I’m curious, how was low rider culture different from the modern East LA Chicano culture (I know vert little about the former)? Was it mainly just less violent and criminal?
They were a lot nicer and easier to get along with. I actually used to hang around with them a bit in high school. I was one of the few White guys who would associate with them. They kept to themselves. They had this certain outfit that they would wear, the women wore way too much makeup and there were a lot of teardrop tattoos. I am not sure what those meant, but I always thought it meant that they felt that life is sad. They had this general sadness about them, both the boys and the girls. But it was a rather appealing sort of fatalistic and resigned sadness.
The boys supposedly had some sort of a gang, but the gang really didn’t do anything. I think maybe they would fight with another gang, but it would just be fistfights and not deadly weapons like it is nowadays. The difference between now and then was that the lowriders were approachable and more or less friendly even though they only wanted to hang with themselves.
Nowadays the Chicano are a lot more hostile and standoffish, and they also have a lot higher self-esteem. The lowriders were this low self-esteem, beautiful loser type crowd. The new ones are much more criminal and dangerous and also a lot more machista. The lowrider boys were not that machista. A number of them were skinny as rails, and no one cared. I think the culture was based on souped up old cars lowered to the ground and cruising.
One of my very first girlfriends was actually a Mexican gang girl. She used to get in fistfights with other girls! They didn’t use deadly weapons like nowadays. Whatever gang she was in (apparently some sort of a Chicana girl gang), it was rather harmless as all they did was get into fistfights with other girls sometimes. She was mostly into smoking pot and getting laid (she was a notorious slut).
I was 17 and she was 15.
Chicana gang girls were very different back then. They were far more assimilated, and they were a lot less dangerous and criminal. She was so assimilated she was just about White. And they were not so demanding of a machisimo boy. But this was also the hippie 1970’s, and you really didn’t have to be macho to get girls. You just had to be the cool guy. If you were Joe Cool, goodlooking and had good game, you could get girls. It was not necessary to be a tattooed caveman.
This is proven by the fact that she went for me, but it was supposedly because I was cute. Actually she and her friend both more or less picked me up at a weekend sex education retreat we were on with the Church. They said I was the cutest guy at the retreat, so they were going to grab me and hog me for themselves and keep all the other girls away from me. I later had sex with both of them, one after the other, in a church at 3 AM! Screwing two 15 year old girls in a church in the middle of the night! Yay!
3 thoughts on “Mexican Lowrider and Gang Culture in the 1970's”
Blood in, Blood out was a good movie about Chicano gang culture in the 70s in LA:
I recall certain anthropologists wrote that Mexican culture(s) (in Mexico) had a fatalistic, kind of melancholically tragic attitude. Maybe current Chicanos are more assimilated, fundamentally, than before, in a sense.
Up in Smoke was a funny movie, but of course, it has indoctrinated millions of teenagers (whose minds can be vastly hurt by it) into destroying thier minds via pot.