Book Review: Code of the Streets by Elijah Anderson
Elijah Anderson, in the Code of the Streets, develops a new perspective of interacting with individuals in modern society. Given the different points of view held by people regarding social interactions, individual sections of the public subscribe to violence. In contrast, others believe that peace is the only viable solution that can be used to resolve personal differences. However, in many informal settlements, individuals are supposed to subscribe to an unwritten set of rules that define their perspectives towards life. When understanding the values that influence the attitude of people towards topical issues, the aspect of personality features prominently because of its impact on how individuals interact with their peers in society today. Therefore, understanding Anderson’s ethnological perspectives in the community allow people to review their approach towards different situations that affect the behavior of individuals and their views in life.
A Realistic Approach
When Anderson takes his reader through an informal settlement in a black community residential area, he captures the details of the environment, allowing individuals to create a mental picture of the exact situation on the ground. Notably, these adverse outcomes affect the way individuals visualize the activities taking place in the streets affect the focus on specific issues lowering the quality of life. Different community settlements view the black community residence as a bubble that does not exist. However, connecting with Anderson’s views on page 107 presents a different perspective about the nature of challenges affecting individuals who reside in such settlements (Anderson 107). According to the transtheoretical theory, individual behavior is influenced by external factors that compel one to adapt to issues taking place in their surroundings. However, at first, a person will contemplate engaging in criminal activities before making a decision. If he or she chooses to embrace the way of life, they are exposed to a realistic environment that prepares them to become hardcore criminals. The theory maps out the decision-making process of individuals and how they connect to various aspects affecting their interaction with other people.
The Modern Ghetto
According to Anderson, the modern ghetto appears to be the cause of problems affecting growth and development in the world today. While the other side of contemporary society seems to be making progress regarding issues affecting individuals, the ghetto contains a series of problems that are believed to be unfathomable in well-off communities. On page 108, Anderson visualizes the situation of the modern ghetto as addressed by Du Bois in his book, The Philadelphia Negro. According to the social cognitive theory, Bandura defines the cause of problems affecting individuals in their immediate environment. In the ghetto, crime is not surprising as it would in developed communities. While people tend to get used to the high levels of corruption, the rest of the world castigates the inability of the people to embrace decency without knowing the impact of the widespread problems on their perspectives towards life. Besides, the Health Belief Model captures the state of healthcare in the ghetto, which defines the attitude embraced by individuals in their surroundings. The perceived susceptibility and perceived severity captured by Anderson in his visual representation of the modern ghetto paints a unique picture that is misunderstood by the rest of the world.
Survival for the Fittest
In many black community settlements, the drug trade is viewed as an opportunity to overcome the widespread poverty in the region. Living in an environment that is surrounded by various problems affecting one’s existence creates an exciting scenario out of Anderson’s ethnological focus on the black community. By monitoring the growth and development process, individuals are exposed to a wide range of unique aspects that interfere with their focus on life. On many occasions, engaging in the drug business is not an option, but the only solution that can provide food to different families. In this regard, the social-ecological model can be used to define the nature of individuals and their approaches towards life that interfere with various aspects of life. The theory can help the reader understand how personal behavior is affected by external factors emerging from the social environment. Anderson, on page 114, highlights how the drug business thrives in black community settlements and its impact on the perspectives of young people towards life. Even though parents advise their children about getting into illegal activity, the choice of friends one maintains and their aspects in life determines their ability to accomplish their desired objectives in the learning environment.
Understanding Anderson’s ethnological perspectives in society allow people to review their approach towards different situations that affect the behavior of individuals and their views in life. The Code of the Street is an eye-opener for many people because of their shallow perspectives in life. By understanding the approaches taken by individuals to resolve their differences in life, it becomes easier to overcome the challenges affecting the strategies that can be used to enhance the quality of life. Anderson’s viewpoints serve as a conversation starter in many discourses involving policymakers and their role in elevating community settlements in the U.S. and beyond. By referring to different outcomes that take place in the world today, there is a need to review the measures that can be introduced to address the economic differences around the globe.
Anderson, Elijah. Code of the Street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. WW Norton & Company, 2000, pp.1-343.