May 6, 2013

"For black men like us, the feeling of having something to lose, beyond honor and face, is foreign."

"We grew up in communities — New York, Baltimore, Chicago — where the Code of the Streets was the first code we learned. Respect and reputation are everything there. These values are often denigrated by people who have never been punched in the face. But when you live around violence there is no opting out. A reputation for meeting violence with violence is a shield. That protection increases when you are part of a crew with that same mind-set. This is obviously not a public health solution, but within its context, the Code is logical."

97 comments:

Phil 3:14 said...

Interesting. Professor, can you speak for all white women. I can speak for all white men if needed.

John Lynch said...

Facts? I don't care about facts.

Jeff Teal said...

Southern men grow up with a similar code.But it isn't all about the streets.For me ir was an acknowledgement that our animal nature is just around the corner.Part of the Yes sir No maam thing is trying to keep that just a little farther away.
It is a bit like that warning that Ky town gave the reporters.
Violence can be found everywhere.Some of us realize that and are prepared to respond appropiately.

Balfegor said...

For black men like us, the feeling of having something to lose, beyond honor and face, is foreign. We grew up in communities — New York, Baltimore, Chicago — where the Code of the Streets was the first code we learned. Respect and reputation are everything there.

There's an underlying incoherence in the piece -- sure he and his friends might stand to lose a bit of money in lawsuits if they go beating up drunks, or perhaps spend a bit of time in jail, but what restrains them most as men on the cusp of middle age is precisely their need for respect and reputation. It's just a respect and a reputation measured with a different metric -- the esteem, rather than the fear, of strangers. If he thinks that respect and reputation are of concern only to Black youths in the inner city, he's . . . well he hasn't talked to many people about it. What's unique for Black youths, at least as he is presenting it, is not the thirst for respect and reputation, which are universal, but the barbarous means by which it is earned, in a culture saturated with violence. And of course, that culture and attitude, as Coates is portraying it, dovetails perfectly with 19th century imperialist images of the primitive other -- proud, jealous of insult, and awed only by the naked display of power.

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord
!

ndspinelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

Nice find, John Lynch

The author seems to forget the Code he talks up here when he wants to play down the violent potential of a young gangsta wanna-be black male elsewhere.

pduggie said...

Sounds like the Norwegians need to learn this code, fast

http://gatesofvienna.net/2013/05/everything-you-have-learned-in-school-is-wrong/

tiger said...

Yeah The Code is logical to men that want to live that way.

I've been watching The First 48 on A&E and what surprises me is
1) How violent so many of these murders are
2) How people get killed over the most trivial of acts and
3) How cheap live is in the Black community.

And this is the outcome of having The Code.

John Lynch said...

Yes, wouldn't want to criticize underclass behavior. You see, in context, it all makes sense. Context!

pduggie said...

Maybe TNC is doing battle space preparation in his own mind to deal with an expected acquittal for Zimmerman

Balfegor said...

That said, this:

At 13, I could imagine not going to jail, not getting shot, being a responsible father. I could not envision much more. I could name careers and other paths, but I had no real sense that it was possible for me to get there, or how. Somehow I got there.

Does make me feel sorry for him and his class. It's a more extreme version of the gap I see between Whites on the one hand, and Korean-Americans on the other -- the sense that there are doors, and that they are open to you.

John Lynch said...

Drill SGT-

That's the post that made me stop reading his blog. He's mostly a sensible, not very partisan, writer, which I like.

But then I read that, and left. If you feel the same about something no matter what the facts are, there's no point in reading you anymore.

Balfegor said...

Re: Lynch:

Yes, wouldn't want to criticize underclass behavior. You see, in context, it all makes sense. Context!

Well, in context it does -- that's why you see the same kind of behaviour in dysfunctional societies across the globe, and have seen for thousands of years. It is the natural human response, in that context. So that context must be smashed to pieces. It has no place in a civilised country.

Tim said...

"Southern men grow up with a similar code."

Exactly.

Every group has its code, its standards, its expectations, its reality and how to navigate it.

Some of those codes are transferable to other situations; some of those codes transcend situations; some of those codes are limited to local situations, races, sexual orientations, jobs.

So what?

Deal.

Jay said...

How cheap live is in the Black community

Well, we've been aborting about 37% of black babies for over 40 years...

edutcher said...

The code of the streets has nothing to do with honor and everything to do with survival.

And it's not respect, it's fear. Kill or be killed.

If you want a code, you're talking about civilization and rules.

This is an exaggerated version of the code of the schoolyard where the kid that's an easy mark is the one who always gets beaten up.

Jeff Teal said...

I think that too many people do not understand that this code is right there-right now.And that many people have elements of it . The destructive confrontation is just around the corner.Avoiding it requires maturity,sobriety, experience, or grace. Too many young people like Trayvon don't have any.Mr. Coates had at least two in his encounter.
On another Trayvon point how is the soccer refs death foing to play in the Zimmerman trial.

Jay said...

These values are often denigrated by people who have never been punched in the face.

I agree.

and,
These values are often denigrated by people who have never been to a gun show

And,
These values are often denigrated by people who have never been in the military

and,
These values are often denigrated by people who have never been outside the NYC/DC bubble


and on it goes...

Michael said...

The codes changed when people put down fists and picked up guns. Maybe its generational but there is precious little fist fighting in the south these days and lots of gun fire.

John Lynch said...

The real problem with this code bullshit (and I read the book, too) is that it's imposed on everyone else in reach.

When I make a delivery to public housing I have to deal with these idiots. At night I have to be careful that one of these code-followers doesn't jump me for $20. I'm sure it would all be in context.

No sympathy. Stop being violent. Leave people alone.

Michael Haz said...

A reputation for meeting violence with violence is a shield.

Good summary of an effective national defense policy.

Aridog said...

Sounds like the same old neighborhood block lessons about the difference between "stand up" and "shut up" ... you learn it or you don't.

Aridog said...

John Lynch said...

The real problem with this code bullshit (and I read the book, too) is that it's imposed on everyone else in reach.

Yes, all too often, it is ... which makes no sense and is bereft of any logic.

Amartel said...

"I live in a nice neighborhood in New York. If I shaved more often, I might actually qualify for my local chapter of the black bourgeoisie. "

This guy. Is so annoying.
Watch as he explains how he is bourgeois (has a nice place in society and in NYC) and yet he's not Bourgeois (as he does not shave his face regularly - New Rule: facial hair is a marker for the dispossessed.) Why, this fine gentleman has it all, social standing and security, and yet The Whining. He doesn't Have It All. Someone somewhere might be harboring uncharitable thoughts. (Over here, Tanehesi, right over here.). His go-to explanation is Race. It's always Race. White Man cannot tolerate his betwixt and between special snowflake ass. It does not occur to him that Social Presumptions might burden other men, and women, as well. He doesn't trouble to think about root causes for why so many black men run afoul of the law. He just approaches the whole thing from the perspective of What's Troubling Tanehesi Today? Who Has Dared to Disrespect MEEEE.

kcom said...

You just have to watch a few episodes of The First 48 to see how pathetic and banal all this is in context. And mind-numbingly repetitive. It's 98% petty criminals killing each other for stupid reasons, icluding robbing and murdering their own friends and acquaintances for tiny amounts of drugs and cash. The first task of the detectives is invariably to discover the real names of the suspects (and even the victims) since everyone has a "street" name instead of a real name, and they don't know each other's real names.

"The Mentalist", "Castle", and "Criminal Minds" it's not. Not even "Law & Order".

wildswan said...

Here's some other quotes from that article
But it was the streets that had fooled him. ...
Much of the struggle with young black boys and teenagers today lies in getting them to see all that violence endangers. ...
others like me: an entire fraternity founded on the need to comprehend the folkways of a world we had never been sure we’d see.

I've met these young men also. They were out on parole and in subsidized jobs - and I and my co-workers have been threatened by them. And we watched them lose the jobs they actually truly wanted They truly wanted to stay out of jail. They just did not know the consequences to themselves of threatening people with violence once they were not on the streets. They used to tell me "You wouldn't make it on the streets." I would say: "The way to make it on the streets is not the way to make it off the streets. You got to choose."

Jeff Teal said...

Aridog you deal with the other as the other.It's your perspective that matters not his.Intentions do not matter.Give respect get respect.Act like a fool you are a fool.

edutcher said...

Keep in mind this "code" is the sort of thing fans of the knockout game and drive-bys live by.

Rabel said...

I forget, was Coates a Shark or a Jet.

As long as people like Coates justify it, the violence will continue.

Jeff Teal said...

Strangely enough the only people that can reach the street people are the people that can answer their threats with promises of their own. A lot of those seem to be ex-military.Funny how Mr. Coates Code is not so foreign to them,huh?

rcocean said...

"That's what I call the repo code, kid. Don't forget it, etch it in your brain. Not many people got a code to live by anymore." - Bud

sydney said...

I think that too many people do not understand that this code is right there-right now.And that many people have elements of it . The destructive confrontation is just around the corner.Avoiding it requires maturity,sobriety, experience, or grace.

The line separating good and evil passes....right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. - said someone or other.

rcocean said...

Here's another Code:

In the Old West, there was an unwritten code of behavior. Western writer Zane Grey first chronicled it as the “Code of the West.” This code stressed integrity, self-reliance and accountability. It relied on cooperation with neighbors in finding solutions to problems.

rcocean said...

Proof the NYT is racist.

40 million black people and they choose TNC to speak for them.

Jeff Teal said...

One of the things I do not get is how I can see the commonality of these codes and some people cannot.TNC seems to think that only the urban African American has this code vut I seen it in Sicilian,Greek,Turkish,Lebanese,and German slums.

creeley23 said...

Yes, within its context, the Code is logical. And it is certainly suicidal.

Yet Coates fails to notice that the Code describes the entire black subculture, not just young males or older men who managed to escape to something like a more normal American life.

Blacks vote as a tribe and their demand for respect is paramount and unslakeable as trying to satisfy gang-bangers. They have little concern for the larger entity that is America. They have been disrespected and that's all that matters.

And it is suicidal. The policies blacks vote for -- the spending, entitlements, cronyism, and immigration reform -- ultimately hurt blacks worse than any other group.

I don't see how we get out of this.

Jeff Teal said...

sydney great reference .If you want to find grace look to a man who transcended the hell he lived.Loved "One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch".

edutcher said...

creeley23 said...

Yes, within its context, the Code is logical. And it is certainly suicidal.

Yet Coates fails to notice that the Code describes the entire black subculture, not just young males or older men who managed to escape to something like a more normal American life.

Blacks vote as a tribe and their demand for respect is paramount and unslakeable as trying to satisfy gang-bangers. They have little concern for the larger entity that is America. They have been disrespected and that's all that matters.

And it is suicidal. The policies blacks vote for -- the spending, entitlements, cronyism, and immigration reform -- ultimately hurt blacks worse than any other group.

I don't see how we get out of this.


Easy, if the census is right, blacks are aborting and murdering themselves out of existence, just as Margaret Sanger wanted.

Paul said...

Welfare has destroyed the Black people in America. The system as forced them to accept being on the dole for so many years, so many generations, that they don't even see how broken they have become. Broken homes, absent fathers, no guidance to the children while growing up.

Now days it's not husband and wife but 'baby's momma' or 'baby's daddy'. And the kids end up in the streets learning this 'code of the ghetto' I guess.

How sad. I know LBJ and lots of liberals thought they were helping the blacks (and some just thought it was a good way to get re-elected) but it has hurt them far more than it helped them.

Many have no idea what it is to have pride in working. Pride in having a real family where all the children have the same father and mother who are there to help them as they grow up.

rcocean said...

Poor Black people. The Republicans and their "free market" are REALLY their TRUE Friends. If only they could see it!

Does anyone REALLY believe that?

Dante said...

Instead of free Welfare, tucker out welfare recipients by having them build a new set of pyramids.

Or even better, have them pick the crops.

But requiring something is better than giving money to idle hands for nothing in return.

rcocean said...

Y'know that democrat whose given you food stamps, welfare, workfare, affirmative action?

He's REALLY your Enemy.

LoL - Republicans are such good comedians.

creeley23 said...

Easy, if the census is right, blacks are aborting and murdering themselves out of existence, just as Margaret Sanger wanted.

edutcher: Your comment is inaccurate as it is distasteful. The US black population has been rising in numbers and percentage since 1930.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American

creeley23 said...

Y'know that democrat whose given you food stamps, welfare, workfare, affirmative action?

He's REALLY your Enemy.

rcocean: Care to explain the rapid descent of American blacks into violent, fatherless dysfunction since the Democrat programs for food stamps, welfare etc.?

kcom said...

He's already explained it. With these two words:

given you

Big Mike said...

My family saw "the code" up close and personal when the county I lived in redrew school district boundaries and we became a majority minority elementary school. How do kids that young get the notion that every little thing has to be settled with violence?

But I know why the schools can teach it out of them -- the NAACP successfully sued the county because black kids were getting punished at a vastly higher rate than white kids. I lost a lot of respect for the NAACP and I lost even more for liberal politicians when they caved in. So black children (of both genders) discovered that they could get away with more and more, while white kids could scarcely move without being threatened with detention. Guess how that turned out?

rcocean said...

"Care to explain the rapid descent of American blacks into violent, fatherless dysfunction since the Democrat programs for food stamps, welfare etc.?"

Care to explain how not giving them food stamps, welfare, etc. would've prevented it?

Gahrie said...

Does anyone REALLY believe that?

Well, our free market has produced an economy so strong, that even our Black underclass has a higher standard of living than the Black Middle class anywhere else in the world.

Gahrie said...

Care to explain how not giving them food stamps, welfare, etc. would've prevented it?

By not causing the destruction of Black families and communities?

Synova said...

The Code is logical... and it's not a "black" thing.

The problem isn't with The Code.

The problem is that The Code for men (not just black men) gives the option of "sheepdog". And if the option of "sheepdog" is taken out of the Code there is only "wolf" or "sheep" left. In major urban areas where the law abiding are systematically disarmed, there isn't a pattern for "sheepdog" for young men. Though undoubtedly some find it anyway if they can get out, but Coates and his buddies, because they're all trying to fit into a uber liberal pattern (and you know they are) have left "wolf" behind and are trying to be "sheep" because their identity and their new "tribe" vilifies and demonizes the option of "sheepdog."

That's a choice he made when he chose his politics.

So boo-hoo.

phx said...

If you want to find grace look to a man who transcended the hell he lived.Loved "One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch".

Russians seem to be great at transcending hell. Solzhenitsyn changed my life.

JAL said...

Ben Carson grew up in Detroit. He had a single mom.

Clarence Thomas ...

But hey -- they don't count.

They are not really black males.

Synova said...

JAL, you know very well that humans don't work like that. It's a matter of probability and percentages. A single mother doesn't guarantee that a young man falls in with the wrong friends and learns the wrong values, it just makes it more likely. It doesn't guarantee that children will drop out of school, it just makes it more likely. It doesn't guarantee that daughters will get pregnant early and have trouble with relationships, but it makes it more likely.

Single mothers often seek out good male role models for their children among friends or other relatives because they know it's important. But it doesn't *guarantee* anything.

betamax3000 said...

Vanilla Ice already addressed this in "Say Goodbye"

Loyalty before you dishonor your honor,
I tried to tell him but he wouldn't listen,
And now he's coming up missing,
Nothing but mother f*cking friction, He's faced with,
I want to just ahhhhh, Give this matrix a face lift,
Basically he's hating me, For making G's,
Saying he's the one that got me hot,
Stabbed me in the back to get my spot,
I want his head on the chopping block,
There in the parking lot, Yeah, about to spark a shot, Blaugh Blaugh,
Homie you broke The Code.

CEO-MMP said...

Last time Ann was all excited by Ta-ta Coates was when she was using him for cover in her assault on Dr. Carson.

David said...

Four guys go out. They are in their late thirties and know that they have been domesticated. They all think they are hot shit. A couple of drunk guys hassle them. The four guys all want to pound on them (or think they do) but they don't. Then they sober up a little and wonder why they did not beat up a couple of drunk punks. Because they are black, they find great sociological import.

Actually, all they have done is refrain from stupidity. That's something of an accomplishment because guys who think they are hot shit and are out drinking can be pretty stupid.

Mr. Coates, you were just a bunch of guys who dodged a small bullet. You will scoff at the metaphor because of course there are quite a few black men who have not dodged real bullets. Or fired them. But the fact is that these unfortunate young men are punks. The black people around them who allow "respect and reputation" to be functions of capacity for violence are punks. The liberals who make excuses for the community are punks. The code excuses all kinds of corruption, political, financial, criminal, marital. The culture stinks and the code stinks.

And it stinks that an intelligent and seemingly decent man who transcended this stinking, self imposed culture treats it with something that sniffs of nostalgia, not hatred and contempt.

Blacks have had a hard time of it, to he sure. But so have lots of people and lots of groups. You aren't that special, Mr. Coates. You are just another enabler of a gigantic outrage.

betamax3000 said...

Says it all, really.

creeley23 said...

Yes, well put, David.

Synova said...

Coats says this: "Contributing to those fantasies was a simple maxim inherited from childhood: “Thou shalt never be found a punk.”

(...) Respect and reputation are everything there. These values are often denigrated by people who have never been punched in the face. But when you live around violence there is no opting out.
"

But see... he views it as binary. There is no place for violence for their new "invented" identities. He's still thinking in terms of being either predator or prey... but they don't get to be predators anymore. You know they're pro-gun control. You know they tout the party line about the macho posturing of good old boys who think they have a need to protect their communities and prepare to oppose government tyranny.

So what are they supposed to feel after a confrontation when they've got no conceptual option for being something other than predators yet able to have their reputation and respect still intact?

Synova said...

"Four guys go out. They are in their late thirties and know that they have been domesticated."

That, see?

No one wants to be domesticated.

Synova said...

If a person studies martial arts you learn the concepts of being strong and dangerous and capable... not so you can prove you can beat up a couple of drunk guys being stupid, but so you don't care if a couple of drunk guys are being stupid because none of it is on you.

Synova said...

It's great to feel dangerous. Girls like feeling dangerous, too.

JAL said...

Synova -

My point was that some black males who grow up in dicey and disadvantaged places seem to develop a different view and become not what they self "invent" but mature adults.

But they don't count.

Andy Freeman said...

> Maybe its generational but there is precious little fist fighting in the south these days and lots of gun fire.

Not according to the murder stats, which have been declining in the south for a couple of decades. (Fewer murders and more people is a decline.)

Either that, or guns have become a lot less lethal.

Synova said...

"My point was that some black males who grow up in dicey and disadvantaged places seem to develop a different view and become not what they self "invent" but mature adults.

But they don't count.
"

I suppose I missed your point then. Certainly I agree that the people you listed don't make Coates list of men who "count." He particularly despises Carson.

Maybe it's because at some level he realizes that his present predicament has to do with his politics and resents what he gave up.

Big Mike said...

Care to explain how not giving them food stamps, welfare, etc. would've prevented it?

Oh, I don't know. Maybe fewer women would have had children out of wedlock because without a working husband they'd starve? And perhaps a working husband would have provided a better role model.

Just a simple gedanken experiment.

El Pollo Real said...

rcocean wrote: Care to explain how not giving them food stamps, welfare, etc. would've prevented it?

I wanted to voice Jimmy Stewart in "Shenandoah" in a chirbit to answer rcocean's question because I image he's a Civil War re-enacter. But I found a short YouTube clip from the movie which does it better: link

The answer is that these days, the state is going around with a "spare tit." Lots of them.

Patrick said...

I have found that if you are looking for thoughtful, insightful commentary on race, you should read someone other than Mr. Coates.

EMD said...

Hey- keep killing one another until you are politically irrelevant!

Also, kudos for getting a jump on things by taking care of business in utero rather than on the streets.


William said...

He wants it both ways. He claims to have a barely controllable substrata of violence and danger. He claims that it's wrong for the cops to treat him as violent and dangerous.

Harold said...

One of the books I absolutely despised as required reading was "Lord of the Flies". It is, however, the only required reading that actually had useful lessons.

And if you can stomach Coates' drivel, you realize that while he may not have grown up on an island, he certainly grew up in a "Lord of the Flies" community, self-isolated from the civilization around him.

And cultural differences across America are growing, because there is so much culture available. I read somewhere that none of the top 10 television shows watched by blacks are watched by any measurable number of whites. And a very small percentage of blacks watch the top 10 television shows among whites. (I don't watch any TV- would need to set up an antenna or get satellite..) The big three networks, together, get less then 30% of the national viwing audience during primetime. In the 1960's, over half the TV watchers in the nation would have seen last night's "I Love Lucy". Present day culture is Balkanized.
If distinct ethnic groups are all warching their own shows, what do they have to talk about? Really, that is a good question.

A lot can be written about why black America is so different from white America. But, when it comes right down to it, the simplest explanation is the decoupling of child rearing from marriage.

rcocean said...

"I wanted to voice Jimmy Stewart in "Shenandoah" in a chirbit to answer rcocean's question because I image he's a Civil War re-enacter. But I found a short YouTube clip from the movie which does it better: link"

Thanks for the link. Funny how some farmer who saw the idiocy of the civil war is turned into some Ayn Randian "free marketer". Jimmy of course owed an obligation to either the state of Virginia or the USA. Had some foreign power decided to invade & take HIS sons and take HIS land he wouldn't pulled his absurd "When did the state raise my kids?" shtick. Instead he'd be cryin' for mama.

No man is an island. I'm always amazed at how many dumb-ass white boys think they're "citizens of the world" who just happen to live in the USA. Yep, it's all about you boy-o, and how you don't owe nothing to nobody. We're just random individuals - competing. The East Asians and lots of others are laughing at you.

Steve Koch said...

Coates' point is obvious. If you are in the ghetto, you have to play by ghetto rules. If you are weak, you will be exploited. The most practical solution for an individual in that situation is to move to somewhere less dysfunctional.

A much more interesting topic would be to explain why the ghetto is such a jungle and how to fix it. The single biggest reason for black dysfunction is the destruction of the black family, started by the great society of LBJ and continued by lefty policies ever since.

To fix black dysfunction, you have to fix the black family, which will mostly not happen without a solid father.

IIRC, whites and hispanics are following in the same downward spiral wrt the family (i.e. more and more families with children but no fathers).

William said...

It was a different era, but I grew up in a housing project that was mostly black and had lots of dangerous characters around. I found that if you didn't make eye contact and stayed out of the pecking order, you were mostly left alone. I think the kids with half a brain realized that using violence as a bargaining tactic was a loser's game. Lots of kids survive and even prosper by using deference, humor, and prudent weaselling to get out of confrontations. This was true of me, and probably true of TNC. It's a scratch shot from every angle, but you stay in the game longer if you don't try to break the pool cue over your opponent's head.

Steve Koch said...

Side Note:
Take a look at rcocean's blog, it is interesting and thoughtful.

El Pollo Real said...

Jimmy of course owed an obligation to either the state of Virginia or the USA. Had some foreign power decided to invade & take HIS sons and take HIS land he wouldn't pulled his absurd "When did the state raise my kids?" shtick. Instead he'd be cryin' for mama.

You should rewatch the movie because that's exactly what the Stewart character does except for your absurd "cryin' for mama part." He stood up like a father and man.

I gather this Coates fellow tries to do much the same but he gets blinded by his own residual racism.

Steve Koch said...

"It's a scratch shot from every angle, but you stay in the game longer if you don't try to break the pool cue over your opponent's head."

Beautiful writing.

Hyphenated American said...

I've read this piece with a lot of amusement. The author clearly not terribly educated or "multicultural" if you want. This "street code" is reality in any society of thugs. Read for example Dovlatov, who was drafted into the soviet army, and spent 2 years as a prison guard in the camps for common criminals - same exact thing, same behavior. A somewhat softer rules existed on the Moscow streets when I grew up, but it was surely the same on the streets of towns and cities near big prison camps.
And let's not forget that similar attitudes exist today in the Russian army.

All in all, the message from the article was rather pathetic, look at how tough I am, and yet, I am civilized and I can control myself, and how unique we are. Fr all intents and purposes, the Russians were forced to live in a large concentration camp called ussr, while american blacks chose to live in government subsidized shitholes. I feel no sympathy.

phx said...

It was a different era, but I grew up in a housing project that was mostly black and had lots of dangerous characters around. I found that if you didn't make eye contact and stayed out of the pecking order, you were mostly left alone. I think the kids with half a brain realized that using violence as a bargaining tactic was a loser's game. Lots of kids survive and even prosper by using deference, humor, and prudent weaselling to get out of confrontations. This was true of me, and probably true of TNC. It's a scratch shot from every angle, but you stay in the game longer if you don't try to break the pool cue over your opponent's head.

That's astute.

El Pollo Real said...

I happen to have open a book from 1968 called "Collier's Yearbook Covering The Year 1967." It was published as a supplement to the now defunct encyclopedia. There are many interesting essays in it but two stand out: The first is called "Appalachia" and describes the people, history, and circumstances of rural whites in Eastern Kentucky. Just today, the NYT ran that hit piece on the girl getting shot, trying to smear the exact same people who thoughtful people were able to write about without prejudice in 1968.

The second article is called "The Black Temper" and explores the root causes of black urban poverty and violence which had plagued American cities at the time (1968).

Today's Althouse reading, coupled with "Mad Men"'s current dwelling on 1968 got me to realize how little has changed.

Hyphenated American said...

I think a great resource to analyze the black culture is "black rednecks and white liberals" by Thomas sowell. Essentially he contends that the culture of American blacks is pretty much the culture of European rednecks, which is undeniably true as anyone from European would note.

kcom said...

"He wants it both ways. He claims to have a barely controllable substrata of violence and danger. He claims that it's wrong for the cops to treat him as violent and dangerous."

You noticed that, too.

gerry said...

The codes changed when people put down fists and picked up guns. Maybe its generational but there is precious little fist fighting in the south these days and lots of gun fire.

What? The south of Chicago? Is that what you meant?

Robert Cook said...

"Coates' point is obvious. If you are in the ghetto, you have to play by ghetto rules. If you are weak, you will be exploited."

Yes. And this is why those who insist on perceiving this as a "black problem" miss the point entirely. One will find this "code" (sic) in most any impoverished, crowded, urban community, where privation and want are rampant and there are an surfeit of young men willing to prey on others to get what they want. This "code," so-called, might also be called "the law of the jungle," or "dog eat dog." Where available resources are meager or difficult to come by, and competition for those resources is plentiful, the stronger will dominate the weaker. Those perceived as dangerous, or who have proven ready and able to defend themselves or best those who might prey on them, have created for themselves, as the author states, a sort of "shield." Those who cannot ably defend themselves will continue to be prey. There is absolutely nothing inscrutable or illogical (or "ethnic") about such behavior.

"The most practical solution for an individual in that situation is to move to somewhere less dysfunctional."

The "most practical solution" to a problem may be the one least available to the individual with the problem. It should be obvious that just "mov(ing) somewhere less dysfunctional" may require resources out of reach to those who would choose this solution; after all, this is why they're stuck where they are to begin with.

Steve Koch said...

"It should be obvious that just "mov(ing) somewhere less dysfunctional" may require resources out of reach to those who would choose this solution; after all, this is why they're stuck where they are to begin with."

What resources are you talking about? I don't that this is always true or even usually true. It is cheaper and safer to live way outside the city than in the city. There are more jobs in the city but if welfare is how you pay the bills, you are free to move where it is cheapest to live.

Steve Koch said...

should have written:
I don't think that this is always true

The missing word was think.

Martinkh said...

The quote in the header is a logical one. And also explains why section 8 vouchers putting these people in the middle of white-suburban areas is a recipe for disaster and black-on-white crime. It is also why we cannot keep importing people from violent, primitive 3rd world cultures, particularly Islamic ones. And if we do, we have to have hard-core cultural assimilation efforts, not this liberal diversity crap that prevents these people from learning to act like the civilized people that they are now living amongst.

Robert Cook said...

"What resources are you talking about?"

M-O-N-E-Y!

People living in violent, rundown neighborhoods do not stay because this is their idea of the good life, but because they generally do not have the financial means to go somewhere else.

Robert Cook said...

"It is cheaper and safer to live way outside the city than in the city."

How do you know? Is this true everywhere? Is it possibly true in some areas but not others? Assuming it's true in a particular instance, how much money do you think it requires for someone to pack up their belongings and have them moved to that "cheaper and safer place way outside the city?" How much money will they have to put up front for deposits and so forth? How do you know they will pass the credit check that will allow them to rent in the new area? What if they do not have an automobile and cannot afford one? One benefit to those of modest and meager means who live in the city is that they can usually get around without having to invest in the huge expense of a motor vehicle. This benefit is lost in a neighborhood "way outside the city," even if the new neighborhood is "cheaper and safer."

I think you're taking much for granted that those who live in blighted neighborhoods cannot.

Aridog said...

Damnit! I just hate it when I agree with Robert Cook...and twice in 24 hours is horrifying. :-))

Mr Cook is correct about money as a resource for inner city families moving on out or up. Detroit is a prime example....few jobs and extreme poverty among those who are left...the better off, both black, white and brown, have departed for suburbia long ago.

Today my daughter is in the gentrification group trying to set down roots in the city core. It is expensive and not an option for most folks here.

A truth that is often ignored is that even here is Deeetroit, everyone's favorite wasteland, there are still families, intact even with fathers in the home, who are struggling to make it, to move on up.

I see the wisps of families as I drive across Warren Avenue to Grand River almost every day. Kids waiting for school buses, mom's and dad's escorting some to school, in what looks like a war zone...because it has been a war zone.

They come out of the shadows of the side streets to make connections along Warren Avenue's barren and wrecked curb sides. Along this stretch there are no street lights working so no one is out much at night on the side streets. It is like the zone disappears until morning. Only light around is down the road a bit at "Vickie's BBQ" ....among the best places to go if you hunger for BBQ....but go in daylight. These are real people, not jive ass gangsters...real people with children they care for.

You can only fail to see these family people if you fail to look. They are flickers of hope. Last week on my way to an appointment I blocked two lanes of traffic on Warren at McGraw to allow a young man push a stroller with a baby in in it, and lead another child along by the hand as he crossed the street. I flipped off the horn honkers who ceased when they saw what I saw....a young MAN caring for children in the city from hell.

There is hope and there are people who participate in improving the city...such as "Covenant Community Care" ...a community health center providing medical, dental and behavioral health care to uninsured in metro Detroit, children in particular. It has support from various corporate and philanthropic organizations, but it is grass roots at it's core. Judi and I attended a talk by Dr Ben Carson, in support of fund raising for the C3 group at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, a relatively new and lovely edifice on West Grand Blvd in "Mid-Town". A met and greet with Dr Carson was included, but we passed because there were 1998 others anxious to meet him. Maybe later...what he had to say is important, not whether he momentarily knows my name.

So...Mr Coates...you may kiss my ass. Your sorry excuse for disliking Carson because you think he's presented as a "credit to your race" is bullshit. No ... Dr Carson is a credit to the humanity that we all share. And you didn't make it on the street, either, dude, you moved on up and out. Coates a college drop out, and token extraordinary, writes disparagingly of Doctor Carson. How odd.

Robert Cook said...

Twice?! Whoa...have I lost my bearings?

Aridog said...

Robert Cook ... I know, scary innit?


gutless said...

Blacks and gays. Boring.

gutless said...

Blacks and gays. Boring.

virgil xenophon said...

No one here has yet mentioned the phrase "deferred gratification." The Harvard professor Edward Banfield who wrote "The Un-Heavenly City" (and was forced out of Harvard because of his conclusions and who updated his findings years later with : "The UnHeavenly City Revisited") concluded that what separated the "underclass" from the rest of us was their inability to defer gratification and live only in the hear & now. And how true that is. (Personal story: I was once tossed in Louisville's Central lock-up in the way-back for a BS charge which was eventually dismissed. While there I conversed with a young black who was in for various drug charges who seemingly had it all--obvious native intelligence, keen sense of humor, good-looks, initiative, etc. I aid to him: "Man, if you just used the same energy in a real job as you devote to using, dealing and boosting, you might start out at the bottom, but it wouldn't be long before you would own the place." His reply? "I can't wait for Friday, man." Meaning: It's Tuesday and I need money for drugs now!)

Professor Banfield was dead on..

Nathan Alexander said...

phx said: " Solzhenitsyn changed my life. "

Did he change your life, or merely change your perception of your life, which caused you to change your life in reaction to your new perception?

paul a'barge said...

I followed the link and read the entire article.

This, folks, is the language of slavery. Straight up.

This man is a slave in a free country, a country where slavery is illegal.