Posted at 05.10.2018
The essay is a critical analysis from a sociological perspective of the book ain't No Making it, third edition by Jay McLeod and published in 2008. The author divided the book into three distinct parts; part one The Hallway Hangers and the Brothers as Teenagers, part two Eight Years Later; Low income, Low income and the last part Ain't No makin' It. Through the eyes of both groups utilized by McLeod, the brothers (black minority boys) and the Hallways (white boys) we are able to clearly see what transpires in an American societal setting.
The two groups lived and studied in the same conditions but each has varied expectations and aspiration, this is on the basis of their race. The Brothers viewed an open society as the way life should be lived and held the view that the difficulties they are going through is because of racism their ancestors underwent. Because of this, they try as much as possible to activate in socially acceptable manners. This group does have high expectation as well as aspiration. On the other hand, the Hallways do not accept the same achievement ideology held by the Brothers. The individuals in this group have lost hope, do drugs, drop from school plus participating in a myriad of other activities deemed illegal. From the writer, the two groups didn't get themselves out of poverty. The reason I wager is that there are numerous barriers in the society that blocked their quest to getting themselves out of poverty. It really is worth noting that a range of other concepts from sociological viewpoint clearly emerge. These include social conflict, poverty, gender and racial inequality, males as role model, political power, defeatism, education and society/elites and generational mobility (McLeod 17).
From social conflict theory which argues that human beings as well as groups in confirmed society do at any moment have varied amount of both material and non material resources. For this reason, those deemed wealthy or rich and better exploit the less privileged. Another theory which will be analyzed across the social conflict is Bourdieu social reproductive theory which asserts that those kids born by working class parents will automatically conclude finding better jobs.
It is evident that the Brothers did acknowledge that the difficulties in life they are facing at present are only as a result of the serious racial discrimination their fore fathers went through. An example of social conflict is in the field of education in the book. Those kids from lower class families are treated in a way by the teachers that suggest they (students) are less competent. Thus they are placed in a lower track as they lack opportunities to build up their language. Within this category, these students are only trained to later in life take blue color jobs while those from affluent families are trained to take white color jobs. Additionally, the two sorts of school, public and private provide us with a specific distinction between where kids from wealthy and poor background attend school (McLeod 287). On the same note, students from less privileged families are disadvantaged by their manners, just how they talk, dress and deemed never to be fit and valued in the education systems
Social conflict also arise when the Hallways view their skin as being discriminated against by the American affirmative action which aim at providing equal opportunities to all Americans. They are really of the judgment that the black are favored because of the skin color and the whit boys even curse their color. Frankie said, "Well I look today, of course, if anyone should had an opportunity to make it, it's fuckin', it's black people. They got a chance to make it. Cuz there's fucking quotas to be filled. " (McLeod 187)
It is out of this perspective that both groups hold varied achievement ideology. It is apparent that despite their hardship, the Brothers see themselves as individuals who will beat all odds and make it in life through education and taking part in constructive activities. Alternatively, the Hallways haven't any hopes of rendering it in life and are under defeatism. A very important factor seems apparent, that structural barriers block both the Brothers and the Hallways from getting away from poverty. From a close examination of events, it is in my own view that hard work do pay while other factors such as race, sex among others are just secondary or play very minimal role in future success of people.
Gender and racial inequality
Gender and racial inequality is a concept that identifies unfair treatment of an individual because of his sex/gender and his/her race or skin color. In the book, the writer through his well thought and painted characters bring out clearly discrimination in conditions of race. From your view point of the Hallways, lacking male role model brings with their mind some aspect of gender inequality. They Lack the guidance as well as the possibility to study from them, and for that matter, they do not deem their mothers and elder sisters as being able to provide them the guidance they need in life. Insufficient male role model have renders these guys (Hallways) to be hopeless in life and when asked what they'll be within the next twenty, years, their response is amazing, they state they will be in jail or even dead (McLeod 341).
The problem of racism has been facing Americans from so long as human race came into being and started migrating to America. From the onset of the book, the Brothers declare that they are in their difficult situation because of this of how unfair their forefathers were treated. This resulted to them (forefathers) being denied equal employment and education opportunities. The Brothers are brave enough to come out of this narrow kind of thinking to fight very difficult so as to reclaim their status because of numerous reforms such as affirmative actions and equal occupations. On the other hand, the Hallways despite the fact that these are white which would translate to being in a much better position to get better education and jobs are in more anguish exactly like their black counter parts. They assert that the black are favored as they have taken all jobs because of the government policies, Hallways further declare that they see their skin color as working a against them, for this reason they can be practicing racism as they do not see eye to eye with the blacks. Contrary to this, the Brothers after seeing an factor of racism just work away from it (McLeod 442).
Generational mobility a thought used to describe how a given human generation finds their ways to another social class has is evident in McLeod book. Historically, people have struggled to make their live better by doing all things possible of their reach. You are the quest to climb the social ladder. Varied school of thought exist that try to justify how this is attained. A couple of those who hold that one's family background dictates what lengths an individual will rise in societal stratification. Alternatively, achievement ideologists strongly believe that all these societal aspects such as sex, race, family background are secondary and play no or minimal role in dictating how one generation will rise in one level to another. What's important is the desire and effort of doing so.
Both the Brothers and the Hallways are brought from impoverished family background. One group, the Brothers, the black minority in America society despite being raised in a disadvantaged society; these are painted as individuals who are highly optimistic and work very hard to achieve their dreams and desires. They engage themselves in activities that are in line with positive living as well as based on the country's law. They work very work very difficult in school in order to achieve better grades. It is worth noting that even though their parents were oppressed previously and didn't get the opportunities to wait school, they against all odd support their kids in all ways possible. However, the Brothers failed to achieve their desired success and blame themselves for this failure (McLeod 271). On the other hand, the Hallways were demoralized by their self defeat and found themselves indulging in drugs, dropping from school. They blame all other individuals in the society for instance schools, parents, the city the society and every one around them but forget to see what role they have got played to make their lives the way it is. It really is for holding the thought of defeatism, pessimists and disregarding achievement ideology that the Hallways did not achieve any mobility which could have helped them and the coming generation to move in the ladder. From my point of view, for just about any future human generation to understand mobility, today's generation need not to concentrate on what was done wrong but to make improvement on that which was done wrong.
From my analysis, there is no person better social theory that can adequately clarify sociological aspects in any societal settings. Due to the fact that sociological concepts and perspective are closely associated with one another, ascribing someone to be of more importance in my thoughts and opinions is not being rational and sound enough in trying to address these effects.
The author has laid an emphasis on the issue of poverty in the society. In the book ain't no making it, excellent insights I to lives of teenage boys who are in a minimal income neighborhood Clarendon Heights where the reader is forced to reconsider ones notions and perceptions of poverty as well as its causes in the society. The book looks at the American ideology on achievement and puts into question its effect son the society. The book goes to justify the actual fact that people aren't poor since they are lazy but instead because of this of several structural barriers in the society that traps them in to the vicious cycle of poverty. It goes ahead showing how the social structure and the way the society is close-minded and the especially the upper and the middle class people who view that those who occupy the lesser social standing the lazy ones. The 11 year old Freddie is self-defeated despite growing in the us regarded as a nation of dreams because he feels trapped in such position by the inherited poverty. The poverty passed down from earlier generations especially using their uneducated parent greatly impacted on the task, school and even shattered or limited their dreams and ambitions (MacLeod, 447).
The author mentions in his book about the hallway hangers which is predominantly whites and spend great deal of their time hanging in a specific hallway section of the housing project. This peer group is self-destructing and self defeating as its members poses a very narrow view of these futures being destined with expectations. They don't see any glimpse of hope and are incredibly pessimistic of these future endeavors. Alternatively is the very optimistic per group the brother who despite their low income current life they detrimentally held the American dream near to their hearts. The hallway hungers have been isolated from the society plus they feel bitter about any of it as they are the minority group. The alienation because of this of poverty has made them quit in a life and that they have dully accepted. The hallways hangers then engage themselves in criminal activities, alcoholics and become junkies who are addicted to losing. Way down the road they still don't realize any upward social mobility.
On the other hand the band of the indegent black catapulted by their optimism and American dream turns their desolate situation directly into an improved one by struggling very hard which later earns them a slight upward movement in the social ladder. Through this the writer embedded the Marxist theory which he argues against let's assume that all educated people as Marx stated. MacLeod shows another evidence that poor people stay poor because of the generational inheritance of poverty because you'll find so many pressures that act against them especially when the battle to lift themselves sup and these end as limiting their rise in the society so far ant rise in social status effort of several generations have to be considered.
The defeatism portrayed by the Hallway Hangers in the book ain't a making it making is explained by the social learning theory which argues that students are often socialized from their early ages and therefore hold various values and own activities predicated on their social situations. It further argues that students raised from backgrounds characterized by failure and under achievement always see their parents or preceding generations as failures and have a tendency to often internalize such values at end up perceiving their own success also as unlikely. This theory thus justifies the action and decisions that are made by the peer group Hallways Hangers who saw their uneducated and poor parents and became self -defeated for the others of the lives.
The author also describe the consequences that result when the poor are false defeated and do nothing if not worse by making wrong decisions in their current lives. The Hallways hungers saw falsehood in the American dream and believed that everything they need to have done to salvage their situation as was empty ventures and considered be absolute losers who in their future lives had crummy jobs, poor living standards and many regrets like if they have been serious in getting educated they might have bee leading better lives with better past.
Macleod proves that nothing good comes free of charge and you have to continue struggling to realize it just as the way the brother never gave up on their dreams despite their poverty and alienation from all of those other society. It proves that if is to succeed. The author shows the way the lives of the indegent in a proper off society are self-defeated by their poverty levels and finish up worsening their situation as they are alienated from all of those other society (MacLeod, 347). The brothers stayed focused in their struggles to see their imagine progressing into the social ladder in to the middles class coma true and later reaped its benefit of their optimism and handwork, their behavior is supported by the ideology of achievement called Dependence on Achievement theory which argues that the amount of ones achievement is the merchandise of these motivation to succeed and hence avoid failure thus individual tend to weigh their expectancy of success by the values positioned on that success. The brothers despite being from poor families kept their dreams alive by motivating themselves with good thoughts of enjoying better life when they rose to the middle class. The values they positioned in middle social class motivated these to continue struggling hard and being optimistic of a much better life ahead.
The Hallways hangers see falsehood in the education system and thinks that teachers no nothing and sees no values to getting educated and if indeed they go to class they get expelled and are teachers nightmare. There parents work in low paying jobs and to allow them to get quick bucks they get themselves does drugs like selling of crack cocaine in a nearby. In addition to doing drugs the group engage sin alcoholism and other forma of crimes. Doing of drugs inhibits the group members from getting educated and obtain their goals as it creates them concentrate on them and since they get high they care less with their lives hence limiting their progress in life. The hallways hangers derived their name fro always found hanging in a particular hallway in the project, a place they would get drunk and high. They have got given up in life and do not see any probability of getting from the housing projects so they opted to doing drugs hence becoming depressed and eventually hindering their motivation (MacLeod, 147).
This peer group use drugs as a shortcut to happiness and a means of preventing the ramifications of poverty. Doing drugs also made them quick money that they believed could not be obtained from work. From doing drugs you can have more than twenty dollars when compared with seven dollar salary from work. Hangers saw drugs as an n easy way to avoid it of debt but this denied them an n opportunity of going to school to raised their future lives and for many who attemptedto school always got in problems with their teachers and administration as consequence of drug use.
Male Figures Role Models
Most of the male parents of the hallways hangers are either gone and brothers are dead or in jail and this denies such them a male role models in their upbringing. On the other hand the brother have more male authority figures plus they therefore respect their families more than their counter parts hallways hangers (MacLeod, 47). The brothers are also more optimistic in life and desire to get their families from the housing projects by graduating from school and getting white jobs that happen to be well paying. This implies that the male role models in the family plays a crucial role in the lives of younger siblings or their kids as they instill some values that the male figures ca not. For example the skills of appreciating family are related to the role played by the male family figures as seen from the brothers who show some love and respect towards family members and this is attributed to the amounts of male figure in their lives when compared with the Hallway hungers whose fathers were dead and big brothers dead or in jail. The male figures in the groups of the hallway hungers showed a poor example influencing the members also get engaged in activities that would lead the to imprisonment or even lead with their death.
The book outplays the thought of doing away of ideologies that deny acknowledgement of ones social conditions for instance the achievement ideology which made the brothers to think that by ignoring their impoverished conditions they can make in life by trying harder plus they ended up in limited progress. Most teachers believe the ideology motivates all students but that is not true as there halfway hangers needed a support in self esteem to be able to get motivated. Ina addition compared to that for students to get motivated in schools materials should be provided especially those in inner-cities where schools have deteriorated to an unhealthy point.
In addition, a social change is not achieved overnight but takes sometimes and appreciation of ones social problem contributes to a progressive change and through education one can critically understand such social problems. Finally to make any political change in the society people especially the dormant dogma should discard the long time held belief that poverty is caused by personal vices and cultural pathologies of the indegent.