In this book, JT’s character is a very street-smart guy, who knows everything about gang’s and their operations. He makes a lot of money with what he does, drives nice cars and wears expensive clothes. When I read that JT has to tax all the tenants who basically make money on their own, I felt like he was a bad person. But when I read further, his character is actually a nice person, because he does really care about the people in his environment. For example, he makes sure that his tenants are healthy and not hungry and he supports the children to go to school and helps them with their school supplies. I think what JT does for living make him look bad guy. Because there are times that JT has to be rough and engage in violence to punish his workers, who didn’t follow his rules, to let them know that he is the boss and everyone has to respect his rules and decisions. As a leader of the gang, it is obvious that he can’t be nice and funny all the time. His people should respect him and look up to him. JT took this friendship with Venkatesh very serious and gave him all the access he could give. Because he thought of Venkatesh is someone who might be able to tell his story to the world. And through the whole book, JT wasn’t acknowledged, that the project wasn’t only about him.
On the other hand, Venkatesh is a graduate student who tries to get to know about gangs and their operation through JT, by hanging out with him. I think Venkatesh used JT to get all the information he wanted. Because he kept telling JT through the whole book, that he was going to write about JT. Then in many years later out of guilt, he published this book. Venkatesh was also very naïve in the beginning. I mean, who asks questions like “How does it feel to be black and poor?” with multiple choice answers: “Very bad, somewhat bad, neither bad nor good, somewhat good, very good.” P14. I think this question is very offending and disrespectful. And I think Venkatesh should have thought over...
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