Race in the Hood: Conflict and Violence Among Urban Youth

Howard Pinderhughes, Author
Howard Pinderhughes, Author University of Minnesota Press $44.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8166-2918-3
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-0-8166-2919-0
Open Ebook - 214 pages - 978-0-8166-8795-4
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New York City, the setting for this study of youth violence, suffered a series of high-profile gang attacks between 1988 and 1991. The Bensonhurst murder of a young African American man by white youths, and the assault of a white female jogger in Central Park by a group of African American and Latino young men became nationally known. Pinderhughes, who teaches social and behavioral sciences at the UC-San Francisco, chose this tense period to study young people between ages 14 and 21 in four New York neighborhoods. The author spent time in each locale, but unlike previous participant-observation classics like Street Corner Society, by William Whyte, and Tally's Corner, by Elliott Koebow, Pinderhughes coaxed his subjects to fill out questionnaires and participate in focus groups. As an African American, his viewpoint is a valuable complement to previous gang studies by white researchers. Even the white youth of Bensonhurst seemed to respond well to his questions; Pinderhughes writes, ""I began to continually ask myself, Why are they telling me this stuff?"" Their usual answer: ""You seem pretty cool."" The prose doesn't dazzle; this is a hard-working, standard sociological study. He tells you what he did, why he did it, and what he thinks it means. Those who see gang attacks as aberrations of crazed fanatics will find no comfort in Pinderhughes conclusion: ""The reality of contemporary violence is that it is ordinary young people under the age of twenty who are perpetrating the overwhelming majority of racially motivated crimes."" (Sept.)
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