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Chapter 9

In Search of Respect: Ch. 9 Notes


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA02H3
Professor
Maggie Cummings
Chapter
9

Page:
of 2
Chapter 9: Conclusion ANTA02
Structural, racial, and class oppression is too complex to be solved by simple policy changes in
the short term
Economic and political structural forces, history, culture and individuals all need addressing
Confronting Racial and Class Inequality - Instead of Drugs
US is one of most powerful and rich countries, but inner cities are impoverished
*Drugs are internalizing of frustration, resistance, and powerlessness
o It’s an expression of deeper structural dilemmas
Drug use is qualitatively worse in 1990s than 1980s, but reason is because of a larger gap
between working class and rich
o Restructuring of world economy by global corporations, financial capital, digital
technology and less public intervention on behalf of poor are contributors
There is a sharp divide (polarization) of income according to class, gender and region
o E.g. married Puerto Ricans make much more, female and elderly lead households made
much less
To attack drugs, the author suggests balance between underground and legal economy has be
to be addressed:
1. The profitability of drug economy
2. Fragility and hostility of entry-level legal labor market
Decriminalizing drugs could eliminate profitability of drugs, remove incentive for dealers to sell
to kids, and reduce cost of incarcerating and prosecuting dealers
Dignified and emotionally rewarding jobs need to be provided
To make legal jobs for appealing:
o Aid for basic human needs shouldn’t be cut off when people have legal employment
o Should give incentives like education, work aid when unemployed
US needs to stop denying profitability of drug market and take advantage of motivated people
that want to work
Middle class and elites are increasingly able to disassociate with inner city and ethnically distinct
o Inner city is reflection of policies that are increasing polarization of street culture
o Budget cuts maintain status quo of middle class and target poor
Public programs try to address bad attitude of poor, but problem lies in institutionalized
expression of racism (inner city breakdown is mostly minorities)
US needs to equal playing field: equal services as middle class and predominantly white
neighborhoods, enforcement of same laws and equalizing availability of quality education
Hip Hop Jibaro: toward a Politics of Mutual Respect
Dealers often told other their sole reason for dealing was not just money, it was about dignity
and fulfillment
Respecto is built around independence and self-assertion
Women and elderly are poorest, so policies should target them and not force them to rely on
man with illegal income
Have to move away from individualized and psychological solutions
o E.g. Head Start program is considered successful, wants to turn pre-schoolers from bad
conditions into upper class eager students
Ignores abuse and neglect of children in economically fragile families
Chapter 9: Conclusion ANTA02
o Poverty rates and ethnic and class segregation re increasing
Policy change is difficult in immediate short term
Author wanted to humanize dealers without glamorizing them
Youth are eager to fulfill American dream using rapidly growing drug economy
They are not different from Americans: want to be entrepreneurs, work hard, and take risks
Resistance to mainstream society is Jibaro tradition
o Unfortunately this search for cultural respect is confined to street culture
There is nothing racial about failings in inner city, it is a representation of US’s failure in this area
Inner city people direct their violence against each other rather than people in power, which lets
us continue to let them exist in this way
First step is to address basic socioeconomic models and human values