California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Fitted Baseball Caps A Way To Show Gang Status

Fitted baseball hats have been a popular trend amongst teenagers and young adults for a long time, but many of these hats have a hidden, negative message.

In the Bay Area, gang culture is not as prevalent as it is in Los Angeles and different parts of southern California, but it does exist. Adolescents tend to use fitted baseball hats as a way to symbolize their gang affiliation.

“I wear red because I’m a Norteno, which means I represent for the northerners,” said gang affiliate Mario Nevarez. “And the SF on my hat isn’t for the San Francisco 49ers, the SF stands for scrap-free.”

Many Norteno’s wear the “SF” symbol as a way to disrespect the rival Sureno gang, Norteno’s refer to Soreno’s as “scraps” and “sewer rats,” the San Francisco 49er hat is the Norteno’s way of flaunting their red colors and showing their dislike of the rival southerners.

The feud between the Norteno’s and Sureno’s comes from a 1970’s prison war between the Nuestra Family and the Mexican Mafia that resulted in a split between Mexicans in southern and northern California.

Norteno’s have also been known to wear Washington Nationals hats with the letters “DC,” however instead of representing the District of Columbia, they wear it with the meaning of, “Death to Crips”.

“We call Sureno’s scraps, and sewer rats but they have derogatory names for us too,” said Nevarez. “They call us Norte’s , chaps or slobs, and they wear LA Dodger hats, Mariners hats, and Dallas Cowboys colors.”

Sureno’s wear the LA Dodger hat simply because it is blue, and represents southern California; the Dodger hat has been synonymous with Crips and Surenos since the gang’s early beginnings.

A member of the Crip gang may wear the Seattle Mariners baseball hat not only because it is blue, but because the letters stand for, “Murder All Roo Idiots Now, Eliminate Red Slobs.” Slob is a derogatory term used toward Norteno’s and “Roo,” is short for the word, “Piru,” a sector of the Blood gang. The “S” on the Seattle Mariner hat is also worn to represent the name, “Sureno”.

Different cities have different street codes that come with the meanings of the hat symbols. In Richmond, California, the letters on the hats are not gang related, but turf related.

“Some youngsters in Richmond use the hat symbols to represent what part of the city they represent,” said Armand Howell of Richmond. “An example would be the C on a Cincinnati Reds hat is for people from Central Richmond.”

Richmond turf affiliates also wear New York Yankees hats, the “NY” is to be read backwards for the term, “young nigga”, and it is worn by those of north Richmond.

Like many baseball fans, Howell enjoys wearing his red Oakland A’s hat, simply because he likes the team. He figured he’d wear his new hat because he thought it was neat that the hat came in the color that matched his polo shirt. But sometimes matching can lead to unwelcoming attention from gang members.

“I don’t partake in gang activity, but I noticed a lot of guys questioned where I was from when I wore my red A’s hat during my last trip to LA,” said Howell. “If everyone would come together and stop hating one another, we could all wear whatever we want without having to worry about if someone wants to start a fight.”

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California State University East Bay
Fitted Baseball Caps A Way To Show Gang Status