Ghettoside: A Story Of Murder In America (2000)
Ghettoside: A Story of Murder in America (2000)
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Rating
4.14 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0385529988 (ISBN13: 9780385529983)
languge
English
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Part true crime, part sociological study, Jill Leovy's "Ghettoside" looks at a murder investigation in L.A. at the height of the crack epidemic. Black men make up 6% of the American population. They also make up 40% of the homicides. In ghettos like Watts and Compton, that number skews even higher. To an outsider, the violence looks completely irrational. Long standing feuds bring comparisons to Albanian clan wars and the Wild West. It turns out to be an apt correlation. In areas that lack the rule of law, people police themselves. While there's a code of silence ("Snitches get stitches") in poor black neighborhoods, and a mistrust of the police, "Ghettoside" makes a clear argument in favor of more, and better law enforcement.It also tells a heartbreaking story of one family's loss, and a dogged search for justice. This is excellent journalism as an exploration of the impact of murder on the African American community of Watts but lightweight in terms of in-depth analysis of the underlying causes of Black-on-Black homicide. To be fair to Leovy, she wasn't attempting to produce a sociological work but I was hoping for a more detailed exposition of the causes than she offers. She touches on important issues relating to discrimination, intergenerational disadvantage, the pressures on young African American men, and the history of policing in African American communities but does not develop her themes.That said, I found Ghettoside disturbing and deeply moving. By focusing on Bryant Tennelle's murder (and relating the stories of other homicides), Leovy gives voice to the victims, impressing on the reader that real human beings - with names, families, jobs, aspirations and hopes for the future - lie behind the awful statistics. In the face of so much indifference in the larger society to Black-on-Black homicide, this insistence on the humanity of African American men and boys is important. The take-home message is clear: Black lives matter.
Reviews
patricia
If you're interested in crime, race, policing, or just good narrative journalism, pick this up.
micah_ransome
Very sad but very interesting.... So eye opening
desi
An updated version of David Simon's 'Homicide'.
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