bumper scrapes the ground. David, don't forget, we live in a society that doesn't much like kids, really dislikes teenage boys and flat out hates Black teenage boys, despite that Oakland kids are as capable of creativity and fun as any group of kids anywhere. Plus, lots of relatively innocent things become demonized when Black kids do them. Good example would be car culture. When Black kids do it, it's called a 'Side Show' and there's lots of stuff on the news about the need for police action against it. When white kids do it, it's called 'Drifting' and it's on ESPN. White groups that are into 'drifting' are organized in 'clubs', while Black sideshows are put on by 'gangs', etc. Plus when a Black kid does something dumb at a sideshow, he is likely to end up in real grown up prison. When a white kid does something dumb at a drifting event, he ends up in traffic court. Then we wonder why there's so much 'negativity' from those kids. That's why I liked the video, it's not just light hearted, it even shows a little vulnerability. Hard for a kid to let his guard down these days. Jon the frustrated editorialist.
Jon,I'm totally on board with everything you say. When I wrote "directing their energy in negative directions," I didn't mean hip hop or side shows or any other aspect of Oakland youth culture. I specifically had in mind the 36 homicides we've had in Oakland so far this year (on pace to set a new record, at least in recent years), and dozens more non-fatal shootings.
I have to dedicate this post to my student "Scraper," (aka Alex) who got the nickname after getting his ass kicked on Foothill, well before Scrapers were even called that on the scene. This same amazing young man did a fabulous project last year where he hooked up "slap" (a sound system with mad bass) to a trike and made a fresh speaker box and sweeters (speakers on the handle bars).. he showed me this video a month or so ago.. Big ups to you for being with the youth culture serazin. And big ups to you Jon for looking up all the slang online! AHHAHAHAH
By the way, in oakland side shows and drifting are not just a black and white thing.. many Latinos and Asian kids are in the center of this culture too.
Yeah, My stepson is into drifting. He explained all of that to me. Some things I can get in person without the internet. My point was that the media portrays 'Drifting' as a sport, with mostly white participants. While 'sideshows' are portrayed as Black and criminal. It's hell getting old. Naw, it's just inconvenient.
danadane - thank you for the props but I owe my knowledge of scraper bikes to Julie from the internet. Thank you Julie and sorry I didn't shout you out in this post!I forgot all about the trike project and I didn't know about Alex's nickname, but I'll be sure to use it next time I see him!
jon - Drifting is totally a new one to me!
I talked with another student Martin who is a crazy drifter (latino) about how different illegal driving tricks are portrayed and criminalized. He thought that in Oakland all races are busted for side shows, and drifting crosses racial lines.. but in the burbs and other areas you wont find side shows, but you do find drifting, thanks to the movies! Felix you should rent Tokyo Drift.. there are a few movies about drifting that have influenced the scene big...
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