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Chapter 6-9

ANTHROP 3P03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6-9: The Notorious B.I.G., Rakim, Erving Goffman

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Ellen Badone

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Chapters 6, 7, Conclusion, and Epilogue in On the Run
Chapter six describes the market that exists for protection and privileges as the chapter
title mentions. Goffman mentions Jevon who would charge people under probation for his
services that included voice imitation and memorization of important details to fool the
probationary officers. Another account included Shonda smuggling marijuana into jail for people
she knew or did not know. There were also mentions of Rakim selling urine for drug tests to
prevent positive drug test results and selling of driver’s licenses to people who did not qualify for
them, to mention a few. There were also mentions of bribing prison guards to smuggle drugs or
pills to the inmates. This chapter shows just how corrupt the ‘justice’ system is. The one thing
that was confusing is if she explained numerous terms throughout the ethnography, why she
didn’t explain who Biggie Smalls was or what other terms meant.
Chapter seven focuses more on the people who choose to stay out of trouble with the law
and justice system. There are approximately four groups of people that have stayed out being in
trouble with law. The first group mention was the indoor guys, mainly Lamar, and his friends,
who stayed out of trouble and lived with a man and took care of him because he had disabilities,
by all means an honest job. The next group mentioned was the clean family in isolation, who was
Miss Deena, around 65, and the financial provider for her family, with her job being in a
cafeteria on Penn campus. The next group was the grandfather, Mr. George living apart from his
grandsons who were all in jail, and whom raised his daughter, Miss Linda all alone. The last
group was a clean man with dirty friends, a reference to Josh whose friends included Chuck. It
was this section that dealt with the impact of Chuck’s death in 2007. The author showed that
even if you want to remain clean, certain conditions could prevent it.
In the conclusion, Goffman reiterates the extent of what Black men go through at the
hands of the justice system. This includes being under constant surveillance or suspicion to how
a ‘criminal’ background is entrapping and prevents them from bettering their lives. The
conclusion briefly summarizes the book; how relatives of criminal Black men are put under
stress and threats in order to find the men, and ongoing distrusts and divides. Goffman also gives
a somewhat historical background for her ethnography as a way of tying together all the
information. In the epilogue, she talks about how she had to leave due to lack of funding and
income, as well as having to finish her ethnography. She mentions how she returned to 6th street
briefly and tells the reader what happened to the ‘characters’ in the ethnography; Chuck, Steve
and Anthony died, Alex moved away, Mike went to jail then got a job, and Reggie and Tim were
in jail. How much other information was there that she did not include in her ethnography and
why did she not include it?
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