This book titled “code of the street: decency, violence and the moral life of the inner city” was written by Elijah Anderson. It specifically discusses the major ways in which the campaign for respect determines and organizes the street life for the young people. The writer who is Elijah explains that this campaign for respect is the street code which assists the inner city residents to stay alive while on the streets. This organizes the life for the young people by giving and gaining them the total respect of others and teaches them on how to survive especially in their neighborhoods. The writer of this book concludes his book by indicating that the code of the street is a complex and complicated mechanism of respect and survival. The writer also points out that the campaign for real and true respect might not be able to work in every other area of all cities but only on the inner city streets and it is a firm method of self-respect and survival.
This book shows us that the writer has divided the families that live in the streets into two types of families. These include the street family and the decent type of family. This book explains the circumstances and the surrounding that lead to the development of the two types of families and it also explains how each of these families is able to cope with the situation that they find themselves in (Elijah 123).
This is an example of the decent family that is known to be a type of family that is faced with violence and the conditions that are in the streets. This might be also the case in the impoverished areas where the children may be from broken homes, or also the parents work in many different jobs and therefore the parents are rarely at home to teach and interact with their children. These children also are allowed to organize their lives by the lessons that they learn from the streets. These children see what is able to work well for the other children who are known to be in the same circumstances and they make sense out of these in their own lives and are able to gain life skills that are valuable in the process of learning from other children in similar situations. Without such organizations in the streets and on the streets, these types of children may never have the capability to learn the same kind of lessons from any other source and may feel alienated from the others and feel lonely (Elijah 98). This may force the children to think that they are the only people who are undergoing through certain problems.
This campaign for respect assists these children to discover the solutions to their own problems and it also gives them a feeling of peer approval and also sense of belonging. This book is quite insightful when considering all the aggressive behaviors that are prevalent in the society today from the street society to violence found in other settings such as the prisons. This book helps us the readers to understand the nature of violence (Elijah 123).
The street families and also the attitudes of the street families are known to have are developed and formed as a result of the basic reality which is poverty. The American society and also other societies have failed to find any solution to this problem of poverty. The writer explains that the inescapable reality of lacking money to support one’s own self and also his family is a reality that one should face and cope with by being tough. These people should strive to preserve their morale and should seek to be referred to as tough rather than poor especially in the street families which are a more and better powerful description of these people that they could be able to survive with respect (Elijah 198).
The author studied the America’s streets proved that being tough was a necessity and meant being feared by others who lived with them. This fear was meant to come with the power of having the capability to affirm one’s control over others. The street families are able to rule the streets because they are well able to bring violence into the place that they live which is the streets. This is the only reason which makes the other decent families to fear the so called street families.
The thoughts of the street families have some roots in the reality and the perception of racism. The street families according to the writer who is Anderson believe that there is only one kind of justice for the whites and another kind of justice for blacks and therefore they have to right any other wrongs that are done to them on their own. They take justice into their own hands because they believe that there is no justice that is accrued to them. These street families believe that power is derived from having a large group of individuals who are able to back you up in case of a dispute and that no questions should be asked and enquired about. They believe that the fewer people one can count on to call as on their sides, the weaker, and the more the vulnerable the individual is.
The presence of respect does not mean hard work or trying to raise their families well but that one is capable of revenge and vengeance and would not hesitate to look for it. The difference between those with in the streets and those with decent values is often and mostly lost on the outsiders especially in schools, workplaces and shops. Sometimes the difference is blurred by the residents in order to work well and cope with outsiders and neighbors who are seen as hostile forces including police. The result of this is the strengthening of the grip which the writer calls an “opposition culture” which restrains the capability of anyone to loosen free in the work force or the educational system (Elijah 320).
The conclusion of this book includes a short story about a former drug dealer who was named Rob who takes and joins other few friends in getting advice from another former drug dealer too. This advisor helped these people to open a small new business though the journey is tenuous though it turned out later to be a success. This tells us that these people who live in the streets and engage in such acts as drug dealing and violence could change and live normal lives and even become successful in their lives (Elijah 345).
The writer is involved in the drug dealing and violence that was prevalent in the streets where he had gone to collect the information from. This helped the writer to know much about what happens in the streets which has useful information to people who are ready to deal with these prevalent problems in the streets.
I can recommend this book to all the people who are interested in the inner city codes and culture that are taken up by the youth in the inner city because this book is incredibly insightful and full of useful information that these people require in their work. This book tells us much about these families that live in the streets and this information is useful in knowing how to deal with these families. The information about the random violence in the inner city is right and the fact that this is regulated through the informal code of the streets is very encouraging to learn.
The way an individual talks, dresses, and also behaves has life-or-death consequences especially with the young people who are at a high risk. There is the counteracting of this code of the loving, strong, and decent family. This is because the family streets control the public spaces.