I. Which theories best describe crime within the community?
The preponderance of crimes in Groveland can be explained using the theories of social disorganization, strain theory, social control theory, and even labeling theory. Social disorganization theory, is emphasized the most throughout the narrative in Black Picket Fences. As described above, the moral fabric of law-abiding citizens and Groveland gangsters alike, contribute to crime being kept a minimum. Furthermore, various efforts of social control on the parts of both parties contribute to crime or lack thereof. In example, by Black Mobsters keeping drug activity in Groveland at a minimum, they are securing their profits on the one hand and deterring additional crime on the other (Pattillo 2013). The law-abiding citizen have also tried to make their own shows of social control in order to cut down on crime within the community, to some avail. Pattillo (2013) notes the following:
The neighborhood organizers have myriad attachments to neighborhood troublemakers. These links help in influencing behavior, but can hinder involving public agents of social control. Simultaneously, the social position of gang members involved in selling drugs mirrors the occupational status of other neighborhood residents. With “reminders” by legitimate community organizations, they also operate under similar rules of contact with similar goals. (p. 89)
A recurring theme throughout the book is the confinement of African Americans to a lower socioeconomic status, which is where strain theory comes into play. Pattillo (2013) discusses a young mother named Neisha, and the drug money that has come to bridge the gaps in her family’s income: "For the Morris family, drug money is one of the safety ne...
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...d by Pattillo, insofar that impoverished communities of often within several steps of middle-class and wealthier communities. Educational opportunities for youth in New Orleans are very much segregated, with New Orleans having the highest percentage of its youth enrolled in private schools. Most of New Orleans’s youth are enrolled in public schools and the charter school system puts children across economic backgrounds into contact with one another. New Orleans is failing as a society in terms of education in addition to our high crime rate. In addition to having theoretically disorganized, New Orleans also deals with systemic and structural disorganization. There is absolutely a place for the replication of Pattillo’s study in New Orleans, to inform solutions to improve the welfare of citizens, and prospects of growth for marginalized black citizens of New Orleans.
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