ANTA02 – In Search of Respect; Intro
4 major dynamics altered daily life on streets of ElBarrio post-1995;
1. Us economy entered most prolonged period of sustained growth in history – followed by
downturn after 9/11 – caused income inequality to skyrocket.
2. Size of Mexican population in NYC / ElBarrio increased – subs job loss to competition working for
3. War on drugs escalated into semi-official public policies that criminalized/incarcerated the poor
and socially marginalized (ie 1-strike-and you’re-out policy, having felon in household calls for
eviction of entire family, by law).
4. Drug fashion trends shifted weed as more popular and heroin/crack less popular among Blacks
- Destruction of children of crack dealers = most disturbing trend.
o Represent the chronic social suffering generated by ElBarrio regardless pos+ econ fluctuation,
and decrease in youths hard-drug consumption.
o Many are recycled at great financial & human cost, thru the prison industrial complex.
Personal/political perspective: probe into the weakness inherent in “richest country” by documenting
how it imposes racial segregation & econ marginalization on its many Latino & black citizens.
- Dynamics of social marginalization& alienation result in Substance Abuse in the inner city which
is both a symptom and symbol of the dynamic.
- Statistically 50% of elbarrio residence (incomes include welfare & min wage work) shouldn’t be
able to afford sustenance given NYC living/rent/food prices.
o Via uncensused/untaxed underground economy= 100g’s of people w/minimal amenities afford
to live w/basic necessities.
o Female income-generating = babysitting, sewing, bartending at after-hours, off the books.
o Men income-generating more obvious and visible – incl’ off-books car repairs and drug selling –
but it’s hard to estimate how many, how much and what $$amount.
Street culture - resistance &self-destruction:
- Inner-city street culture: a complex and conflicted web of beliefs, symbols, modes of intrxn, values and
ideologies that have emerged in opposition to exclusion to mainstream society.
o comes from anguish of being poor in rich city compounded w/cultural assault faced by ElBarrio
youth when they step off block.
o offers an alternative forum for autonomous personal dignity.
- “Street culture of resistance” concent’n of socially marginz’d ppl into politically/ecologically isolated
inner streets causes explosive cultural creativity in defiance of racism and econ marginz’n.
o Its a spontaneous set of rebellious practices that emerged in the longterm as an oppositional