This book, Ain’t No Makin’ It, shows the lives of the youth who are living in a neighborhood of low income earners. It shows that people are not poor because they are not ready to work, but it is because of various societal structural barriers that get them entrapped in poverty. The book is about the lives of two distinct units of teenagers who live in the inner- city with one unit believing in the ideology of achievement while the other unit rejects it.
It further shows how the society can play a destructive part in the lives of the marginalized in the society thus giving the well to do a chance to blame the less fortunate yet they are the victims with the excuse of achievement ideology. The working class kids are the blacks who call themselves the brothers and believe in achievement ideology. They have realized that racial discriminations which have already ceased to exist made the past generations not to excel in their endeavors.
Now they view the society as one that has given them a level playing ground and they decide to achieve what they want by excelling in school and not engaging in bad habits. The second social group, which is made up of the whites who call themselves hallway hangers, on the contrary, reject the ideology of the achievement and believe that their aspirations are low in the labor market (MacLeod, 2008, p283). The hallway hangers have realized from friends and family that they can’t make it out of the poverty and due to this, they engage themselves in bad habits like smoking dope and dropping out of school among other unlawful deeds (ibid p29).
Despite the fact that both groups have different aspiration levels, no single group prospers in its endeavors. The hallway hangers do not get any degree of upward-ness but the brothers, although they fail to get what they exactly aimed for, they do make to achieve a fraction of it. Thus the poor blacks turn out to be better of than their parents but the poor whites turn out poorer than their parents. Macleod has the belief that the working class kids have a tendency of ending up in working class professions; with this he also points out that the family’s class structures are passed to the coming generations through the school system.
The working class kids are also seen using limited linguistic codes which form a disadvantage at school while the other group uses elaborated codes which have an advantage for they are the codes used in the school’s academic setting (ibid, p226). As it is evidenced, no single group prospers with the reason for this failure being that the whites believe that everything is on their way but the blacks believe that they have to struggle to make it in life. They both end up as losers due to the fact that they are disintegrated with different ideologies.
Although the blacks excelled in school, what they achieved from the school were theories which could not help them excel in life. The fact that the blacks gained some upward mobility but not all they expected shows that one can not jump from the bottom to the top of the society in one lifetime for it has to take time; it also shows that at that rate, in three generations time the blacks will be at the middle class if at all they teach their children to follow in their footsteps.
Despite the efforts the blacks made in school, they view themselves as losers and tend to view the America as a society which does not keep its promises thus ending up in hurting themselves more. The working class families should mentally change their fashion through being honest to themselves and thus be able to improve the education in their children; this can be through working very hard to show their children the importance of commitment and working hard in school for even if they do not excel, they will be able to overcome some barriers.
Macleod’s work is seen to have played a very important role in both the Brother’s lives as well as that of the Hallway Hangers since it made it possible for them to see beyond their immediate despairs and conditions. Both groups experienced a persistent cycle of poverty with negative role models such that they could not help themselves; for those who had no fathers, they suffered great grief and anger. Although the brothers believed in achievement ideology while their counterparts did not, the outcome is that the dominant culture guarantees a better result for the hallway hangers as compared to the outcome of the brothers (ibid p66).
Education cannot be treated as a part of luxury, but as a necessity in the country. There is a major advantage for the outcome of attending school. Nevertheless, it is until the United States comes to recognize the reality that America as a country symbolizes several ways of interpreting data on the basis of various linguistic codes in comparison with various cultural and social classes; through this they will know that the way education is arranged in the public schools is an enormous disadvantage to the groups in consideration, that is the brothers and the hallway hangers.
There is no theory being constructed up to this moment to bring about societal equality in the manner education is arranged. For instance, in Haiti, the colonizers do not allow for educational equality but the parents have struggled to make their children be able to recognize some linguistic codes used in Parisian French so that they can fit in the professional market. For people to grow individually there is need of self- actualization; this is to mean that with the brothers getting positive role models who will give them just a bit of basic motivation, their lives will change a great deal (ibid, p283).
The whites should stop their negativity in life and understand that hard work is the key to success; it is through this that they will not depend on the fact that they are white for their survival. The brothers should realize that patience pays and it is through patience that they will get to the top since they can not go to the top at once but has to go through steps which take time (ibid p 226). If the teenagers tried hard enough in their every day lives then they could have made it in life. There is one boy who almost made it but he fails because he can’t drop the behaviors of the poor such as having kids at a tender age.
There are some behaviors which cannot be changed by education as is shown by the boy who makes it to a community college and has a chance of going further but has to drop out after he impregnates a girl in the neighborhood. The youngsters just lacked the drive to forget about their beginnings and thus work hard to better their lives so their failure to achieve their set targets had nothing to do with capitalism. The theoretical framework used by the author is that of the two major races in the United States which can never be at par in their achievements in the society.
The blacks are expected to be below the whites and seen working very hard and achieving very little while the whites should just have achievements come their way with no struggling. The main topic of discussion is that of whether hard work pays as it is shown in the lives of the brothers who although achieve little, it is due to the efforts they put; the whites end up gaining nothing since they do not work hard at all and in deed leave school and engage in illegal activities. It is at this point that the country should change the academic curriculum to fit the groups in discussion.
The topic of discussion is very important to the author for he wants to show that even the blacks can make it to the top of the society if at all they work towards it. It also shows that the blacks should not loose hope because they are not gaining to their expectations since they can not do it in a day. One only needs to set a target and work towards it and be satisfied even if he makes a single step towards it and believe that it is only a matter of time before he achieves the whole of it (ibid, p 204).
Macleod hangs out with both groups to get the first hand data rather than relying on statistical data. He follows them and even after realizing their beliefs, that is achievement ideology, he later goes back to them to collect data on how far they have gone in realizing their dreams. He goes directly to his interest group which is the teenagers (the blacks and whites) and in fact he shows no interest in their background families but is only interested in their aspirations and beliefs.
The author used the best method in his collection of data since he got the first hand information which is never distorted and biased; this is shown by the fact that he interviewed those people he was interested in and also use the method of data collection of observation. He also asked the questions for the information that he saw necessary such as their aspirations and the intended ways of achieving those aspirations. The results he yielded are valid because as he collects the data by asking questions, he can as well see for himself the realities for he is collecting the data by himself.
He further goes back to them to see what they have achieved and finds that it is as he had expected. His going back shows that the results are true for it is at this point that he sees for himself the outcome of their beliefs without interviewing. Since his research is based on many people of two different races and ideologies, it is okay to apply it as if it is for the general population as long as the circumstances he based his research on are the same.
The researcher has taken a good sample which is a good representation of the whole population since he has included in his research two races and two ideologies. There are no other better methods which could have been used to conduct this research since the most applicable are observation and interviewing and they are the ones used. The research yielded valid results since it gives a reality in America which nobody can deny; this shows that he had the best methods applicable in use to get valid results.
The interpretation of the data by the author is the best he could have given since it is the reality that you have work hard to achieve your expectations and also the fact that it took time for him to make the conclusions. After he interviewed the teenagers, he had to come back to them years later to see how the youths were doing. He found out that the blacks had achieved something which is because they were optimistic but the whites had made zero progress because of their pessimism in life which led to most of them dropping out of school and start taking drugs.
The book is a good read because it shows that the less fortunate in the society can change their status by working hard and stop blaming the society for their failure. The book clearly shows that one becomes what he aspires to be if he is focused and optimistic thus anybody’s son can be the president. Work cited MacLeod Jay, Ain’t No Makin’ it: Leveled Aspirations in a Low-income Neighborhood, NY, Perseus Books Group Publishers, 2008