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El Barrio: A Street History - Chapter 2 Seminar
Transcript of El Barrio: A Street History - Chapter 2 Seminar
SELLING CRACK IN EL BARRIO SUMMARIES Intro to Chapter
(pg.48): Puerto Rico has been a “Free Associated Commonwealth” under America’s Control since 1952.
The term “Free Associated Commonwealth” meant that Puerto Rican residents were not allowed to vote.
Puerto Ricans were living off of food stamps and social insurance where it accounted for of Puerto Rico’s income "From Puerto Rican Jibaro to Hispanic Crack Dealer" (pg.49) Private Agro-export companies bought vast amounts of land to be occupied by sugar plantations forcing hundreds of jibaros to leave their plots to seek wage-labour on the sugar plantations.
"Jibaro" = Hillbillies
The term Jibaro has been constantly reinvented where it also refers to the ‘second generation U.S.-born inner-city residents’ or factory workers "From Puerto Rican Jibaro to Hispanic Crack Dealer" (pg.49) In summary, New York Puerto Ricans are the descendants of an 'uprooted' people throughout 'economic history'.
- In frequent change, their parents and grandparents went from
(1) "semi subsistence peasants on private hillside plots or local haciendas";
(2) to agricultural laborers on foreign-owned agro-export plantations;
(3) to factory workers in shantytowns;
(4) to sweatshop workers in 'ghetto tenements';
(5) to 'service sector employees' in housing projects;
(6) to 'underground economy entrepreneurs on the street'. "From Puerto Rican Jibaro to Hispanic Crack Dealer" (pg.49) The U.S created an English-only policy in Puerto Rican Schools in 1949
Those who immigrated to New York experienced culture shock where they found themselves rcially inferior to everyone else
These were overwhelming changes that were imposed on them, which resulted in high rates of unemployment, substance abuse, broken families, and deteriorating health. The Puerto Rican population suffer from many hardships relating to their health. This ranged from having the fastest growing HIV infection rates, highest rates of bedridden disabilities, highest rates of suicide attempts, and others. "Confronting Individual Responsibility on the Street" (pg.53) Factors that played a role in the brutally self-destructive street culture in El Barrio:
The economic dislocation,
and large-scale migration "East Harlem's Immigrant Maelstroms" (pg.55) When one looks at East Harlem from an ecological standpoint, one will find that “the streets of East Harlem have always produced violent, substance-abusing felons no matter what immigrant ethnic group happened to be living there at the time” (pg.55) Ray, Primo, and Caeser:
know that their interactions impose suffering upon their family, friends, and neighbours and
know that no matter how large a “historical apology”, it would not exempt them from their violent and self-destructive behaviour.
are drug/crack dealers, and like most of them, they firmly believe in individual responsibility and do not blame society, but hold themselves accountable. "Confronting Individual Responsibility on the Street" (pg.53) economic dislocation political dominance cultural oppression large-scale migration Ray Primo Caeser "The Italian Invasion of East Harlem" (pg.57) The first Italians that arrived in the 1880s were brought by the management of the first avenue trolley to break a strike of Irish track layers
The Italian Shantytown coexisted with the older mixture of shanties two blocks away where the striking Irish workers that were fired lived. The Irish and Italians fought over jobs and housing for a decade.
The Italians were pushed to the poorest avenues closest to the east river, where it was described as “ all dumps, broken cars broken wagons . . . junkyards, broken bottles and rags” (pg. 58) in 1900
The Italians endured countless racist remarks where the school teachers said the Italian youth were “not eager to learn . . . they are very slow” and that “they keep to themselves” and the Italian workers were referred to as morons in the neighbourhood "The Puerto Rican "Invasion" of El Barrio" (pg. 59) When Puerto Ricans immigrated to El Barrio in the 1930s-1940s,:
they received negative reception much like the Italians did 2 generations earlier
they replaced Jews and Italians in the garment factories (pg. 59)
many were beaten up by italians
many Jews left for the middle class white neighbourhoods (pg. 60)
caused more anger than the African-Americans who populated isolated blocks
were called “Spics” by the Italian immigrants (pg.62)
The opposition of changing little italy to el barrio was not only limited by the youth
Organized crime syndicates forced landlords to keep white segregated buildings
Around the 1940’s, 3 way race riots spawned, African-American vs. Italian-American vs. Puerto Rican (pg.61)
1929: “the large majority of Puerto Rican children examined were suffering from malnutrition” (pg.61)
Racism: Americans stated that Puerto Ricans were bringing tuberculosis and venereal disease to new York (pg. 61)
“East Harlem is one of the worst districts in the city. The boys have no respect for learning law or discipline… poverty and social maladjustment prevail.” (pg. 63) “Poverty and Ecological Disrepair” (pg. 62) Researchers judged East Harlem very Harshly
Called the worst district in the city
The poorest area in Manhattan was so close to the richest area and in walking distance of the most powerful art galleries and publishing companies in the U.S.A.
A study was done on Juvenile Delinquents
Oscar Lewis developed the “ culture of poverty theory” (pg. 64)
El Barrio has inspired different artist "The Reconcentration of Poverty in Easternmost East Harlem",(pg.64) resulted in the destruction of several dozen square blocks of a poor community
tens of thousands of Italians were displaced by bulldozers for “slum clearance”
African-American and Puerto Ricans moved to red-brick high-rise projects and became the most concentrated area of poverty in New York City
In the early 1990s, 15 736 of the 40 162 families that lived in east Harlem lived in housing authority projects
allowed violently self-destructive street cultures to engulf public space
As the bull dozers cleared away buildings in the 1950s-60s, Italian Harlem turned into El Barrio
“Nobody, not even an angel, can avoid trouble here! I feel sorriest for the little kids – they’ll never know what a decent neighborhood is like!” (pg. 66)
"From Speakeasy to Crack House", (pg.66) East Harlem has always been "one of the outstanding crime breeding areas in greater New York City" (pg. 66)
Speakeasies were commonly found during the 1920s while crack houses were found during 1980s.
crack vials vs. “mash heaps”
"The Omnipresence of Heroin and Cocaine", (pg.68) "heroin and cocaine have been the most disruptive to the daily quality of life" (pg. 68)
La Farmacia’s corner
Negative effects on school and children
"Mafia Legacies in the Underground Economy", (pg.69) “Substance abuse on blocks such as the one where Ray and his workers grew up "have the profound effect of repeatedly socializing new generations of ambitious, energetic youngsters into careers of street dealing and substance abuse." (pg. 69)
A report in 1991 featured a boy who claimed, "Everybody is doing it. It is almost impossible to make friends who are not addicts... [cocaine] is almost impossible to keep away from it because it is practically thrown at you." (pg. 70)
Many juvenile and adolescent communities and youth idolise the gangsters and racketeers
There was already a growing opposition to the "Law" in the late 1920s
One example is the reaction from Italian audiences while watching films. A typically noted observation claims there to be, "Enthusiastic applause greets the success of the villain and the downfall of any cop or representative of the 'Law'." (pg. 70)
A well-known crime family, Genovese, is one of the five Sicilian families which run organized rackets in New York City "Mafia Legacies in the Underground Economy", (pg.69) "The Free Market for Crack
and Cocaine" (pg.74) “the aggressive federal drug policy prioritizing the criminal repression of smuggling” (pg.74)
Marijuana importers working the Latin American supply roots adapted to the market and began trafficking in cocaine
"This technological and marketing breakthrough of alloying cocaine to baking soda unleashed the energy of thousands... who were only too eager to establish high-profit, high-risk retail crack business". (pg. 75)
EL BARRIO: A STREET HISTORY QUIZ
1. What generation of Puerto Ricans immigrated to New York?
Answer: First Generation
2. This word, when directly translated into English, is “Hillbillies”. What is this derogative term?
Answer: Jibaros 3. What policy did the US colonial administration’s impose on Puerto Rican schools in 1949?
Answer: English-only QUIZ QUIZ 4. What is the one oppressive force that has nothing to do with Puerto Rico’s colonial past?
Answer: Being a violent substance-abusing person 5.Why was it believed that the African Americans did not cause as much trouble as the Puerto Ricans?
Answer: Because they were already segregated 6.Why were tens of thousands of Italians displaced and many African-Americans and Puerto Ricans moved to red-brick high-rise projects?
Answer: They destroyed several dozen square blocks of a poor community. 7. Speakeasies were commonly found during ______ while crack houses were found during______.
Answer: 1920s, 1980s 8. What are speedballs?
Answer: Speedballs is a narcotic composed of Ray’s cocaine and heroin. 9. How did the Mafia families such as Genovese control portions of the city?
Answer: The Mafia families controlled portions of the city by using influences which include, social clubs, churches, crackhouses, stores, offices, services etc. SKIT Inside the Farm at the kitchen table New York City Choncho Goes to School Choncho goes back home after detention Choncho Goes to the Genoveses' House to Graffiti the Walls POW POW