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The Code of the Streets Essay Sample

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The Code of the Streets Essay Sample

The code of the streets sets its settings in the inner city black communities, and describe the people in those communities-what type of situations they are under, and how that affects their lives by forming a particular way of thinking and behaving.

In the ghetto inner city, people with physical strength run the streets. In these streets, police are often not provided, and in fact are avoided by them. This causes an increase in violence and drug-use throughout the neighborhood.

A lot of times the book compares poor inner city black family to the standard middle to upper class families. The importance is many poor black families live under a dramatically different lifestyle compared to normal family. Among the most common issues is that black children do not receive a good parental care. Many black parents use violence to control their children, and that violence naturally embeds within their children’s lifestyle.

The parents even enforce their children to be violent by not losing to their peer because that is part of the code-to be strong. In these community, only the strong survive type of mentality prevails, and that mentality make people self-portray manhood that implies physicality and certain ruthlessness. In these black kids’ young minds, since imposing such traits is the only way to survive and gain respect, they fear less about going to jail. In fact, some of them even consider going to jail as proving their manhood and earning the respect from the hood. That way, nobody will attempt to threaten him. For such reasons, gunshots occur in the inner city.

In the end, the book talks about how these people also have competing consciousness. Many times, as they grow up, they think of backing down, walking away from violence, and start see a value in life. They too want a nonviolent setting in which to live and raise a family. But, they often struggle in the mainstream mainly because of the racism. Inability to get decent jobs and mainstream discrimination impede these black people to get out of the community, ultimately frustrating them and bringing them back to live under the code of the streets.


This was definitely my favorite reading assignment. Perhaps, it’s because I was also a kid in the year she published this. But the way the author portrays these issues with a clear sense of understanding, and by explaining them by cause and effect procedure, all together with her smooth writing style just really got me into the reading. Two decades have passed since she wrote the book, but I believe such communities still exist in United States. A lot of music I listen to portrays such lifestyle and their struggle to get out of that cycle. While reading this, I felt that struggle as well as the frustration that it’s beyond their ability to do much about it.

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