Righteous Dopefiend Analysis

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Reaction Paper There are many problems that people face on a day to day basis, whether they are personal, economic, or even moral. Some problems are applicable to a select few, but there are also problems that afflict many people across the nation, such as inequality and racism. Problems such as racism and inequality have been omnipotent in the United States for hundreds of years. The book, “Righteous Dopefiend,” helps to really shed some light on the problem of racism and how it affects everyone, causing rifts and distrust among the community, keeping people separated, and affecting people’s economic situations. The book “Righteous Dopefiend” is an ethnographic novel. It’s a twelve yearlong study conducted by the book’s authors, Philippe…show more content…
For instance, even though the whites are clearly subordinate to the blacks in Edgewater, because of the “durability of racism in the United States,” the whites still believe that they are superior to the blacks, using “the word nigger routinely” (Bourgois & Schonberg 2009:30). Because of this false sense of supremacy, the whites tend to avoid interaction with the blacks and limit the time spent among them as much as possible. The irony of this was that the highest patron to the Edgewater homeless was an African American who provided a camper to sleep in when it rained heavily (Bourgois & Schonberg 2009). However, most of the Edgewater homeless tended to ignore this fact, making false assertions of various crimes, saying they were committed by the African Americans. There were still many instances in “Righteous Dopefiend” where many of the Edgewater homeless called the blacks no good thieves and scoundrels never to be trusted, even without any reason to do so. As soon as he returned from the hospital, Max, one of the whites at Edgewater, moved to the site at the Dockside Bar & Grill as soon as he saw the blacks in the encampment under the I-beam (Bourgois & Schonberg 2009). This shows how racism kept the people in Edgewater apart, which prevented them from establishing inter-racial relationships. The one exception to this was the relationship between Al and Sonny, which…show more content…
This ethnography conducted by Bourgois and Schonberg really highlighted the problems of racism among the Edgewater community. I was honestly shocked to learn how prevalent racism was among the homeless community. I had previously thought that because these people were in such poor conditions, trying to do anything to survive, they would look past such divisions such as racism in order to help themselves survive and get back on their feet. This wasn’t the only thing that surprised me however. It was the fact that the homeless addicts weren’t just sitting around getting high and injecting heroin, but were actually trying to go out and get jobs and homes once again. Most think that these people chose this way of life and that all they care about is their drugs. “Righteous Dopefiend” enlightens us, showing how many of these people became homeless because they were forced onto the streets because they didn’t have the education to get a good job, which to me is very disheartening. This ethnography showed me how protected and sheltered we are from some the things going on in, not just the United States, but around the world. Before reading this book, I believed ethnographies such as these to not be too important. However, after reading

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