LIFE STYLES IN THE BLACK GHETTO by William--Ed. McCord

LIFE STYLES IN THE BLACK GHETTO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A report from the battlefield, based on 1200 interviews by Negroes with black citydwellers, plus first- and second-hand accounts of ""riots."" The authors' explicit purpose is to gauge the possibilities of channeling ""the masses' latent power"" into constructive political action. Their effort to describe ""the submerged population"" remains frequently superficial. Apart from the inherent limitations of a broad study, the categories seem awry. The ""cool hustler"" is briefly discussed as a sub-type of stoic. The female mainstays as well as the upwardly mobile are recognized as ""achievers,"" but the ordinary hard-working male breadwinner is platitudinously missing. Under the rubric ""rebel without a cause"" violent criminals, rioters and delinquents are inadequately differentiated. ""Activist"" is equated with ""integrationist,"" while ""revolutionary"" subsumes a multitude of reformers and extremists. The investigation of addicts, alcoholics and suicides is more substantive; and some of the questionnaire results are piquant (no generation gap was found with respect to militancy). The book succeeds in conveying a sense of the diversity of ghetto ""life-styles,"" but for their flavors one must go elsewhere; and its contribution as social science is limited.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1969
Publisher: Norton