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Ain’t No Makin’ it by Jay MacLeod

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Ain’t No Makin’ it by Jay MacLeod
Introduction
Ain’t No Makin’ It is a story about inequality in the human society, how it affects the lifestyles of people and how such equality can be transferred from one generation to another. It is based on the lifestyles of two groups of young people living in the Clarendon Heights low-income housing project. One of the groups, the Hallway Hangers, was made up of young white men while the other group, the Brothers. Had black members mostly. The story presents a comparison of the two groups giving an account of how poverty is passed on from one generation to another through the two groups. The second part of the book presents the lives of the members of the two groups eight years later. Both groups were still held up in poverty, and they struggled with the labor market. Unfortunately for the two groups, the urban industrial decline stood in the way of their economic success, and their situations did not make it any better.
The Hallway Hangers were undereducated, and most of them were either unemployed or imprisoned. Eventually, they ended up seeking solace in racism and sexism. The Brothers, on the other hand, were no better either. None of their teenage dreams came true as a result of the same fate of misfortunes, and they too ended up giving up on their dreams and aspirations as a result of the tool that racism had on them.Later on, MacLeod goes back to Clanderon Heights when the young men were at their middle age and held interviews with them to get them to speak about their lives and experiences.

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The stories they relieve about their experiences while living in Clanderon Heights are heart-wrenching yet uplifting at the same time. What is surprising about the two groups, however, is the varied aspirations and conditions driven by their race differences yet they lived in the same environment, and studied under the same conditions.
To the Brothers, Clanderon Heights presented an open society and blamed their problems and misfortunes on racism just like their ancestors suffered. However, the Hallway Hangers do not hold the same ideology about life and achievement as the Brothers. Most of the members of this groups gave up hope early in life, dropped out of school and turned to a life of drugs. By the end of the story, both groups were still submerged in poverty, because of some barriers that held them back from achieving their dreams and aspirations. Part of the barriers to success that held them back from achieving realizing their aspirations was the system that was set up that shaped the expectations, rewards and discipline in schools. Also, as kids they did not get much support from outside school, and this prevented them from doing well even after they were done with their studies.
The book would be handy and informative in teaching criminology because it gives an account of how engaging in a life of crime is interfering with the ability of young people to achieve their dreams and achievements in life. It can also help in teaching students the effects of engaging in a life of crime and giving them an understanding of why young people are forced to engage in a life of crime. At times, just like it was in the lives of the Brothers and the Hallway Hangers, individuals end up engaging in a life of crime not because they want to but because they are forced by life’s circumstances.
The book contributes to informing the society, especially the young people who are in undergoing the various stages of education that they may end up being poorly equipped to alter the structural inequalities that exist in the society. It goes further to encourage them to work hard and learn to be able to think of alternative ways of making a living for themselves given the little resources that they may have at their disposal. The book also serves to inform the young people on the importance of creating the importance of connections and interrelations among themselves as they can help each other achieve their goals in the future.
One of the theories that seem to suit the book is the social conflict theory which is of the opinion that people in society do not have enough of material and non-material resources to enable them live comfortably and this ends up in a struggle for the little resources available at any point in time. For this reason, the more powerful and wealthy individuals in the society often end up exploiting the less fortunate so that they can make their lives better while the poor and the powerless continue languishing in poverty. This theory applies in the story because the unfortunate state of the Hallway Hangers and the Brothers was as a result of shortages of resources at the time, especially after the urban industrial decline that left the urban areas more populated but with few opportunities for development especially to the young people. Thus, the more powerful and wealthy in the city managed to get hold of the few resources and opportunities available, leaving the less fortunate individuals from low-class areas like Clanderon Heights suffering.
The other theory that also applies in this story is the Bourdieu Social Reproductive theory, which argues that children born to families with working class parents will have a better chance at finding better jobs as compared to children born to low-class families. This is also true about the two groups of young people in Clanderon Heights because they were born to low-class parents and despite the fact that they got the same educational opportunities, they were just on the wrong class of life. For this reason, their chances at making it to the high job industry were lowered by the fact that their parents did not make it there in the first place.
The readers or students that will find this book helpful include unfortunate students from low-class families and those who cannot get access to quality education. They can get a few tips on life from the book, and get to learn the areas in life where they can focus on to make their situation better. This book can also offer consolation to people who suffered the same fate as the individuals in either of the two groups as they can relate with the events and circumstances in the lives of the characters in the book. The book can also help those who are well off in life to appreciate the fact that there are some people who are not lucky enough to make it big in life despite their struggles and think of helping others.

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