Veal_1010_CodeOfTheStreet - Code of the Street Decency...

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Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City by Elijah Anderson What is the code , one may ask. According to Elijah Anderson, author of Code of the Street, the street code stems from the evolution of a street culture “which amounts to a set of formal rules governing interpersonal public behavior, particularly violence.” It is a way of life, a culture, a belief system, a cause and an effect. There are rules to the code, and if you live in the streets you must follow them. What lies at the very top of the street code is the act of respecting someone else, their things, property, life, or anything else they may deem as worthy of respect. Once you disrespect someone, their loved ones, or their things, in the streets this “dissing” or disrespectful behavior can be grounds for angry affect, retaliation, revenge, or criminal activity thus resulting in violence—the single most behavior the street code governs. Respect plays a big role in maintaining the street code because an individual gains respect by being “tough” and by being tough one has to play the “tough” guy role. Thus fighting and using violence becomes a way to gain self-status and is deemed as being “tough.” To gain respect a person has to have high status and to gain high status, one usually does anything to attain it meaning robbing, stealing, being confrontational, and using intimidation. As a result, the use of guns is inevitable and the police are usually not involved due to the lack of trust and care the residents have for them, resulting in unnecessary killings and increased hostile tensions between the victim’s family and the offender occurring within the same neighborhood. Violent behavior is then positively reinforced and rewarded as a result of “winning” a fight or robbing someone for everything that they own. Thus the accolades of having high status by using violence are reinforced and are tangible, more so creating to the code of the street. The street code normally originates in the communities of the working to poor class inner-city neighborhoods where “acting” street is the go-to solution for making do of everyday tribulations like joblessness, unemployment, limited basic public services, race relations,
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Veal 2 rampant drug use, the alienation as a result of these conditions along with an absence hope for the future. It usually hits the African-American inner-city youth male the hardest. One major factor that leads to the development of a street code is the lack of faith in the police and judicial system. When police are called and slow to respond to any situation, residents feel that they must take actions into their own hands in solving a dispute or protecting themselves or loved ones from those who are offending. Residents feel that policemen are careless and irresponsible in handling their calls and cries for help and a lack of faith ensures. To add, residents feel that police are the white dominant individuals who are not concerned with their
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Veal_1010_CodeOfTheStreet - Code of the Street Decency...

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