Purchasing Power: Black Kids and American Consumer Culture by Elizabeth Chin

By Elizabeth Chin

Race and Ethnic Studies/Social matters
An exposé of the realities dealing with terrible black little ones in our purchaser socieity.
What does it suggest to be younger, terrible, and black in our client tradition? Are black young ones "brand-crazed buyer addicts" prepared to kill one another over a couple of the most recent Nike Air Jordans or Barbie backpack? during this first in-depth account of the shopper lives of terrible and working-class black little ones, Elizabeth Chin enters the realm of kids residing in hassle as a way to comprehend the methods they learn how to deal with dwelling bad in a filthy rich society.
In order to maneuver past the stereotypical photos of black young children enthusiastic about prestige symbols, Elizabeth Chin spent years interviewing negative young ones residing in New Haven, Connecticut, approximately the place and the way they spend their cash. another photograph of the kids emerges, person who places practicality sooner than prestige of their buying judgements. On a twenty-dollar purchasing spree with Chin, one boy has to choose from a walkie-talkie set and an X-Men determine. in a single of the main painful moments of her study, Chin watches as Davy struggles together with his determination. He ultimately takes the walkie-talkie set, a toy that will be shared together with his more youthful brother.
Through own anecdotes and compelling tales starting from subject matters comparable to Christmas and birthday presents, purchasing shops, Toys-R-Us, local comfort outlets, institution lunches, ethnically right toys, and college provides, Chin significantly examines intake as a medium during which social inequalities-most significantly of race, category, and gender--are shaped, skilled, imposed, and resisted. alongside the best way she recognizes the profound constraints lower than which the terrible and dealing category needs to fight of their day-by-day lives.
Elizabeth Chin is an affiliate professor within the division of Anthropology at Occidental collage in l. a..

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The account of Solomon Northrup provides a particularly ironic description of these material possessions. Northrup was a free Northerner who was kidnapped into slavery for twelve years. He had been an independent farmer and businessman in the years before his abduction and he was used to having his own home, along with the convenience of furniture, dishes, pails and the like. He deeply resented their absence, as this sharply ironic passage shows: When a slave, purchased, or kidnapped in the North, is transported to a cabin on Bayou Boeuf, he is furnished with neither knife, nor fork, nor dish, nor kettle, nor any other thing in the shape of crockery, or furniture of any nature or description.

Urban renewal projects eventually displaced almost 40 percent of New Haven's black population, leveling long-standing communities of houses and homeowners to relocate residents to housing projects owned and administered by city and federal agencies (Minerbrook 1992). The social isolation of neighborhoods such as Newhallville may be seen as an outcome of urban redevelopment, which transported families and neighborhoods away from downtown to more distantly located developments less accessible to jobs and commercial centers.

Those who chose to work or sell things on the side without permission risked being punished for "stealing" their own labor, thereby cheating their masters, much as current welfare recipients are "cheating" taxpayers when they engage in otherwise legal income-generating activities like babysitting or doing hair. Despite ample data showing that much welfare compensation simply does not provide adequate income to pay for even basic necessities, the income-generating strategies to which many welfare recipients turn are deemed illegal—even if they would in any other context be unexceptionable (Hill and Stephens 1997).

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