Code of the Street

  • by Elijah Anderson
  • Narrated by Vince Bailey
  • 15 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Inner-city black America is often stereotyped as a place of random violence; in fact, violence in the inner city is regulated through an informal but well-known code of the street. How you dress, talk, and behave can have life-or-death consequences, with young people particularly at risk.
The most powerful force counteracting this code and its reign of terror is the strong, loving, decent family, and we meet many heroic figures in the course of this narrative. Unfortunately, the culture of the street thrives and often defeats decency because it controls public spaces, so that individuals with higher, better aspirations are often entangled in the code and its self-destructive behaviors.
Writing in the tradition of Jane Jacobs and William Julius Wilson, the author delineates the true workings of city streets. His most interesting characters are not the bullies and dealers, but the decent folks, young and old, who through entrepreneurship and creative self-help strategies are forging a viable alternative, an escape from the code of the street.
Winner of the Komarovsky Book Award, this incisive book examines the code as a response to the lack of jobs that pay a living wage, to the stigma of race, to rampant drug use, to alienation and lack of hope. An individual's safety and sense of worth are determined by the respect he commands in public - a deference frequently based on an implied threat of violence. Unfortunately, even those with higher aspirations can often become entangled in the code's self-destructive behaviors.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Very detailed ethnography of the marginalized black population in Philly with potential solutions to remedy the issues the community faces.
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- Shant J

a bit truthful but unnecessary

there was sum humor but still not sure y author wrote it or pe4son who shared it with me did so. def would nvr b attracted to it on my own& almost just stop lostening several times... reader has done other audiobooks ive listened to, this by far is his best read.

some parts of book completely took new story line without notice at points where it seemed to become interesting. oneexample is: during the part where Dad was telling story of getting revenge on gang for killing his son.
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- rg

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-14-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios