In Search Of Respect By Philippe Bourgois

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In the book, In Search of Respect, Philippe Bourgois (1995) explores various ways in which the Puerto Rican people living in East Harlem are being socially marginalised. Bourgois moved to East Harlem in 1985 as a newlywed wife and his young baby in order to live with these people and tell their stories. East Harlem is situated in New York City in the USA. The title of the book is well suited as it captures the main aspect of the problems faced by the drug dealers. It shows how they are torn between finding legal occupations in New York that might be low paying jobs but also being looked down on by the upper class people or doing illegal crack dealing but gaining respect by the people of East Harlem as well as earning a large amount of fast…show more content…
He plays the main character in this book too. Primo managers the local crack house and works for Ray. He helped Bourgois many times during his stay including protecting him and teaching him the street knowledge he needed to know in order to survive. Primo confided in Bourgois with many details especially his fear of Ray and warned him of what Ray was capable of (Bourgois, 1995:23-24). In chapter four it is made clear that Primo too had dreams of working in a legal profession. He had aspirations of working in Ray’s legal stores once they opened but that did not happen. At a young age, Primo worked in factories and had dropped out of junior school to do so. He enjoyed it and at that time the money seemed okay but working at a factory store was an unreliable occupation especially since the City was undergoing Industrialisation. The factory fired almost half of their employees including Primo when the factory was being replaced by service industries which would mean more money into the…show more content…
Caesar had much the same life as Primo who started working at a young age and left school. He got a job through his family connections working in a factory too. He had the choice at a young age of either going to school or having to earn money (Bourgois, 1995:139). As a poor teenage boy, earning money sounded good at that time. It is evident that this was looked highly upon at that time when Willie, another member of Ray’s crew, spoke about how he was jealous of Caesar who earned money and dressed fancy while he had to finish school. Caesar also had difficulty in the service sector having to take orders from white females in high positions. One case he spoke of was when he worked for Sudler & Hennessey. He disliked this job mainly because he had to take orders from a female and act as her “wimp” (Bourgois, 1995:146). He would have to run errands for her and he felt above this kind of job. Another incident Caesar had faced was with regards to his Christmas bonus check. This was when his supervisor found out that he got paid a similar amount as his bonus. The supervisor clearly felt that Caesar did not deserve as much as he had (Bourgois, 1995:148). For this job it was also necessary to dress in a certain way and this was not easy for him as he did not have smart clothes. He could not afford these clothes because at that time he smoked crack too. Caesar then had to spend his first pay check on

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