In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio is a book by anthropologist Philippe Bourgois. In it, he chronicles his experiences living and working in one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City.
Bourgois argues that racism and discrimination are major factors that contribute to the cycle of poverty and violence in these neighborhoods. He also discusses how racial segregation creates further barriers for people of color.
Despite the challenges, Bourgois ultimately shows that there is hope for change. He highlights the strength and resilience of the people who live in these communities, and how they continue to fight for a better future.
The best-selling book In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, written by Philippe Bourgois in 1995, explores his experiences as an author living in East Harlem (El Barrio). The writer moved to this neighborhood of New York City with the intention of researching the influence of forced racial segregation and economic marginalization on the city’s Puerto Rican community in 1985 (intro pg.1).
Racism, discrimination and violence were some of the main issues this population had to face daily. Bourgois spent four years living in El Barrio, during which time he became friends with many people who were involved in the drug trade. He observed how they were treated by the police and how racism affected their lives. In his book, Bourgois argues that the crack cocaine epidemic should be understood within the context of racism and discrimination against minorities in the United States.
This book offered a fresh perspective on New York’s street culture. The degree of difficulty in this part of our nation is far greater than that found in most other places. Bourgois advances the “culture of poverty” theory, which appears to suggest that poor people have aberrant cultural preferences. Poor individuals lead different lives from others, therefore their cultural characteristics keep them stuck in poverty.
Racism, discrimination, and racial segregation are just some of the issues that play a role in this vicious cycle.
The book does an excellent job of describing how people living in poverty are often forced to turn to illegal activities in order to make ends meet. The author also provides insight into the mindset of those who sell drugs. Despite the dangers and risks associated with drug dealing, many people see it as a way to improve their lives. They view selling drugs as a way to make quick money and gain respect from their peers.
Overall, this book was very eye-opening and provided new insights into the culture of poverty. It is clear that Bourgois has done an extensive amount of research on this topic. This book is sure to provoke thought and discussion.
The poor are distinguished by different cultural norms, and these variations in culture explain why so many remain impoverished. He claims that this community, which is notorious for high levels of violence, does not experience widespread conflicts among all its residents. According to Bourgois, the higher crime rate is due mostly to underground economy factions; social relationships caused the increased aggression.
Racism, he states, has played a role in the development of these differences. Racism has caused the members of the lower class to feel inferior, and as a result they resort to illegal activities such as drug dealing in order to make money.
Bourgois interviewed many crack dealers and addicts in East Harlem. He found that most of them had grown up in broken families, with very little parental supervision. Many of them had been physically abused by their parents, or had witnessed violence within their homes. As a result of this trauma, they turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. They also turned to gangs for protection and support.
The crack dealers interviewed by Bourgois generally did not view themselves as bad people. They saw themselves as victims of circumstance who were simply trying to survive in a hostile world. They were proud of their ability to make money and provide for their families, despite the odds against them.
However, they were also well aware of the destruction that crack was causing in their community. They knew that many people were addicted to the drug, and that it was tearing families apart. But they rationalized their involvement by saying that they were just selling a product that people wanted. And they pointed out that the demand for crack would exist even if they weren’t there to supply it.
In general, the crack dealers interviewed by Bourgois had a deep sense of respect for those who could make it in the legal economy. They saw themselves as survivors who had overcome incredible odds. But they also saw the legal economy as a rigged system that was stacked against them. They didn’t believe that they could ever make it in that world, so they had to create their own rules in order to survive.
The underground economy is examined in El Barrio, from baby sitting and off-track betting to drug dealing, as these were the methods that most of the families there used to survive. This book is a summary of Bourgois’s stay in El Barrio with the main aim of writing a personal account of racial prejudice and ethnic segregation in one of New York City’s boroughs.
Racism, discrimination and racial segregation were the main issues which he observed while living there.
Bourgois first came to El Barrio in 1985 as an anthropology student researching a doctoral dissertation on ethnic violence. He spent four years living in the barrio, during which time he became friends with many of the residents, particularly those involved in the drug trade. Bourgois argues that the crack dealers he knew were not “monsters” or “super-predators”, but rather product of a racist society that offered them few legitimate opportunities for economic advancement.
In Search of Respect is an important ethnographic study of poverty and racism in urban America. Bourgois offers insights into the lives of people who are often demonized by the media and the general public. He shows that crack dealers are not simply “monsters” or “super-predators”, but rather product of a racist society that offers them few legitimate opportunities for economic advancement.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the realities of poverty and racism in America today.