Gang Leader for a day
Sudhir Venkatesh, a student of University of Chicago, majoring in Sociology. From the very first week, he got warning that not to wander outside of the area of patrol. Venkatesh with a lot of spare time on hand began to wandering around the campus. The poor areas beyond the safety line soon make him wonders: How’s the life there? Do they go to work? What jobs do they have? What’s like to live in the poor area? It had peak his interest about the life of the poor neighborhood in the city. The frustration for answers and a daring personality thirsted for the firsthand experience through face to face interaction with the research. It would soon lead him to an adventure that would soon change his way to look at life differently.
As mention in the book, Venkatesh did not agree with the quantitative method of research by collecting mass data through surveys and numbers. There were more questions in his mind that just can’t wait to be answer. He, by applying the qualitative research, wanted to understand more through first hand observation of the researches than learned it through the window of the quantitative method. His research later on is based on the knowledge he gained upon collecting and observing from the life of the Robert Taylor residents and the Black Kings. I soon realized how dangerous and venturesome of Venkatesh to be able to obtain his field notes to bring us these eye-opening experiences.
During Venkatesh’s finding, this book best presented the conflict theory where one who hold the power and resources controls others and a competition of differentials between those in power. I find it sympathy to many the residents of Robert Taylor Homes. Not because I have a better life than them but no one born to be being discriminate, where robbery, violent and terrify things could happen anytime. They were facing many barriers in their life, little kids being born in a poor family, living day by day just not to be starve or shots to death. First, The Black Kings, BKs, took advantage of the poverty life of the Robert Taylor area; they established the one of the most popular drug trade in the Chicago city. BKs and other gangs’ territory created a clear barrier to where you could go and what not to do between areas of the same Robert Taylor Homes. The shooting happened between gangs also one of the constant threat to everyday life but it would seem a bit normal to the residents. J.T. himself, created a barrier between people like him consider themself as niggers, who couldn’t find jobs and white collar African American who would wear tie and go to work. The barrier created by Ms. Mae, J.T’s mother with Venkatesh who coming from a middle class family with herself coming from a poor family in Arkansas. Second there is the building president, Ms. Bailey, an experience and cunning woman who influence with the gang and the public services. Ms. Bailey by her power of connection, one side extorted the residents through police officials and the other turn away from the gang letting them selling the drug trades in the building.
Certainly, the public service turned their away from Robert Taylor’s resident. The cops playing as the bad cop not all cops were the same but through bribery Officer Jerry and some rogue cops would do the extorted for Ms. Bailey. The police refused to come because of the tenants throwing glass and shout at them. The ambulance didn’t come because they know either the victim was wounded because of gunshot, domestic violence also they know they won’t be able to be paying for it. Price got wounded in the gang shooting’s scene and everyone knew the ambulance would never came. It would came down to our author have to lend J.T. his car to be able to get Price to hospital. The resident receive nothing from the surrounding community, not much people come to help with the community anymore I think...
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