Friday, March 30, 2012



You're Not a Biker, You Just Crush A Lot

While I may agree with some of the comments that the staff of Sucka MC Free made and/or the questions that were posed the one thing that stood out to me in this particular blog was “being a biker has very little in fact to do with owning a motorcycle”. If you don't have a bike but you live the biker lifestyle/mindset, why wouldn't you be considered a motorcycle enthusiast? One of the keys to being a biker would be having a bike and riding that bike. If I’m talking to you about my latest road trip or something I experienced on my bike, you may understand or have some idea but how could you really relate to something you haven’t experienced for yourself to some degree or another? Only another rider can relate to the the feeling of me and my bike against the world, the skill involved to be able to navigate through all that they may encounter on the road, and the sense of pride and accomplishment of having a bike. If it were easy everyone would do it.
On the sport bike side of things the term "Real Rider" is used while our cruising counterparts tend to use "biker" more. I've been called both and for some reason I get called crazy a lot also but we’re not going to talk about that right now. As with most things it's a matter of perception and upbringing and/or how they were introduced to the bike world. So if to gain the respect and admiration of your peers you go hard on the Southern State or local circuit of interconnecting road then that’s what you do. On the other side, if mileage and road trips are the determining factor then that’s what you would do on that side.  People get caught up in being a “Real Rider” or “Biker” instead of just being the best "ME" they could be. 

When you do things on the motorcycle scene for yourself you could care less what anybody says or tries to categories you as. Your actions will speak for themselves. My only issue is when people try to be something they’re not. If you’re not built for it, don’t go outside of your comfort zone for the mere sake of your peers accolades. Things happen on the road but don’t let it be due to the fact you were not in your lane and trying to impress someone else.

And on side note there were way too many Blue Oyster* references, LOL

The Irrelevant Black Biker: The Ghost Rider Series
I came on the bike scene as naive as most but have a passion for riding and the lifestyle so I’ve learned a lot along the way. I suppose you could call it on the job training so to speak.  In my circles there were no dominants to be seen just clubs that were around a little longer than some and those were the elders on the sport bike scene. We considered those cats young” elders and that’s where we modeled ourselves from. From my understanding when sport bike clubs were being formed in NY, the traditional bike scene didn’t want anything to do with us, so there was a definite lack of a knowledge/history transfer. 
So as the saying goes ignorance is bliss, but that’s until you come into a situation where ignorance is not a valid excuse. That situation rarely happens when you stay in you comfort zone. Urban translation of “comfort zone” is in your hood, local set, circuit, or whatever else it may be called.

I tell people all the time there’s way more to being in a MC than just riding. First and foremost there is MC protocol the rules that govern the MC community, most have nothing to do with riding but will keep you from unknowingly disrespecting the next man or club. The show love to get love scenario, where if you want others to support you and your clubs functions or activities, you have to be an active supporter of others. While motorcycles may be the common denominator, there are so many other factors that separate us even more as to what we do in the MC community, i.e. parties, charities, riding (local or distance), racing (street or track). Some clubs or individual may have things they prefer to do while rocking their patch and after some time in the community you’re going to develop bonds with likeminded clubs and individuals and inevitably that’s who and what you will support.

On the other side of that coin if you want MC knowledge you can and will put the effort into finding out about MC history. Since I have some knowledge I can understand why some traditionalist and OMC’s feel the way they do about things. I’m pretty sure it’s the same way that those who marched for Civil Rights feel about some of the things going on in our local neighborhoods today. It’s not the vision they saw for the future.  I don’t have a solution to make the MC world perfect but I have a very simple solution to a real simple problem. If you don’t like something then don’t support it.

Biker Racism: The Jim Crow MC Nation

Good read I have nothing really to add but like the point the Sucka MC Free staff brought out about how things were traditionally formed and the era it was formed in was at a time of segregation. I remember reading about how some black people were against bringing the races together cause when we were segregated, we had our own and supported our own and everyone knew their place. I grew up in the south where there were literally train tracks that separated the races and to this day they still have a black graveyard and a white one.

My biggest issue with racism is the hate that comes along with it. It’s natural to have pride in your race but why literally hate the next one to the point that you want to cause them harm? Another point was the taxation without representation. If support clubs are considered minor league in most respects and the OMC the majors, why play if you can never make it to the big leagues?  My final point was the prices of Harleys compared to Jap bikes or Metrics, which is one of the biggest limiting factor why more black people don’t have them. It’s like the neighborhoods that keep the home prices higher so that other races can’t afford to move in and when the do move in, there is always some type of tension. Most people buy Harleys for the name, they make some nice bike but for 20,000 dollars and the X amount I have to spend on upkeep are they really worth it? By the way Harleys are American assembled not American made, LOL.

MC TITLE HOLDERS: The Good, The Bad, The Bullshit ...

This will not be the 1st or last time I hear the PRO positioned questioned and I understand fully that the PRO position is not a traditional MC position, but although Business Manager is not a traditional position it is used a lot by traditional MCs as a point of contact.

Most clubs today are not traditional and may not expand their knowledge past their local set so for them it’s all  good in the hood so to speak.  These clubs will do what they see being done and take it as the way things are supposed to be, so when an alternative view does come up they will fight you tooth and nail because this is how things have been done around them and this is how we will continue to do it. If you think about it, that does sounds kind of familiar because this is how some traditional clubs feel as well.  So now you have two conflicting views.

So let me get back to the PRO position. The position is in my bylaws and it’s how my club chooses to operate. I could leave it at that but what fun would that be?(!).
The PRO position in a MC has been around for at least a decade so it’s far from new or a fad. Whoever /whatever brought the position over into the MC world saw a value for it and those that followed suit saw a value for it as well or it would have been dropped.  True everyone should represent their club but designating a funnel/filter for info in and out of the club is very efficient. If we are all out and all get the same flyer why should there be X number of conversations about the same thing? All this info could be gathered by one person and presented at a meeting. True indeed the secretary could do it, but that would be one more thing added to their plate.  Most PRO’s that I have meet were voted or appointed to that position because they were on the set hard, representing and networking  for their club and they were doing the job before they had the title.

Just some of some my thoughts and on another note I’m glad The Sucka MC Free staff did break down all of the other positions and their duties and for the mere fact that you have mentioned a PRO one day it may be in that list as well with Responsibilities & Intangibles. I have no problem with traditionalists not accepting or recognizing the position because it’s not traditional, but most traditional clubs are not in my circle and when I am around them I already know how they feel so there’s no reason to bring it up. Would you feel better if the PRO was called the Assistant Secretary? In your duty listing I didn't really see where the positions overlap. The secretary pretty much takes care of stuff internal to the club, records, minutes, notes, etc where as the PRO deals with things on more of an external nature, social media, contact list, other clubs events, etc.
Some will always be resistant to change just because it’s different and at this point I don't see a down side to the PRO position. It’s a definite to each their own type of thing and unless I'm talking to another PRO or someone asks for the PRO of the club, I don't use my title in introductions. I'm not arguing that a secretary can’t take on the workload of a PRO but why should they if there is an option for someone to be dedicated at the task?

THE SUCKA MC FREE blog opens up a dialogue into things we deal with in the MC community and whether you love or hate their opinions , it does bikers/riders in our community insight into another point of view. There are some thing that do make sense or at least are note worthy enough to take into consideration or add to my knowledgebase. I may not agree with everything that’s always said but, I can see sometimes where they’re coming from and can agree to disagree with him and still be cool.
So be safe out there and oh yeah, Stay Sucka MC Free, y’all.
The Sucka MC Free Staff would like to thank Dave and his club Triple XXX Riders for reading our weekly blog but also being moved enough to contribute their voice to the discussion. We encourage riders/bikers who want to do a guest spot to email us so we can share the guidelines for submission so the blog continues to be an exchange of ideas and thoughts. Dave, you just earned yourself a free Sucka MC Free tee shirt…size extra medium of course.

Monday, March 26, 2012

MC TITLE HOLDERS: The Good, The Bad, The Bullshit and The PRO

“The officers patch gave me more prestige. Leadership in the club wasn’t based on brute force. It was based on the ability to bring people together.” Former VP of the Oakland Chapter of the Hells Angels, George Wethern from his book A Wayward Angel

In my travels I’ve found that many people who have titles in bike clubs today are as qualified to hold those titles as George W. Bush was to be President of the United States…twice. Whether it’s because the clubs executive board has no idea what it takes to run a functional MC or like the TV show Survivor, alliances are formed ensuring an idiots kingdom and an assholes ransom, but I believe the dysfunction of  clubs is directly due to the incompetence of the people who hold titles within those clubs. Whether you want to call it a comedy of errors or label it as fools taking over the insane asylum, there needs to be a re-education of what the titles are in a bike club, what responsibilities are attributed to those titles and in my opinion an evaluation of the kind of person qualified to hold that title. In other words, there are “intangibles” to each position that may make your member especially suited to carry out the responsibilities of that title.  The idea is if by the time you go through your title holders and you’re left feeling like George W. Bush and his cronies, than you and your club should expect a recession of strong members and the rise of Ghost Riders essentially making your club a Sucka MC.

I’m going to make an ass of myself right now and assume that the clubs heeding the wisdom of The SUCKA FREE MC posts have subscribed to some very basic realities. For example if you’re an MC, surely everyone in the club owns a working motorcycle. Logic therefore leads me to assume that everyone in your club owns and knows how to operate a motorcycle. If anyone in your MOTORcycle club does not own a MOTORcycle please stop reading now. You and your club are jokes and there’s nothing funny about your stupidity.

The rest of us should keep reading.

WTF is a PRO?
I’m going to start with what I know will be an extremely controversial position. I just need to get this out the way. The PRO position is a completely fabricated bullshit position. It’s not bullshit in that it’s not a position that African American MC’s have created out of thin air but it is bullshit in terms of what the position claims to be and do. Traditional MC’s who follow time honored practices and protocols of MC culture do not have that position anywhere on their roster and the reason is simple. When I’ve asked what exactly a PRO is I’m told that person is the Press Relation Officer. They are the primary conduit in getting all information out about their club, sharing and gathering information about events and runs and making contacts. Before I go on, please re-read what I just wrote and explain to me how that isn’t everyone’s responsibility in a club. Let’s look at it with a surgeon’s precision. Every single person who has gone through the prospecting period has essentially agreed to represent their club at all times by not only following the clubs codes and regulations but by being ambassadors of that club in and all things MC related. That’s a very fancy way of saying once you’ve been blessed with a cut, you are an ambassador of your club and you have an obligation to get information out about your club and to share it with the community to ensure a positive image and growth of your club. No one person should be responsible for that. Rather that is the role of every member in good standing. In the same token, is the PRO the only one handing out fliers? No, all members give out fliers but technically the way as its described that’s the role specifically designated for the PRO. Of course it makes no sense for the PRO to be the only one doing that so all members hand out fliers. The logic therefore becomes blatant: everyone is responsible for the information in and about the club, not just the PRO.  No one can tell me exactly how and why this PRO position was suddenly created and how does it serve a purpose that is singularly important to that one person.  

Additionally, when one examines the responsibilities of the Secretary it not only overlaps with the imaginary responsibilities of the PRO, but it surpasses it. The argument can be made that the addition of the PRO position allows all club information to be trafficked through one primary person making it a “one-stop” connection for other clubs to work with a specific club. The problem is if roles are followed with their original intent, that logic is debunked as well. Vice Presidents and Presidents are customarily the initial points of contact for any relevant information and news with some exceptions being made to the Sgt. Of Arms specifically when it comes to violence that the President doesn’t need to be privy to before it happens for legal reasons.

A consistent criticism of my beliefs is that I am too entrenched in protocols and traditions of MC culture. There is a utility to those protocols and traditions that serve successful MC’s well and that’s what people fail to see. MC’s who subscribe to and follow traditions tend to be stronger clubs and have a lineage that far outlasts the fly by night clubs who haven’t bothered to do their research and respect the history of the culture they’re participating in.

When clubs begin pulling new titles or revising traditions to suit themselves animosity takes seed. Traditional clubs see upstart clubs as anarchists contributing nothing to the culture and MC community while these new clubs see the traditional clubs as relics and even haters.  I believe the solution is simple. Traditions only become traditions because they work and they’re successful and therefore they’re utilized time and time again by generations.  It’s not to say traditions can’t be amended to reflect contemporary needs but that requires knowing, understanding and respecting history first and too many new riders and clubs don’t do that and therein lies the problem.

No disrespect to any person who has the title of PRO or any club that has that title within their ranks but know your history and change your title patch to Secretary. If you claim to be a real MC, than stop acting like a mistress, marry yourself to the culture and become a wife.

“What the fuck is a PRO but a glorified flier dispenser?” Outlaw Club Member; Name Held Upon Request

President Responsibilities*
The President is the CHAIRMAN of the Executive Committee and the Chief Executive Officer of the club chapter.  All matters concerning relations between the club and any outside person or organization should be routed to the President for appropriate action.  The President or his delegate shall assume the Chair at all chapter meetings.  He is responsible for controlling the meeting and keeping order.  If necessary, the Chair may utilize the services of the Sergeant-at-Arms to aid in keeping order. .

Presidential Intangibles
I’m particularly sensitive to this position because I was on the verge of forming my own MC with me as the President but after months of putting in the groundwork for the club and dealing with the diversity of personalities and politics, I realized the position required a patience and understanding that I don’t subscribe to. The President needs to be able to take every members issue, no matter how serious or not, big or small and make that member feel as if it’s the Presidents priority to address it. The President needs to understand that for some members, the club is a leisure activity and for others it’s a life. I cannot do that. While my day job doesn’t define who I am, I go into that job knowing how important it is not only because it financially supports my life, but because I have a professional vanity that demands I put my all into it ensuring a positive outcome in terms of industry respect and financial windfall.

I approach an MC the same way. If a person decides they want to be part of an MC then put your all into it and as importantly, let the people in your life know how important that MC is to you and make sure they respect it. I’ve found no one is more disrespectful to the MC then a spouse but it’s up to that club member to get their spouse (male or female) in line.

I have no tolerance for members who can’t control their home yet a successful President must learn how to balance both so the stress isn’t too much on either side and he doesn’t lose that member.

Back stepping a bit, the President is the living embodiment of what a PRO is and does. He is the face of the club even before your club steps into an event. He is supposed to be out there shaking hands, nodding and riding in a way that reflects the attitude, personality and soul of the club. He is the leader and his presence should be intimidating enough to make rouges followers and other leader’s partners. A President gets respect if he truly does live by the codes of his own club and knows and honors his clubs history.  A President is fair to members he likes and doesn’t like. I call it the “steel hand in velvet glove” which means he’s got a firm, cold hand but his decisions are just and thus smooth and soft to the touch as velvet.

Personally one of the traits I’ve admired most is the President’s presence when he’s not there. I’ve walked into a venue without my President and gotten love for what my President has done. In other words, the time he’s put in allows my passage to be made that much smoother.

Just as positive as those accolades are I just described is the opposite in a President who is more interested in getting into parties for free, abusing his office to get ass or just being loud to be heard. I’ve seen that plenty of times and their mismanagement and inability to rally the troops has led each and every single time to a fragmented team.

My biggest view of Presidential abuse however is when the President is also the person or one of the founders of the club who is also making decisions based on his original vision of the club instead of following club rules and procedures by allowing the club to vote on things. Having gone so far as to have a patch designed to present to my members, I understand the passion of a founder. You have this vision and you want the guys to agree on your vision. The problem is Founders need to understand that by people agreeing to join the club they’ve already agreed on your vision but moving forward how you see things is going to be different. Ego and pride must be set to the side I’ve found that Founders have an incredibly difficult time with that. Decisions that should be presented to the club to vote on are often dispatched by Founders because “they” didn’t like it. That’s wrong and ultimately it leads to club dissention. There’s no greater compliment to a club Founder then when his members feel passionately enough about his original idea to bring new ideas to the table. Put the pride and ego aside and let the seed you planted as a Founder years ago, blossom. Every great idea doesn’t have to come from a Founder and a great leader is humble enough to know that if he’s surrounded by great people on his team, from them will come great ideas.

Let it ride.

Vice-President Responsibilities*
The Vice-President shall coordinate all committees and supervise plans for all club events.  The Vice-President shall act as an intermediary between the President and the Members and Prospects.  All questions or comments concerning any club business not specifically related to the duties of the other officers should be brought to directly to his attention.  Additionally, the Vice- President is the Second-in-Command to the President, and shall assume all responsibilities and duties of the President in their absence.

Vice-Presidential Intangibles
If your VP is a friendlier Donald Rumsfeld instead of a well balanced Colin Powell then perhaps he or she is better suited to being the official yes man of the club meaning his throttle hand should come with a lubricated dildo instead of a motorcycle grip.

The VP appointment is by far the most abused of all positions within a club not so much because VP’s are secretly plotting the end of the world but rather because the Presidents who appointed them nominated them based on their inability to stand up to that President. The result is an impotent officer and there’s not enough Viagra in the world to regain the respect of MC members once they know you’re a two (second) mile VP. Presidents often choose VP’s who they know will agree with them on every turn thereby solidifying their power base and crippling the flow of new ideas by members outside of themselves. A strong VP is a person who is as well versed in the club by-laws and traditions as the President and as importantly, is not afraid to check the President when he acts outside those codes and traditions. Lastly a VP cannot be a conduit between the President and his members if he is listening to the concerns of members with the bias of the President already impregnated within him. He truly needs to be neutral and therein, an effective politician within the club.

Secretary Responsibilities*
The Secretary is responsible for making and keeping all club chapter records. Membership List, Chapter Bylaws, Rules of Order, Standing Rules, Records of all committee appointments, all written reports, copies of all correspondence between the club and any outside person or organization, Meeting Minutes.  He is responsible for calling roll at the meetings.  The Secretary must notify Active Members of special or emergency meetings, and must notify all the members of any appointments or elections in their absence.

Secretary Intangibles
Outside of a treasurer this position demands a more professional acumen because information must be recorded correctly and neatly enough to be digested by other members at other points in time. There is no “colored people” time for this person as the keeper of minutes and club activities. By design, this person must be professionally buttoned up and surgical with how precise he is with his work and all activities related to the MC.

Secretaries also serve a very important underlying purpose that is not overtly stated in their list of official responsibilities. As record keeper, the Secretary is the club historian collecting, gathering and cataloguing the history of the club and in turn, preserving it for generations after. This person is establishing the footprint (or the tire tracks) of the club that will be left for prosperity and as a self proclaimed historian of African American biker culture, I celebrate MC secretaries who understand this role and have taken it to heart. Clubs like HA, The Mongols, the Pagans have a history not just because the law has recorded it but the clubs themselves have recognized their place in motorcycle lore. Black clubs need to start to do that as well. Some do as noted The Soul Brothers, The Chosen Few, Rare Breed, Outkast, Wheels of Soul and  The East Bay Dragons come immediately to mind.

When appointing this title to a member, keep in mind how this member behaves and keeps himself up. Can a historian be someone who is not put together themselves? Can a secretary who doesn’t have basic understanding of the language be responsible for record keeping and representing the club? If this person doesn’t know how to spell or address people, should they be in charge of your Facebook page? Just a few things to consider in filling this position.

Treasurer Responsibilities*
The Treasurer keeps all the funds of the club chapter.  All un-issued Club Colors and Patches, as well as a record of colors, patches, or reproductions thereof issued to members.  He may disburse funds to pay expenses as prescribed in the Standing Rules.  The Treasurer must keep an accurate record of all income and expenses.  He is required to report the fiscal status of the club at each regular meeting for the information of the members.  He must submit a written annual report to the Executive Committee at the Annual Meeting.

Treasurer Intangibles
I belonged to a club where I remember in a meeting the Treasurer asking, “What is ninety plus twelve?” Me and another member looked at each other in complete shock. It’d be nice if the Treasurer had basic math skills but with phone calculators that’s really not a deal breaker anymore. But what a Treasurer must do is be an accountant and they must account for all the monies, dues paid and the record thereof all members and they must do so accurately. That’s simple and basic.

What a Treasurer must also understand is that they are uniquely the most powerful member within an MC because they control the purse swings and if a Treasurer is truly vested in their club, they will manage those dollars with the steel hand in a velvet glove methodology. If a club can’t afford to go to Black Tigers the Treasurer must have the strength to voice that and let it be known. If the club wants to put together a bikini wash to raise money for the club, the Treasurer must be able to forecast and set goals for the club in terms of money. In other words, what was the point to the bikini wash if you spent $500 to make it happen and you made $600 that day? A Treasurer knows you actually only made $100 and was that enough to call that event a success given all it took to put it together? That does require some common sense and that by itself is hard to come by. I’ve seen Treasurers who think their only responsibility is to collect dues and hand out receipts. Any prospect or hang along can do that.

With concise planning and forecasting the Treasurer can take a club as far as the dollars can go or the reverse, take them no where which unfortunately, is where a lot of clubs end up going. 

Sergeant-at-Arms Responsibilities*
The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for ensuring that the Bylaws and Standing Rules of the club are not violated.  He is responsible to insure that the orders of the Executive Committee are carried out in an expeditious manner.  He is responsible for policing and keeping order at all club events, except as noted under the Duties of the Chairman.  He may conscript members to aid in keeping order on their own authority.  He has the responsibility to the club to report any unseemly behavior of incident to the Executive Committee.  He is responsible for securing any patches or colors from any member who retires, resigns, or is expelled.  The SAA is responsible for the safety and security of the club, as well as the protection and defense of its members and prospects.  He shall keep and maintain a record of all data pertinent to the safety and security of the club and its members and prospects.  Upon becoming aware of any real or perceived threat to the club, its Members, Prospects, or events, he shall immediately notify the Executive Committee of that information.

Sergeant-at-Arms Intangibles
My friends know that I’m Christian but I’m a Christian who sometimes subscribes to Old Testament solutions and I honestly believe that in the world of the MC, sometimes those are the quickest and safest solutions to what could be a violent situation. These situations are rare, but they do happen and when club members are in danger, the SAA needs to be the kind of person who doesn’t just inspire respect, but he inspires fear so members know not to mess with him at those times. The SAA is always supposed to be working because bikers are not accepted nor wanted by the general public so when we’re out with “hostiles” you always have to be on the look out for assholes who want to test the size of their balls by starting with us. Worse, you have other bikers from other MC’s who may have beef for whatever reason so the SAA has to be on the lookout at all times.

A few months ago I went riding with a club and at the end of the evening I joined them in some” unsavory” business that needed to be handled. As the President and VP ventured indoors the rest of the club stayed outside. It was 4am in the morning and obviously exhausted the SAA promptly went to sleep on his bike. In a display of disgust I advised the members where to stand setting up a perimeter around us and the bikes. I took into consideration the one way traffic pattern and an alley that from our point of view had too many places to creep in and out of. We were sitting ducks but I didn’t want us to be sleeping ducks.

When we got back to our hotel I gave the SAA an earful and he showed me how much of a man he was by admitting he was wrong and that he hadn’t done his job. Again, the SAA position is a 24hrs, 7 days a week job. Unlike the other positions I do believe the SAA does need to have a physically intimidating presence as well. Who is going to listen to an SAA who’s smaller then most the fat women at a Black Tigers pajama party? It’s one of those things clubs should consider when filling this position. When I was putting together my club my SAA was a former MMA fighter and he owned legal and illegal firearms. He had a jovial personality and would laugh while he beat someone bloody. He and I agreed on the motto, “You can’t have manslaughter without laughter.” If your SAA makes you laugh, then more then likely other clubs are laughing at him as well and that’s not a good look for your club at all.

Road Captain Responsibilities*
The Road Captain is responsible for all club runs.  He shall research, plan, and organize all runs.  During actual time on the road or at intermediate stops during a run, he shall act as the ranking club officer, deferring only to the President or Vice-President if either of them are present, and only then for matters involving persons outside the club.  He shall supply the Secretary with any information required to notify outside agencies of impending club runs in a timely manner.

Road Captain Intangibles
I do not work on “colored people” time but so many clubs with “colored” people do and its gotten to the point where fifteen minutes late is actually forty five minutes early and as a Road Captain I think that’s ridiculous. The Road Captain like the Secretary has to run a timely ship because their positions are highly dependent of time and the proper recording and use of it.

I have to say this because of the things I’ve seen but your Road Captain has to ride. I don’t mean just fast, but he has to ride. He has to want to ride and he has to enjoy riding. He should have the personal capacity to bring ride suggestions to the club and all the research involved. The RC should also have a keen understanding of how everyone rides so when a run is happening, he can forecast the problem areas and adjust his speed and course accordingly. The traits of a person who does this is someone who plans ahead, is intuitive and respectful of the riding limitations and strengths of his club members.
Worse then a club having a PRO is a club having a Road Captain with no motorcycle. As insane as that sounds, I’ve come across that and all I can do is shake my head.

Those are pretty much the traditional positions in an MC.  I understand some clubs have business managers, even CEO’s and variations of the positions above but being the traditionalist, I only deal with the positions that I know to be recognized by real MC’s.

There are general abuses I want to touch on but not belabor because they should be obvious. People need to understand having had sex with a person is not entitlement to them having a position in the club even if that person is your wife. Because a President leaves one club he should not automatically come to a new club with a title. I’ve seen negotiations based on this sort of entitlement and it’s 100% disastrous. Title owners need to earn their titles built on respect of current members. If titles are being rewarded based on nothing, then the club is based on nothing and that leads nowhere.

I’ve been challenged before asking why isn’t it okay for clubs to create positions as they see fit. Clubs that were formed fifty years ago faced different challenges then clubs being formed now. For instance, the Internet and social networking sites have forced certain clubs to adopt officers primarily responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their websites and all digital communications. While I understand the need for positions like this, I do believe that if newer clubs truly knew and understood the responsibilities of the established positions they’d see how new titles are baseless because while titles are new, responsibilities are not.

Let’s all say this together:

Titles may be new but responsibilities are not.

Traditional positions have stood the test of time and allowed clubs who understood their meaning and responsibility longevity. Appointing unqualified people to important positions leads nations into wars looking for weapons of mass destruction that don’t exist or worse, they lead you and your organization into becoming a Sucka MC.

*The staff of Sucka Free MC would like to note the details of the title responsibilities cited above were pulled from the following site:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Biker Racism: The Jim Crow MC Nation

In what arguably was their beast season since the second one, The Juice storyline in season four of Sons of Anarchy brought a lot of things to light. The first which is quite unfortunate is how blatantly ignorant so many African American bikers are to a very obvious and historical aspect of the community they claim they rep. I’ll illustrate my point by using a quote from SOA creator and main writer Kurt Sutter:

“There seems to be some confusion about Juice's discomfort and fear regarding the discovery of his black father.  This is a racial reality in outlaw motorcycle clubs.  We've touched on the issue lightly over the first three seasons of SOA.  The fact is that most of the bigger MC's do not have African American members.  There are black clubs and there are white (Caucasian, Latino, Asian) clubs.  Most live in harmony.  HA and the East Bay Dragons have been friends for decades.  That relationship inspired the Grim Bastards in season 3.  We delve into the delicate why's and how's of this racial bi-law later in the season, but it was one of those odd, historical barriers that I've wanted to explore.  It's a throwback to a different era that is still in practice today.  I can honestly say that none of the guys I know in the life are racist, yet they function within a structure that is built upon a form of segregation.” Kurt Sutter

Essentially many so-called black bikers were completely unaware that Jim Crow and club segregation policies are a time honored and practiced tradition. Mixed race membership in traditional white 1% clubs have historically never happened and until the Martin Luther King Jr. (or Malcolm X) of the MC circuit rises up, 1% racial club integration is not going to happen anytime soon. It begs the question how African American MC’s support groups of white 1% clubs resolve their field hand status in the pecking order of that world. As a support club of a white outlaw organization black MCs are being told, “You’re good enough to be a support club and “pay your taxes” but you’ll never be good enough to be a member of that club.” As a historian I have to point out the last time that unfair system was used on a group of people it started a movement called The Revolutionary War. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called Taxation with No Representation and people went to war over it. Yet today, many African American MC’s who support the dominant white 1% club are being taxed with no representation. I suppose that’s another topic for another blog.

Please note there are mixed 1% clubs with The Chosen Few being the most dominant but common practice suggests that this is certainly not the practicing case. Please note I stress African American and not Hispanic. Hispanic members have been allowed to join and hold rank in white outlaw clubs but African Americans have not.

The second discussion point that the Juice storyline forces into the ether is the overall topic of race and racism in the biker community. I won’t speak to it from an outsider’s point of view and by that let me define outsider: any cager or Ghost Rider who despite being in the community, knows nothing about bikers and MC traditions. So, I will not speak on the generalities that those people have of white 1% Percenters and bikers in general. This blog has never been intended for them. This blog is for bikers inside the community and understand, respect and practice the behaviors that promote and support our biker life (not just our lifestyle).

It’s safe to say that historically the Harley Davidson brand had been a two wheeled phallic symbol of white American pride and power and until recently, that’s an image the brand had not refuted. However coupled with the fact that their constituency is getting older (dying) and the nations current economic times, Harley was forced to expand its consumer net resulting in them actively recruiting women and minorities; especially African Americans. While the jury is still out as to whether or not their efforts are being perceived as sincere or a marketing need, more people of color are considering the brand then ever before. It’s a fact not lost on some white outlaw’s.

Black Mike*, a member of a notorious 1% white outlaw club noted the increase of African Americans on Harleys.

“You can’t help but to notice it but I’m not noticing it in a bad way. I’m just noticing it, period.” When pressed to answer why its caught his attention he freely says, “‘cause brothas ride those rice burners. That’s what they do and honestly, that’s the disgusting thing. Worse then being black is riding a Japanese bike.” Mike sucks his teeth. “I just feel the motorcycle is an American machine and we should all be riding an American machine. British is fine but Jap? Get the fuck outta here.”

When it’s pointed out that the allegiance to American and British bikes (and the hatred of all things Japanese) stems from the Allies and Axis allegiances of WWII , Mike simply says: “So.”

Please note this author believes though a member of the WWII Axis, Italians enjoy a successful inclusion in the motorcycle community because they did not contribute in any way to the Pearl Harbor bombing. Americans have long memories and the generational hatred of all things Japanese is hand-in-hand related to that tragic incident. Italian motorcycles are accepted and respected for their craftsmanship and despite creating impressive machines, Japanese bikes are frowned upon.
Judging a biker by his brand of motorcycle or by his club however is as smart as judging a book by its cover. Shows like Gangland commonly (and in some cases rightfully so) link white outlaw clubs and their Harleys with groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood but upon closer examination those ties are usually more forged for economic reasons as opposed to shared racist visions.
“At first sight, an alliance of white supremacists and biker gang members seems an odd one,” says Edward Winterhalder, former leader of the Bandidos and now an author on gang culture: "Most of them are just regular guys who work during the week and have a little too much fun at the weekends. The majority of them are law-abiding, have families. They're just regular neighborhood guys. They love their Harley-Davidson motorcycles and love their brotherhood and the camaraderie of riding their bikes. They are very pro-government, they stand behind the flag. This is something they would never be involved in. Working with white supremacists would be an extremely unusual partnership."
While the Confederate flag and Nazi emblems evoke an immediate response that’s drenched in respective histories of violence and racist rhetoric, many bikers who wear those symbols are not actually racist. Nazi and SS symbolism were often used to “put off” the general populace and reinforce the bikers “on the outskirts” of society mentality. Again, deeper retrospection and investigation unearths a few truths.
Nazi symbols and regalia were first used by HAMC for shock value. It was a reminder to the general public, and to the 99%, that the HAMC is not like them, and that the HAMC will never be like them. Since then, some Hispanic and mixed race clubs have used swastikas in graffiti for a similar purpose primarily during the 60's and 70's with some old schoolers still using them today. We should note that The Mongols MC, a predominantly Mexican American 1% club, and a rival to the HAMC, has many white members with tattoos that incorporate Nazi symbolism. HAMC decided to internationally prohibit the use of Nazi symbolism among its brothers, because the German members, under German law, cannot wear any Nazi paraphernalia.

Toby*, 27 has been a member of a white outlaw for three years and he has no ties to any white elitist group and neither does anyone in his club however that doesn’t change the group from barring any consideration of a Black as a member.

“No way,” he says without a hint of disgust in his voice. “In the specific culture that I’ve been a part of for the last three years, there’s always been racism towards bikers of color.” When asked to provide specifics of that racism Toby flat out refuses. What’s very interesting however is that Toby quickly goes on to stress, “But don’t put it all on outlaw clubs. There are plenty of racist AMA clubs too.”

In speaking to Black Mike he makes some very clear points regarding “the airs” of biker racism:
”Some of us do it ‘cause it’s just bad ass. Yeah, the Nazi’s did some fucked up shit and they hurt a lot of people and if you’re wearing that symbol on you or your clothing people automatically associate that symbol with you doing some fucked up shit and hurting a lot of people. In other words, it keeps them the fuck away from you.” When I ask Black Mike to speak to the spider web elbow tattoo on his own elbow that is often associated with white Aryan gangs he looks down on it for a moment and takes his time to consider his words.

“I was locked up for a while and look, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. I’d rather fight ten muthafucka’s with twenty muthafucka’s on my side. I don’t care if there are twenty blacks on my side, ten whites on the other…what I care about is just fuckin’ numbers and if the numbers with me so happen to be white, then so be it.” When pressed to ask how he feels about those tattoos and imagery now that he’s not locked up Mike goes on to say:

“What people don’t understand is that white pride and white power are different. All I’m sayin’ is that I’m proud of where my ancestors come from. I’m not sayin’ ‘cause they come from there and I come from them that I’m better then you. You guys call yourselves African American. No one says you’re racist ‘cause of that or even that you hate America.” Mike laughs for a moment and adds, “I do think I’m a better American than you ‘cause I’m riding a Harley though, no matter what color you are. That I feel in my bones. Fuck your color. What are you ridin’? If I’m racist, I’m racist towards the bike you ride, not who’s riding it.”

African American Harley rider Corey Jackson, 42 had been a lifelong Honda man not because of some hatred towards the American worker but because that’s what he could afford.

“We’ve all heard the reputation of Harley. It’s called a Harley ‘cause it’s ‘Hardly Working.” I’m not a mechanic and I don’t have money to burn so for the longest time a Harley was never a consideration.”

Asked if he felt discriminated against because he was riding a Honda Corey makes a very clear distinction: “By other African American bikers, no. They didn’t care what I was on. We saw each other and we gave the hand signal and kept it moving. The only sort of discrimination I felt was maybe by the idiots on crotch rockets who were going too fast or doing something too stupid on their bikes to wave or because they thought I wouldn’t wave to them ‘cause they were on those stupid bikes.” When I point out to Corey that he’s being discriminatory towards sportbiker riders he shrugs it off and says, “They’re fucking idiots. They ride like idiots. They act like idiots and they look like idiot. They’re fucking idiots.”

Finances presented themselves however and two years ago Corey did purchase a Harley and with that purchase came a few surprises.

“The white boys who refused to give me that wave before because I was on a Harley give me some sort of acknowledgement now either through a wave or head nod. But then sometimes I walk into a bar and I get the feeling some white boys are mad ‘cause now I’m riding a Harley. It’s lose-lose. They mad ‘cause all you can afford is Japanese ‘cause the American companies are ripping off their own citizens by overcharging. Finally you give in and buy American and who hates on you the most for buying American? Fuckin’ Americans.” Corey laughs and shakes his head. When asked what the solution to the conundrum was he doesn’t hold back:

“Fuck ‘em.. I don’t wanna sound racist but they make me racist. Fuck those white boys who think they own this shit ‘cause they don’t own a gotdamn thing. Fuck them.” The anger is clearly there in Corey. “We’re all Americans, right? Fuck that, how ‘bout we’re all motorcyclists, bikers, riders whatever but because of race or brand of bike they find reason to hate?” His disgust clearly showing, “This community would be so much greater, so much more powerful if we were united regardless of color or bike brand. In fact, if we were united as Americans regardless of color I doubt those Japanese guys could sell a bike over here. But because some Obama hating white boys think they the headmasters of this culture, it’s never gonna happen. They’re the ones making the Harley brand and the motorcycle culture weak with their racism and bullshit.”

In looking at the racial background of the HAMC the organization has never exhibited any coordinated efforts in support of their racial purity or hatred towards any particular other race. The popular media (Wikipedia) and law enforcement (FBI) have labeled them as such, due in part to the Nazi symbolism that was being used, and the fact that most of the charters are predominantly white. Many charters in the US, Canada, South America and Europe have always somewhat multiethnic. In the United States, you can find Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans in some of the charters though no African Americans. African American clubs are associated with the HAMC more in a support capacity but never have the option of any of their members graduating to the actual club as a fully patched in member. Ultimately some members may be prejudiced or racist, but as any good brother in a true MC, they will always put their brothers and the club first, before any other politics. A HAMC member is for HAMC first and foremost.

“Let’s be clear though,” Toby reports, “No one would even bring up having an African American prospect. It’s not even a thought. It’s an unwritten and understood rule that it’s just not going to happen.”  When pressed to expand on whether or not it could ever happen Toby is reflective for a moment before answering.

“I guess I could possibly see a time when clubs would integrate but not in the near future because all the people in charge are all old school and they’re not having it.” In offering a an alternative future Toby adds,  “Maybe when a younger generation comes into power integration might be on the table but today, right now, no way.”

In an interesting take, the scenario is thrown out that a reason why integration hasn’t happened is because despite not being allowed to ride with their white counterparts, some black clubs are willing to be support groups for white outlaw organizations. “I’ve seen a lot of [outlaw] clubs with all black support clubs so why go the extra mile to bring them into the club when they’re willing to be support?” Toby offers no opinion as to whether or not he believes African American support groups provide their own road bumps to equal brotherhood in the outlaw community.

Purposely digressing from the immediate conversation to an analogy of “real” world events I theorize loudly that if African Americans had accepted their separate and unequal status in America, more then likely segregation would still be the law of the land today. If the ones being oppressed don’t recognize the oppression then why would the oppressor stop oppressing especially when it’s to their advantage. If my analogy triggered any deeper thought from Toby to expand upon, he added nothing. I took his silence as silent agreement and decided not to press him on the matter.

 “You gotta take into consideration that a lot of these clubs have been around for a while and their views were formed from a time when things were different and they still believe what they believe today. I don’t see those views changing anytime soon especially right now. In fact I believe racism right now is the worst I’ve ever seen it right now.” Again when asked to provide examples or back up that claim, he refuses.

I reminded Toby that I met him at a bar frequented by his outlaw club. I was one of two black bikers in a venue full of white patrons and he approached me to talk about British bike I was riding. During that conversation he shared his club affiliation (I was wearing my prospect cut) and we debated, laughed and shared stories of shenanigans within our respective clubs and experiences riding. There was never any hesitation because of race.

“I’m a new generation biker who has grown up with friends of all races. You gotta keep in mind that I’m a lot younger then most guys in this sort of club. Age has a lot to do with the racist attitudes in bike clubs. It’s generational and my generation for the most part just isn’t like that.” I asked him if he ever became President of his chapter would he ever prospect an African American member. He laughs nervously and says, “I know cool black guys who ride. I’m taklin’ ‘bout some real guys who would make any club, black or white better but I’d still hesitate just ‘cause no one wants to be the first.” He gives it some more thought and says, “If the members in that charter wanted to do it, then it wouldn’t be up to me. It’d be a club vote and as President I’d go with that. Once a guy wears a cut, it doesn’t matter what color he is. All that matters are the colors on his back.”

Outlaw bikers have always prided themselves on being counter culture pariahs so to expect MC culture to follow the paths of the general populace is not the slightest bit logical. The DNA of a true biker is rebellious. Despite color or geographical boundaries, all bikers are essentially Confederates. The 60’s gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement but it did not spawn an integrationist movement within the biker world because ultimately there was no reason for it. Segregation in “polite” society failed because despite everything being separate, nothing was equal so those who had not, had to protest and march until they became a member of the “haves”.

In the MC world often times separate does mean equal not just in race, but in gender and sometimes even bike brands. African Americans have their own outlaw clubs where they can hold any rank within that club as good standing members of that organization. Why would an officer in a black outlaw club try to break the chain of a white outlaw club when everything is fine on the black side? It’s a simple matter to see why so many women would not want to deal with the misogynistic nature of a mixed gender club so female MC’s make sense when looking for equality regardless of gender. In other words, this is truly a case where the grass is not greener because we all may own different homes, but the grass we mow is universally shared. That grass is the passion and devotion to the life which includes our bikes and for some of us our clubs. For some of us the person mowing that grass may be white, or they may be black and in some cases they may be female but the point is, where’ all out there mowing that lawn.

I’ve been riding for ten years and I’ve ridden with many people, clubs and independents and to this day my closest friend in the MC community is a white boy. (I say white boy purposely and sarcastically). Joel and I have a friendship that didn’t start with the bikes but was forged into a permanent bond through our thousands of miles of riding together through rain, snow (yes, snow) on both coasts. One time we got pulled over in San Bernardino by a police officer and both Joel and I knew we were going to get tickets for doing over 100mph but the cop said this:

“I’ve been watching you boys for a while now. Y’all been weaving in and out of traffic. Honestly, it’s beautiful. I can tell you guys have been riding together for a while but cut that shit out. The drivers out here don’t drive as good as you boys ride and I don’t feel like picking up your bodies off my highway.”

Joel is white and we share the same motorcycle mother and father and he will always be my friend and my brother. I’d sponsor him into any African American club I’m a part in because regardless of color or his disgusting taste in skinny women, that man is my biker brother and I’d die for him just as much as I live to ride with him.

There’s a reason why the MC community never had a Martin Luther King Jr. or a Malcolm X. We had a Sonny Barger and Tobie Gene Livingston and like any leaders, each had their respective flaws I’m sure but to judge or compare those flaws against what general society considers a great leader would be a tragic mistake. The leaders of this country are formed from the weakness of the country. In other words, when there is a need this country has historically produced that great leader who will lead. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. are clear examples of that. When the MC community recognizes that need for that sort of leadership, that person will come.

Until that day comes,  Jim Crow will have global members in the MC community on both the black and white side.

* Please note to get these bikers to agree to speak freely on this week’s topic, their names and the names of their clubs were either not used or altered entirely to maintain their anonymity. The staff of Sucka MC Free appreciates their willingness to speak candidly on the subject and share their experiences.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Helmet Burning Broads: The Liberation of the Female Biker

After attending an outlaw biker event last year I heard someone say, “Serial killers have more respect for women then these assholes.” Maybe it was the chocolate topless female wrestling that made him say that. Maybe it was the invisible mistletoe booth where every time a woman came within a few feet of a certain clubs patched members she had to flash the club or face being doused by beer. But I suppose it could’ve also had something to do with the women who wore the “Property Of” patch following their property owners like obedient dogs (or bitches as some of them were referred to). 

Citing almighty Wikipedia, the site defines the role of women in the world of the outlaw biker as follows: One-percenter MCs (OMCs) do not allow women to become full-patch members. Rather, women are submissive to the men, treated as property, forced into prostitution or street-level drug trafficking, and often physically and sexually abused. Any pay women receive is given to their individual men and sometimes to the entire club. Women's roles as obedient followers, and their status as objects, make these groups extremely gender segregated.

I will make the very short leap and assume that motorcycle icon Bessie “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami” Stringfield would’ve never allowed herself to be subjugated to the above mentioned indignities which (again I’m assuming) is partly why she formed her own MC, The Iron Horses MC which is one of the earliest clubs founded by a woman. Not assuming, but knowing damn well that a self taught motorcycle riding woman who traveled across a segregated country before the Civil Rights era on her own Harley Davidson wasn’t taking much shit from anyone so it’s logical to think today’s gender roles in MC’s wouldn’t be acceptable to her.   

The motorcycle culture specifically one involving the hierarchy and traditions of a true MC (no Sucka MC’s) at its best is a misogynist arena where based on those traditions, the outcome is never in doubt. Even with the advent of credible all female MC’s, testosterone continues to be the ingredient that keeps the ether burning. When’s the last time anyone received a flier for a bike washing expecting to see half naked men washing bikes? When’s the last time anyone attended a private party in a club house and saw male dancers having Jack Daniels poured on them? Most men would be disgusted at the thought of it and most women wouldn’t even contemplate such a scene. In other words, what women want and like aren’t even considerations in most things MC related so what place do women actually have in this culture? Has Bessie’s influence permeated amongst the female riding set or like the dwindling size of panties to thongs, has Bessie Stringfield become a string disappearing in a sea of apathetic asses and assholes?

An anomaly in the community not just because she prefers the aroma of exhaust over the fragrance of Chanel, but because JesBlaze is a VP in a mixed gender MC but she’s respected by both male and female bikers on the set. Jes Blaze of Power Movez MC out of Queens ( i ) is a female biker who actually prefers hanging with the boys.

“I never thought to joining or forming an all female MC 'cause my personality and opinions may offend females. I'm a tomboy and I know my views are a lot different then other females. I don’t tolerate bullshit in general but I absolutely have no patience with the female bullshit, so of course that's not gonna fly in a female MC. I don't wanna deal with any female being a hoe, any prissiness, gotta get my hair and nails did or any of that. Mount up and let’s ride.”

VP Blaze isn’t the only woman biker to have that same opinion. Independent rider Elena Mzladylegz Patterson of NY says an all female MC was never a consideration for her. “I’m much rather be around the men and a male dominated club because even when I was in a club, the women would be more concerned with designing the next fly vest, the next party, what outfit to wear with what vest and getting their hair and nails done. They hardly had anything to contribute when it came to actual riding or the bikes themselves.”

In terms of all female MC’s, Elena goes on to elaborate a point that many women seem to share. “Just women in general are a lot of drama. The little female day to day issues add up to a lot of big drama and I don’t want any part of it.” 

Continuing on all female MCs “I don't necessarily see a specific purpose they serve. A helmet serves a purpose. A leather jacket serves a purpose. I'm not so sure I see the point to an all female club.” Speaking plainly with no disgust whatsoever Patterson adds, “

I haven't seen a female MC represent in large numbers doing actual runs like the male MC's. The only time you see them all together is when they have a national party” Patterson is quick to clarify however that, “The female MC clubs down South are entirely different. They hold it down and seem to have their stuff together. From what I’ve seen in the NY clubs or the ones up East, they aren’t as organized as the Southern women.”  

“I just wanted to be a better rider and track days teach you how to do that on the street. From how to take turns, body positioning, foot positioning and throttle control, you learn it all here and you can bring it to the street with you.”

Jes Blaze has seen the maturation of the female biker from the points of view of being an independent rider herself and now VP of a nationally recognized MC.

“People need to just understand their place and I don’t mean that in a bad way but a real way. No matter how you look at it, the MC community is a man’s world and women are an adoptive step child. You're not born into this but you can be accepted and loved if you know your role.”

Arguably knowing one’s role is not generally a designation that can be attributed to independent rider MzNez Independent Rider Nezzy. Notorious for having the nerve to have an opinion that she’s willing to share, she’s a NY rogue who just so happens to be a female biker with a mouth and presence as loud as any Vance Hines exhaust kit.

“As far as a specific role, play your position and make sure everything after that is respect and knowledge and ride to earn it!” As a “legal” rider for the last eight years and a former President of an all female MC, Nez has the “plumbing” to speak as a female biker as well as the years in the community, specifically her former role as President.

“Think about this. Who’s gonna really come and support a female club that throws an all male bike wash or strip show? Chicks in the circuit are jealous of each other, hold grudges, one is prettier than the other, blah blah blah and this is why there aren't many successful female MC's out here. They die out quick.” Going from gender specific to club general, Nez adds, “No real MC’s support whackness unless you’re straight up fuckin’. Fuck your way up or ride and gain respect. Yes, I can name some whack MC's,” she says and laugh’s the way that Nez does and concludes, “Hmmm, maybe on the next one.”

When that role comes up as Property, Jes Blaze believes that, “Property is not a derogatory term if you understand the history and the respect that comes with being Property.” But when asked if she’d agree to be someone’s Property she laughs and says, “I’ll get back to you on that.” She quickly responds however and adds, “If my man is in a club where that’s called for, of course I’d do it. I don’t have a choice but since that’s not the case, I don’t have to consider that.”

That “role” however should not be as models on bikes as opposed to bikers on bikes. It’s a position that Elena Mzladylegz Patterson feels is detrimental to women garnering respect in the community. “Motorcycles and naked chicks go back years but you know what goes back further? Bikers and motorcycles and if you’re a biker, regardless of gender, you should be stressing that, not how you look naked next to your bike. You should make your bike sexy, not the other way around.”

The passion for equal respect in the community lingers when Patterson touches on events and parties where women routinely parade themselves in revealing apparel. “When I see pictures from Black Tigers and I see women out there completely naked with hardly anything on thinking they’re sexy I just shake my head. The MC community is a male dominated society and women have gone from being property to riding their own bikes. We're earning our respect but then you get women who do that naked thing and it sets all of us back. Half naked, running around from bike to bike, club to club, man to man is setting us back and it’s disgusting.”

As manager of the premiere biker bar in Nassau County Tara Crawley has a very distinct position by not only being a woman of color but also being one of the more well known, and respected MC affiliated women in the Outlaw community. While she doesn’t currently ride her own bike, she is as much a biker as anyone on two’s. After sharing with her the description of the role of women in Outlaw clubs as defined by Wikidpedia Crawley doesn’t hesitate:

“Someone’s been watching too much Gangland,” she laughs.  “Is some of it true? Yes, but you hardly see that anymore. That’s more back in the day. What I’ve seen is guys treating their old ladies like queens.” With Jugs & Strokers a known hub of Outlaw and general riding clubs in Merrick, Long Island, Crawley is on the front lines and sees things first hand.

“Some clubs still use the term “Property” but it’s pretty much an old school term. The position still applies but the term isn’t as widely thrown out there. They’re called Diamond Girls.” An obvious ode to their boyfriends and husbands in diamond clubs (1% clubs)” the term Property has adopted a more illustrious and to some, more respectable term in Diamond Girls. “Diamond Girls have higher rank then hang arounds. They’re a woman of a fully patched member in good standing and it’s an incredibly high rank.” Crawley is quick to point out that rank isn’t as high as a patch wearer but, “Trust me. It’s a status.”

MzNez adds very eloquently that, “We all think Property is a bad thing from the stories we hear. Things are out there that men make these ladies do crazy things like they’re being pimped out, disrespected or getting beat up but that’s not entirely true. On our radio show (" we talked about it and a lot of things came to light.”

Admitting her own position on the Property title Nez adds, “If you would’ve asked me would I ever be Property I would’ve said never, hell to the no (laughter). You couldn’t pay me to be a Property. Some “Property” called in and not only did I get checked but I was schooled on what it is to be “Property”. I’ve been very blessed to meet great women who live the Property lifestyle and I call them my friends today. Properties are very respected and everything you hear out there you shouldn’t just believe. Give them a chance and you will learn alot.”

As is the litmus test, when asked if she’d ever rock a property of patch in her usual Nez candor she responded, “I’ve been asked to rock it some time ago and had to say no. A friendship, and or possibly fucking isn’t enough for me. Not for nothin’ but you gotta offer me more than a good nut for me to ever cross over, and I say that respectfully.”

Status or position for a female within the MC community isn’t relegated to patches and the bike in between her legs. Akron Ohio native Stephanie White is the founder and CEO of Black Cycle Mama. They specialize in developing sexy and safe motorcycle gear specifically for women of color.

“We stress safety and sexy because of the simple reason that riding safe should be everyone’s priority but secondly, because so many women do it wrong.” Wrong as defined by White is as follows: “A cat suit and stiletto’s on a motorcycle may be sexy but what are you saying about yourself and more importantly, what are other people saying about you when you roll up wearing that?”

Citing an all female motorcycle club in Ohio, White notes, “You can ask almost any brother in the community up here anything about that club and the first thing they’ll say about those girls is that they’re hoes. Ask them why it’s not only because they do in fact sleep around in the community but because they look like hoes. It’s just disgusting.”

It’s partly what led White, who has never been a member of any club to form Black Cycle Momma in June 2010. “Respect is given when you have respect for yourself.” By June of 2012 her company will be launching with full retail services to ensure at the very least, women riders who want to ride and look sexy doing it, can do it with safety and respect as poignant as the bikes in between their legs.

Like the Civil Rights Movement that ended a decade too early and a few leaders short, arguably the strides made by African Americans since have been stymied more so by African Americans themselves then by any other race. A combination of ignorance and arrogance is a recipe for internal and external stumbling blocks that prevent the escalation of respect given to women in the MC community. Why every single female (African American or Minority) female MC or rider doesn’t have a required Bessie Stringfield patch is something I don’t understand. She is the Sonny Barger or the Tobie Gene Levingston of the female MC set with respect coming from both sides of the gender aisle. She is the original female bad ass and someone both men and women bikers should aspire to or be inspired by.

“Bessie is a pioneer and I’m not sure why more people don’t know her or talk about her but she’s the female Martin Luther King Jr. for female riders. We all owe her our respect,” an emphatic Elena Mzladylegz Patterson preaches.

In a ridiculously dominated male culture, if women expect to be respected as equals whether for their riding skills or biker bravado, they do not have the luxury of playing into gender stereotypes that live down to reinforcing the cavemen attitudes of so many men within the MC community. It’s an unfair expectation because for example, women who ride with stiletto’s and or short shorts or just thongs can’t be taken seriously because it’s obvious that they care very little about their safety. But what about the men who ride with no protective armor and sometimes no shirt at all and worse, with shorts and sneakers? Are they not still bikers?

That expectation of female bikers is made to be even more unfair because there is no responsibility of male riders to accept or respect female’s bikers if they don’t want to. That’s like going to someone’s home and asking them not to smoke in their own house that they pay the bills for. It’s not realistic so it’s incumbent upon the visitor, or in this case, the women to understand “the house of the MC community” and their role in it.

It’s not to say women have “a” place, but it’s not to say they don’t either. Everyone has a role to play and playing that role should be done with respect and confidence that you are doing the right thing. Granted the right thing is completely subjective but when you have confidence in how you’re representing yourself and your club, no one else’s opinion matters…whether they’re a man or woman.

Be safe out there and stay SUCKA MC FREE.

Please note two all female MC’s were asked to participate in this weeks discussion but for whatever reason neither were able to follow through. It would have been an even more compelling piece with their participation but due to the overwhelming response from females within the community, Sucka MC Free will make the topic of women bikers a monthly discussion with at least one article a month dedicated to the topic.  We at Sucka MC Free look forward to your continued support and participation in these and other conversations. Thank you. 

Ghost Riders: Pt III From Ghost Rider to John Blaze

In the summer of 1973 the Zodiac MC in Kansas City, Missouri was formed. The Zodiacs brought together the Vultures and the Crusaders MC and a few other clubs to have a “small get together” of local clubs. Today we know that small get together as The National Bikers Roundup. That small local Saturday get together is now a week long party attended by forty to sixty thousand bikers annually.

What are the chances of a modern day club having the leadership, influence and humility required to work with other MC’s to create a unified event that could turn into the next version of the National Bikers Roundup? Judging from the sucka MC’s that overpopulate the black biker community today and the ghost riders they have as members, I’m willing to confidently say the chances aren’t very good.

A trifecta of leadership, influence and humility would require a series of qualities and effort that as of this writing, I’m not confident that the current crop of black bikers and their respective MC’s can pull off. It would mean going from being a Ghost Rider who is an irrelevant, invisible and dishonorable rider to a John Blaze who is a biker who is relevant, alive and active within their respective community.

“Some club patches have no real symbolism. Some clubs have no bylaws; members just have a club to ride with. I was looking for a real purpose in riding, and a way to make a difference. Now as President I continue to move the club forward by giving back to my community-by attending more charity events and producing our own.” Buttnaked, President Pasadena 4 Horsemen MC

That quote by the Buttnaked, the International President of the Pasadena 4 Horsemen MC demonstrates a few things required in a MC or rider going from sucka MC and ghost rider status to legitimate MC and John Blaze. First and foremost it reflects leadership. What Buttnaked is suggesting is going against what’s become the grain of so many clubs today which is doing nothing more then throwing trophy parties, fish fries and bikini washes. On any given week I get at least fifty text messages and emails about another party but hardly ever get anything about a charitable run or event sponsored by an MC. Before someone says, “Hey we did the Toys for Tots collection” my response will be, “Who didn’t do the Toys for Tots collection?” I’m not putting it down but I’ll quote Jesus to make my point: “Even a tax collectors family loves him. You get no credit for loving those who love you. True love is when you love those who hate you.” So my point is, everyone does a Toys for Tots collection. It’s a no brainer and I’m not applauding anyone for a no-brainer. True leadership means taking the initiative to do something above and beyond and in addition to making sure your respective club is on board with that initiative, while making sure you enlist other clubs as well.

The African American and Hispanic communities suffer from a great many social and health ills too numerous to list here. There’s a menu an MC can choose from to combat and support with a sincere, sustained effort that would literally buck the norm. How many MC’s are members of the local NAACP? How many MC’s sponsor their PAL Little League baseball or football teams?  Do any MC’s work with their local churches in uniting on a local cause? It doesn’t take much but it starts with a seed of leadership and for some reason when it comes to planting that seed within the black MC set, that ground is anything but fertile.

“When other chapters of the club asked me if they accept black members I reminded them we never had a rule that said you couldn’t. The club was originally formed with vets of WWII and we didn’t care what color you were in the war and wouldn’t have cared what color you were in the club. All that mattered was that we were all Americans…and liked to drink” Wino Willie, Founder The Boozefighters MC.

Because I consider myself a motorcycle culture historian I’ve always recognized and understood The Boozefighters as being the most important MC ever established in our country (if you don’t know why, then maybe you should research it) but it wasn’t until I read that quote by their founder did I actively investigate if there was a local chapter here in New York (there isn’t) because I would have prospected immediately. Before integration of the armed forces and American society, Wino Willie looked beyond a man’s skin. Considering the angry racist image we have of outlaw biker from their 60’s and 70’s Nazi symbol patronage to their contemporary stubborn support of the Confederate Flag, Willie taking that position in the 50’s before the Civil Rights era is incredible. It shows that he not only rode his bike with the iron clasped balls to match but he lived his life with the same gusto. He was a leader.

Leadership means different things to different people but leadership to me in our biker community means a collective getting together to reign in these sucka mc’s that make us all look bad. No, I’m not advocating a 1% takeover but I am calling for clubs who have followed time honored traditions to ban together to pull these young and ignorant clubs together and knock some sense into them. As a Christian I can’t and will never advocate unjustified violence but as a biker who believes in Christ, I do believe sometimes settling things the Old Testament way is an option. Read into that as you wish.

“Not all black groups get along, especially amid the L.A. street gangs. The streets have become a battleground. Yet all factions of the L.A. black motorcycle set seem to co-exist peacefully.” Tobie Gene Levingston, Founder of The East Bay Dragons

Co-existing requires humility. Trust me, I know. I’m married. You have to learn how to let certain things go and for other things demand more of your partner especially when you know they can do better. Co-existing means trusting your partner and following them instead of leading but when the time comes for you to lead; you step up and take your rightful place up front.

It should be no different in the black biker community we ride in. Yes, there are clubs that have been here longer and yes there might be a 1% presence but neither one of those positions automatically makes either group the spokesperson for the community. Humility allows other clubs to come in without intimidation or threats. Humility allows for ideas to be shared and events to be created as joint efforts. Humility allows an atmosphere of true brotherhood. If anything we need to remember as members of this black MC community is that we are not our niggers keeper. White bikers don’t greet each other as “kike, wop, potato picker or PWT. They great each other as brothers. We shouldn’t greet each others as nigga’s but rather brothers.  We are our brothers keeper. We are a brotherhood, not a niggerhood.

In the comic book John Blaze makes a deal with the devil and mortgages his soul to become the demonic Ghost Rider.  In other words, he was alive as John Blaze and for all intents and purposes dies when he becomes the Ghost Rider. When a rider becomes a biker he doesn’t sell his soul to the devil but he should be buying into a lifestyle that is the quintessential expression of freedom. Being a rider is simply being alive but being a true biker is living. It means going from being spiritually dead as a Ghost Rider to reaching the climax of living as John Blaze. He is coming into a culture that is for the elite. Bikers tempt death every time we get on a motorcycle and when we join clubs we are collectively telling Death, “Catch up if you can.”

If we respect and treasure that freedom and the lifestyle and everything that comes with it, we therefore have to do everything in our power to protect it and see that it grows correctly. If you’re not a biker and just someone who enjoys riding their motorcycle I have to respect that but you also must respect the fact that for me, it is a lifestyle, it is my culture, it is who I am. I am a biker and not a rider and there is a distinct difference. Having and riding a bike is an extension of me as a biker but it is not what solely defines me as a biker. Lemme me stop there ‘cause I’m getting ahead of myself. The difference between a rider and a biker is next week’s blog topic.

I am not a Ghost Rider. I have no respect for Sucka MC’s.

This is my final blog entry under The Ghost Rider series but because of the positive and tonnage of responses I’ve received as a result of the first two parts of the blog, I’ll be continuing to write on behalf of the MC community that I cherish. I don’t expect to start a revolution because  I’m not always going to say things you’re going to like and you and I are not always going to get along but I will always remain humble because you took the time to read, share and hopefully comment on what you’ve read. Hell…I’m just happy most of you guys can read.

God Bless.