’t No Makin’ It Essay, Research Paper
The book Ain t No Makin It, by Jay Macleod discusses many social factors that can contribute to the reproduction of inequality. Drug use can often lead to other factors that reproduce inequality. Drugs can stop one from obtaining goals such as getting a good education and getting a good job. They also can inhibit people from getting out of poverty, because they can stop your life and make you solely concentrate on them. People stop caring about anything other than getting high because when one is high everything else starts to mean less and less. Drugs can stop you from making progress in your life. MacLeod discusses two groups, the Hallway Hangers and the Brothers. The Hallway Hangers are named such because they can always be found in a particular hallway in the project. They are mostly white, but there are a couple of exceptions. The Hallway Hangers believe that they will never get out of the projects so why should they try in life? The Brothers are a group of black kids that have an optimistic point of view on getting out of the projects and making a future for themselves. Derek of the brothers is quoted as saying “If you put your mind to it, if you want to make a future for yourself, there s no reason why you can t. It s a question of attitude.” These two groups have contrasting points of view, but since they come from a poor community, social stratification is going to keep them poor. If you don t have the funds to start with, in America it s hard to move into the upper classes. Money makes money. You need to have a good education to get anywhere in today s society. You need to get more than your high school degree. You need a college diploma. Drugs won t help you do that. They hinder your motivation to do much else than drugs themselves. It often becomes a downward spiral, where boredom or depression lead to drug use which lead to lack of motivation which again leads to drug use. Everything else gets put on hold. In the case of the Hallway Hangers, they would just stay in their hall and hang out to get drunk and high. There didn t seem to be any reason to go to school. They would just take things as they came. Eventually their lives become so depressed all they wanted to do was escape into their drug filled happiness and not worry about their future. They just let things happen. Drugs, for many of them were key factors in their individual decisions to quit school. This kept them from receiving an adequate education so that they could go to college and somehow get out of this poverty cycle. Drugs seem like a good escape from a poor situation. In general people who use drugs don t go and look for jobs. Often a convenient way of making money to survive is through the sales of drugs. The money in selling drugs is way too good. “Jinks: We all know how to make a fast buck on the street. Buy the pot, roll up joints, sell em for two bucks a joint. Pay thirty for a bag; get twenty-five bones out of a bag—there s fifty bucks for thirty bucks.” To them that seems simple enough. Why go out and get a job when you can take 30 dollars and come out with fifty dollars? It makes sense to them and seems to be a way to get out of debt. Drugs seem to be the way out of debt “An hourly wage of seven dollars, however, was peanuts compared to what Super began making in 1990 when he turned to crack capitalism Super reports that he could gross up to $3,000 during a good week of hard work.” This does seem like a good way out of debt, but it can be deceiving. There are always consequences when you are selling drugs. One could end up in jail and then their opportunities would be further limited for the rest of their life.Using drugs and dealing drugs don t necessarily change where you are in the opportunity structure. They tend to keep you from moving up in social class. They don t necessarily weight you down, unless you let them (there are crack heads in large business corporations making a ton of money). Drugs can help a person who thinks that they aren t going anywhere go no-where at all. The Hallway Hangers are a prime example. They were very pessimistic about what they were going to do in life, and drugs helped them stay that way. They weren t the direct factor to the fall of either the Brothers or the Hallway Hangers. The drugs were just a secondary factor to other factors (like education) that would eventually bring them down.
In the article “Substance Abuse Problems Among High-Risk Youth and Potential Interventions”, by Peter W. Greenwood, it was found that “Lower class youth and Blacks did have higher prevalence rates of serious delinquency” . They also found “Marijuana and polydrug use were both higher among urban residents.” There is more exposure to drugs in the inner city. This would provide support for the fact that the Hallway Hangers used drugs and the Brothers had contact with drugs. In the conclusion of the article Greenwood states “In the absence of self-reports from the youth themselves, high-risk youth are best identified by poor attendance and behavioral problems at school and any objective evidence of involvement in illegal drug use or sales, delinquency, or regular alcohol use. Urban youth are more likely to be at risk for substance use, whereas poor minority youth are more likely to be at risk for drug sales.” This is added support for the fact that both the Hallway Hangers and the Brothers, at one point in their lives, sold drugs to try to pull themselves out of poverty. In another article entitled “Does Drug and Alcohol use Lead to Failure to Graduate from High School?” Alfred S. Friedman states “The “Youth in Transition” study collected data on drug use of high school dropouts in 1970, and found that they used more serious illegal drugs about twice as frequently as those who graduated and used marijuana about one and one-half times as frequently.” This article explaines that drug use wasn t directly related to dropping out of high school, but was a secondary factor that would lead to them dropping out. This study said that there were more absentees and class skipping associated with the kids who frequently used drugs. This explain why the drugs would have helped lead the Hallway Hangers to drop out of school. “It may not come as a surprise to anyone to hear that a significant amount of drug use by adolescents interferes with academic and career progress.” The more drugs that an adolescent uses the higher the chance that the kid will not graduate high school. These two articles support the findings by Macleod with the Hallway Hangers and the Brothers. They were both in the projects of the city (inner city) and sold drugs. Most of the Hallway Hangers dropped out of high school and all of them used drugs.Drug use appears to be a secondary factor in contributing to the reproduction of class structure. It was found in the Greenwood article that it was a factor in helping kids drop out of school. Without a high school degree there is almost absolutely no way to better yourself in today s society. Drugs do not necessarily stop you from bettering yourself. They do contribute to factors that will stop you from bettering your social status. Education is a big factor in getting a good job to get out of city slums. Intelligence does not discriminate. There is no reason a person of a lower class can not excel in school. If one s family supports them and can gives them supplies needed to excel in school than there is no reason for them not to pull themselves out of poverty. Drugs play only a secondary factor in this. They can take away form one s ability to put forth their best effort in school. They can cost a lot of money, so the fact that a user has little money to begin with and uses what they have on drugs, will take away from money that could ve been spent on supplies that would help them in school. Taking drugs out of the situation would offer a better chance for the poor to get better grades in school, which would lead to a college education. After college one would hope that a person could get a job that would pay enough money to pull oneself out of that lower social class.
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