Perspective Essay on the Code of the Streets

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Perspective Essay on The Code of the Streets

Culture in urban communities, also referred to as inner-cities, are growing increasingly violent. In the article, The Code of the Streets by Elijah Anderson, he begins to take an in-depth look at the root of the evil. He deduces that economic factors, parenting and the troublesome environments largely influence the violent norms within this culture.

Anderson notes that two groups coexist simultaneously in the inner-cities which he labels as the “decent” and the “streets.” Although both groups suffer economic difficulties, they differ in values mainly instilled through parenting and the home environment. The decent group seeks to adopt mainstream middle-class values, such as a love, respect and law-abiding citizens nonviolently. Whereas the street-oriented group are mostly violent and feel disenfranchised. He states that the most common to feel disenfranchised are poor African Americans, especially the young.

Anderson states that as their culture evolves, so does their set of rules in which to live by. He explains that the sub-cultures within these violent urban communities, the ghetto, devise a set of rules in which to abide by. These rules are unofficial and have no relevance to the U.S. Justice System; however, it is vital to conduct oneself by these standards. He deduces the rules represent a way to behave publicly and also how to handle issues, most often involving violence.

The foundation of the code is respect, to be treated properly. It is hard to gain and easy to lose. In this culture your personal appearance greatly influences your status and level of respect. This includes but is not limited to, the clothes you wear (e.g. brands and colors) as well as jewelry. For example, a person who wears a large gold chain visually, could be an indication that he is well-respected and to not offend him. It also benefits the individual by frequently reducing petty misconducts or offenses because of the...
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