We may well have had the numbers, but we also had our new and invented selves…Outside of its context, the Code is suicidal. The violence committed by and against black men — regardless of class — is not weighed like the violence of other males. In America, the presence of melanin itself is too often a mark of criminality. I like to think that I’ve built myself up into something. I’m a writer. I’ve won some awards. I live in a nice neighborhood in New York. If I shaved more often, I might actually qualify for my local chapter of the black bourgeoisie. But had we gotten into a fight that night, every one of us knew how the police would have seen us, and what they would have done. Violence is wrong. Violence done by black men is more wrong.
The Code of the Streets, a term popularized by the hip-hop duo Gang Starr and the sociologist Elijah Anderson, is the code of men who have come to feel that they have nothing to lose. Much of the struggle with young black boys and teenagers today lies in getting them to see all that violence endangers. At 13, I could imagine not going to jail, not getting shot, being a responsible father. I could not envision much more. I could name careers and other paths, but I had no real sense that it was possible for me to get there, or how. Somehow I got there. And on arrival, I found myself in the company of others like me: an entire fraternity founded on the need to comprehend the folkways of a world we had never been sure we’d see.
Some people come up expecting to win. We came up hoping not to lose. Even in victory, the distance between expectation and results is dizzying for both. The old code remains a part of you, and with it comes a particular strain of impostor syndrome. You have learned another language, but your accent betrays you. And there are times when you wonder if the real you is not here among the professionals, but out there in the streets."
“When we have the thick relationships of a small, close community, we may find that our interactions are governed by norms of cooperativeness that are collective rather than dyadic. I behave well toward you because the community will sanction if I do not. In such a case, the norms of cooperativeness maybe sufficiently effective that we do not so readily develop dyadic trust relationships over many things, because those things are government by the communal norms.
“Incidentally, the claim of Adam Seligman (1997) and Niklas Luhman (1980) that trust is a modern phenomenon may be correct if turned into a claim it arises in relatively large communities in which we must rely on particularized networks and need not arise in small communities in which norms of cooperativeness handle the problems that trust relationships might have handled. The transition from smaller communities to relatively urban communities has proceeded further in many societies than in others, and national differences in vocabulary of trust may correlate with the differential development. ” pg 184-185
“Although members of a small community might never develop a sense of reciprocal trust such as that in the encapsulated-interest account, they could all or almost all develop trustworthy behavior…” pg 185
“When a member of such a community enters a broader society without the protection of the sanctions of the communal norm of cooperativeness, this optimism should lead to attempts to cooperate with others and therefore mastery of assessing trustworthiness.”pg 185"