Sideshows aren’t just illegal but are also fun. It is true there are cars going really fast in a circle that can crash, but it is also true that hundreds of people are together. A sideshow is like a car show with usually American Muscle cars. They happen in intersections throughout Oakland and they have been happening for a long time. According to articles and Oakland residence sideshows are a big thing in the Oakland community because it can bring everyone together.
Sideshows build a community by congregating everyone together from different places. Also it can show how Oakland culture passes from its predecessors to future generations. Again, it’s showing Oakland that it can go out and have fun. Sean Kennedy is a hip hop artist and historian explains how it began and he said, “The sideshow was a social event, a party in a parking lot, and showing off your car” (Dirks). Even today it is a social event and it about showing off one’s car. Usually there are a lot of people there, close to one hundred. In an interview with Jaime Mendoza, an Oakland resident, he explains that when he goes to the sideshows he goes to have fun. He also said that the sideshows is like another family that everyone knows him (Mendoza).
However, sideshows are also illegal and dangerous. It’s illegal because it causes a distraction and also sometimes people have too much fun and they start shooting. Also because there are cars going fast in a circle and maybe they can lose control of the car and they might crash. In the article The Birth of the Oakland Hyphy Culture they said, “sideshows have a bad reputation as illegal, dangerous and occasionally violent street car shows, where gunshots may ring out and people could die (Dirks).” Sometimes they can lead violence. Often they are fine, but it only takes one violent side show for the reputation to change and people to think they are dangerous. Dirks also shared in the article, “The sideshows began to change and evolve with time; they went from low and slow to fast and loose, with drivers performing tricks with increasing levels of difficulty and danger. The Oakland Police Department began to take notice” (Dirks). When the police get involved it starts to escalate to other drama like chases and police brutality. This is the story that gets on the news.
In conclusion Sideshows are important because they build community. On the contrary, Oakland PD thinks it’s an awful hobby so they always try to stop it. But Oaklanders should be able to rent out a parking lot so they could have sideshows. This a compromise because Oaklanders will be able to have permission and also be safe by keeping their culture. Would you ever go to an Oakland sideshow ?
Dirks, Sandhya. “Sideshows: The Birth of Oakland’s Hyphy Culture.” KQED. N.p., 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2019.
Mendoza, Jaime. “Sideshow Interview.” Personal interview. 18 Dec. 2019.