Big Willie was an ex vietnam vet who used drag racing to calm violence and racial unrest in South Central Los Angeles in the 1970s. He helped create the Brotherhood Raceway Park on Terminal Island in LA Harbor’s. After the 1968 Watts riots he created a way to arrange drag racing to reduce the tension and street violence in the area.
He managed to help young people stay off the streets and make a better life for themselves. By getting them drag racing on Terminal Island, he saved many young people from going to jail, or being killed.
He said ”When you get around cars, man, there ain’t no colors, just engines,”
But in fact the legend has another side. Apparently he was never drafted and never fought in Vietnam.
He said he served with distinction in the Special Forces Green Berets. He told the gangs his tales of bravery. They admired and respected him. But he never completetd basic training. He never went to Vietnam. He put a lot on his experience in Vietnam.
The lie was getting bigger and bigger. More and more rested on it.
Was he able to achieve so much with the gangs because of this big lie? Did he feel that he had to do the best for them because of the lie? Maybe he felt guilty about not being able to serve. Ashamed that with his physique he could not make the grade. He wanted to be a part of war, but was denied service. Survivors guilt? To be told your country cannot accept you to die for your country is a harsh thing to be told.
Again we learn that the mind mtoivates our story. Sometimes what is in the other’s mind cannot be fathomed.
Lies and Shame
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2019
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This article is designed to provoke argument and critique