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Anderson’s “Code of the Street” Video

Elijah Anderson’s video “Code of The Street” highlights the common issues that define city life, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. Anderson (2017) uses the phrase “city codes” about vices, such as high crime rates, unemployment, and teenage pregnancies that define low-income neighborhoods, also called inner cities. Anyone who has lived in low-income neighborhoods can relate to Anderson’s video, as it is a reflection of what conspires daily. Unemployment is high and young people, as they are desperate for a change in their lives, can do anything to sustain life, including stealing and indulging in illicit businesses.

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As I grew up in a low-income neighborhood, I can give a first-hand account of how Anderson’s street codes are manifested in real-life. Young children of my age smoked and talked about escapades in which they made money to support their habits making me envious. Possibly, this would not have been the situation had their parents been as strict as mine had. Parents in inner cities have little time for their young ones who are left to roam around and learn the street codes from peers and the larger community (Anderson, 2017). The lack of proper parental guidance leads to a generation of desperate youths who can indulge in any dealings to earn a living or survive for the day.

In essence, Anderson’s video is a true reflection of what transpires in inner cities. Children born and raised in these neighborhoods must learn the codes early in life to survive. Exposure to crime, drugs, and teenage sex comes early in life because of the lack of proper parental guidance. However, Anderson’s inference that racism is the primary force behind street codes is misleading. It is only unfortunate that existing economic and political formations do not favor African Americans. Everyone must work hard in school and find employment aggressively for freedom from poverty.


Anderson, E. (2017). Code of the street [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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