Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City by Elijah Anderson (Book Review Sample)
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Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City by Elijah Anderson
In the book Code of the Street, Elijah Anderson observes seemingly every facet of life in a poor inner-city of the African-American community. The book addresses these communities' lives and how it has an impact on the young generation and association with the federal laws. He illustrates the family dynamic, interpersonal relationship with African-American community members, and oppositional culture growth. Through the latter aspect, Anderson develops an explanation for the ever occurring rampant violence dominating the large population of poor urban communities.
Anderson argues that the inner-city of African-Americans are usually stereotyped as an environment of randomized violence. However, the violence in this inner city is regulated from the informal code of street approach. It implies that the way an individual dresses talk and behave can result in positive or negative consequences (Anderson, 2000). In these areas, the young are most prone to these risks. The powerful force that encounters these codes and their associated reigns are loving and decent families' responsibilities to improve the young generation's lives. Despite all these efforts of unity, the culture of the street prospers and regularly defeats decency. Anderson's implication is due to the effect of its ability to control the public spaces, in that an individual or group with higher and enhanced aspirations is intertwined in the code with its self-destructive behaviors.
The street in Anderson's finding portrays the way the code becomes the responsive aspect associated with lack of employment opportunities, low paying job that does not cater or their living bills that result in the stigmatization of the race. These factors render the inner-city individual engaged in the illegal business of drug use and drug trafficking to earn a significant amount to sustain their lives. These people can improve their lives if they have hope and integrate into the employment industry to avoid violence and deviant behaviors. Hence, an individual's safety is determined by the respect they command in the public that is confined to the deference occurrence of an implied threat of violence. Unluckily, even individuals with high aspirations are often entangled in the destructive code of behaviors due to social interaction and family unity in the neighborhood.
The attribution the author makes is that the regulation and progressive of violence comes from the unspoken “code” or “code of the street.” The author tries the show the reader the basic understanding of the source of the code as he indicates that the inclination to violence springs from the situation of the ghetto life. Also, lack of jobs can facilitate enough money to pay for living wages, the stigma of race, and the fallouts emanate from rampant drugs and drug trafficking (Burgason et al., 2020). These are the effects that make these black communities to lose hope for the future. The implication is that the code is the informal perception and proscriptions governing public interpersonal behaviors, mostly the inclination to violence. The author tries to convince all people with stereotypic behavior that blacks are violent. Still, the social aspect is poor living conditions, social structure, negligence in government programs, and lack of moral support.
The author presents the actual result as he gives research information. Thus, based on Anderson's observation and the conclusion violence and deviant behaviors emerge from the deep-dive and the code of the streets. I found a positivity perspective approach when reviewing Anderson Code of the Street more than a constructionist perspective. The constructionist perspective shows that deviant behavior is the aspect at which people rebel against a particular social or political issue that does not conform to their perception. Conyers and Calhoun (2020) indicate that without a deviant label, lack deviant behavior. Hence, Anderson in the Code of the Street deviance issue in the black community is more than deviant as an individual's action with violence concede the behavior is deviant (Anderson, 2000). The book contributes thoroughly to a great deal to the positivity perspective as these theories associated with this idea are expounded in the book's findings. It shows that credence of control, classic and general strains, and deferential association of the code of the streets emanate from the entanglement of the cultural beliefs and norms instituted in the codes.
The Code of the Street has extensive information and backup evidence from theories, contributing to its strength. The book's strength emanates through the way Anderson provides two archetypes of family structures in the community he was researching; decent and street families. The decent family accepts the values, implement values, and accept mainstream to their generations. Conyers and Calhoun (2020) indicates that the lack of values and control prevents prompts an individual to be involved in deviant behavior. They are working low and have a strong relationship with the community and the church, which gives the children hope for the future. On the other hand, street families usually lack a stable family structure comprised of many children, single-mother or father absentees.
The limitation of the book is that the population sample for the research was small. The author deduced the finding only in one single city, the inner-city of Philadelphia. The information was generalized to conclude that these problems of code of streets are present in all other inner cities. This is the limitation, but the work provided a great understanding of the codes and their effects on street life. The author might have improved the work by integrating research, even if from other research on how street code occurs in cities such as New York or Los Vegas, to better understand the similarities and differences to provide appropriate generalization on common issues associated with inner city's lives.
The author has convinced me of my view on inner street violence. I have been stereotypic the black as naturally violent as portrayed by media and the police arrest on African-American illegal drug business. However, Anderson portrays that the code of street defines the individual and how it shapes constrain them to have deviant behaviors. I was skeptical about how a person is constrained in a violent life, and I understand from Anderson's perspective on social structure and how they impact individual behavior. Anderson indicates that the familial archetypes laid out and consequential of life deviance depend on influential individual factors emanating from the family structure they grow in and the atmosphere the society presents (Anderson, 2000). It implies that a child raided under a positive role model with production values. They have a high likelihood of leaving a decent life, increasing with time unless they lack control or guidance and support from the family and society.
I would recommend this book to other people, especially parents and youths, to avoid biasness associated with cultures and community life. They would understand how to avoid street cod
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