Selling Crack In El Barrio Analysis

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In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, an ethnography by Philippe Bourgois examines a portion of the East Harlem neighborhood, known as “El Barrio” in Spanish, of Manhattan in New York City during the late 1980s to the early 1990s. More specifically, Bourgois focuses on and examines the daily lives of mainly second and third generation Puerto Rican drug dealers in “El Barrio” through participant observation. Throughout the ethnography, his reflections and conclusions of life in the neighborhood and the struggles of minority populations come through discussions with people who have or still use drugs and alcohol such as, Primo and Caesar. Phillipe Bourgois argues that the perpetually high rates of violence, crime, poverty, poor education…show more content…
On the other hand, it should be noted that this ethnography was written twenty to thirty years ago and that the environment in East Harlem has improved. However, during the course of many conversations recorded in the ethnography, Bourgois notes the sound of gunshots. For example, in a conversation between Primo, Benzie (another drug dealer), and Phillipe, Primo says, “…but that was because she was only talking to you through the phone. [gunshots] One day she asks…” (44). In another example in which Phillipe is talking to one of Caesar’s cousins, the cousin says, “I even remember seeing an Italian beat a guy to death. You know, like with bats. [gunshots] but it wasn’t with guns…maybe some zip guns. [more gunshots] Now it’s Uzis” (60). By expressing to the reader that even during normal conversations, there is gun violence and gang violence consistently occurring in El Barrio throughout all times of the day, one can only imagine a neighborhood riddled with hostility, violent behavior and crime. One may also use the several examples of Primo and Caesar describing graphic scenes of violence as evidence to support the previous

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