One might wonder wonder what is the experience like for a drug dealer on a college campus ? What type of incentives encourage college students to want to jeopardize their future in order to sell drug? How does one weigh out his or her chances of being caught? How are law enforcement responding to college students trafficking drugs into campus. In this paper, 1 will discuss two different cultures one being on campus and the other in the streets. When I say the the streets I’m referring to a high crime area in the United States. However, the audience will see how race and privilege correlates with one another.
Also, this paper will present evidence to readers about how to identify characteristics of each cultures. Readers will be able to see the effect drugs have on a college campus and the streets. There are two books this paper will focus which are, “In search of Respect by Phillippe Bourgois,” and “Dorm Room Dealers by A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold. ” In essence this paper will compare the similarities and differences between the two different books. However, in the novel In search of Respect by Phillippe Bourgouis, the book explains a lot about Harlem in New York City.
Depicting different aspects of why East Harlem’s underground economy really exist and demonstrates how residents tend to survive. However, East Harlem is an impoverished community where crime rates and unemployment are substantially high. This book was written based on Bourgeois experiences throughout his life and his knowledge about street culture. On the other hand, Dorm Room Dealers are the opposite because they have less to worry about when it comes to law enforcement. These dealers aren’t your typical bad guys who just wants to become notorious.
The book explains why race is a factor when it comes to understanding why law enforcement isn’t as tough on drugs, on a college campus oppose to an area such as Harlem, New York. One may wonder how does one’s peace affect the idea that the police abused their discretionary power. Simply, by stereotyping who are criminals and what constitutes them to be one. First, we will focus on all aspects of street culture that was presented in In Search of Respect, by Phillippe Bourgouis. Bourgouis examined the street’s underground economy by observing those who earn their income by illegitimate means.
The author focuses on the East Harlem which is an area the reminds me of the hood. Which is a neighborhood that I came from before coming to Indiana University. The hood is typically a high crime area filled with hungry population involving people willing to do anything to survive. The economy revolves around the drug game and in Bourgouis book it was the crack game. Also, he mentioned that he got to know thieves, drug dealers, addicts, and hustlers. Not to mention, that New York cost of living is particularly expensive and that causes a lot of residents to participate in the underground economy.
Ideally, because the money is usually is more than their day job and it helps them overcome poverty. Similar, to my neighbor people are living on the streets and wondering where their next meal is going to come from unfortunately. However, the people in East Harlem where either Latino Americans, Hispanics, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans. Oppose to where my hometown Gary, Indiana which majority of the population is typically black. Not to mention law enforcement patrol the streets to monitor street activity because their incentive to protect is high.
With all the illegal activity taking place they try to recruit more officers to be more of a present in the community. All through, East Harlem is a different area it still has some type of street culture that relates to Gary. Therefore, street culture can be a universal thing consisting of poverty and has it’s social issues. Which are high rates of homelessness, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and Aids. These global issues usually play a major part of destroying the community making it even more difficult to survive. Next, we will transition to the different aspects of the drug dealing culture on a college campus.
In Dorm Room Dealing, by A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold who interviewed middleclass whites who were “anti targets” in the war on drugs. These young adults were not your typical criminals and did not have to sell drugs at all to survive. Majority of these dealers parents were well off and could afford to keep them happy financially. However, since these kids where middle-class educated whites no one would expect any of them to participate in the drug trade. In the book the authors claim that these individuals often get overlooked in illegal markets (Mohamed and Fritsvold Page 1).
One may wonder if race and class give special privileges to a certain group of individuals when it comes to the drug market? | would argue yes because in Dorm Room Dealing, white individuals skin color allows them to go under the radar. Would this be the same for minorities if they were in the same environment with the same background? However, these dorm room dealers sell drugs more for entertainment reasons more than just to survive. However, they are still moving big amounts of Marijuana which is a problem in our country. Also, law enforcement aren’t really tough on drugs at a higher institution.
Simply, because most of the people their have a bright future. There are other factors that decreases one’s chances of getting caught. Since violence isn’t high and most of the people there are an exception. Why are those individuals an exception one may ask? Simply, because most students are white and come from good backgrounds. That should be enough to grant them privileges and assume that their chances of getting involved in criminal activity are little to none. In essence, the culture of college dealing and street culture has some similarities and differences.
Third, one must will be familiar with the similarities and differences each book presents about it’s culture. One may ask how does college dealing culture relates to the street culture? Well, although dorm room dealing is usually done on the campus it’s still illegal and dealers intentions are to make money. Whether it is to pay bills, support habits, or just simply too look nice each dealer have some of the same intentions. In Dorm Room Dealers, the authors explain how a college dealer blew profits on “pimped out” accessories on their cars,” and this is common on the streets (Mohamed and Fritsvold 5).
Also, In search of respect, Phillippe discusses how there are different networks in the underground economy and it is the same when dealing on campus. Simply, because there are two ways to get money the good and the bad. Which basically means there is a black market in both cultures and they networking with others to expand business. Why would they do that one might ask? Simply, because they want more money and it’s all about business at the end of the day. Although, white middle-class students are college students they are still jeopardizing their future to support their habits.
Which is the same for minorities who are engaging in illegal activities on the streets in East Harlem. Since, drugs are involved in both cases this pose some threat to the community because one can become an addict. However, there are drug abusers on campus and the streets. In essence, whether a dealer is on the streets or in college they still participate in drug trafficking. This proves that no matter where you are drugs can be present anywhere simply because there are a high demands. From an economic perspective wherever there is demand for something there will be supply.
Skin color or backgrounds does not define who is a criminal. Simply, because the ideal good samaritan is still able to participate in the illegal market if he or she chooses so. Both books prove that stereotypes cannot only be broken but they aren’t true. Also, expose the idea the different treatment of a certain group from another. Last but not least, there are some huge differences of the underground market on campus than the streets. One of them being a special privilege that exempts middle-class whites from being looked at as a criminal.
For several reasons but primarily for their skin color that helps them go under the radar when participating in illegal activity. However, minorities are discriminated against and usually do bad things to overcome. They are trying to overcome poverty and be able to survive the harsh realities of their neighborhood. In the search for respect, East Harlem residents were homelessness, poor, pregnant, or at high risk of becoming a victim. Whether it was a victim by becoming a drug addict, violence, or of diseases.
College kids simply are in a better environment that doesn’t involve a lot of these risk and the economy doesn’t involve around drug money. The college environment is safer and law enforcement doesn’t patrol the streets all day. Law enforcement can be viewed as more relaxed oppose to how their presence is in the streets. Also, high crime rates and poverty are problematic in the streets oppose to college. Streets residents are tired of everyday life struggles and the social issues that exist in the community. In contrast, middle-class students just want to support expensive habits.
All though, both groups like the idea of have spending power each group is doing it for different reasons. In conclusion, the two novels depicts reasons why illegal activity occurs in each environment. In essence, if there is a demand for illegal goods then there will always be a supply. Allowing the black market to exist because one’s interest to make money will grow. Regardless, if it is to overcome poverty or just to support expensive habits the money will serve a purpose. However, the chances of getting caught is a lot higher for individuals on campus than those off.