Wednesday, April 13, 2005
street smartsOkay, so I recently read an ethnography about The Vice Lords: a well-organized gang in Chicago. The first half of the book was very much like any other ethnography. It discussed the social and cultural imperatives of this particular gang. Then the last part was an actual autobiographical account by a member of the gang.
After I read this part I nearly lost it.
Now I'm not one to generalize or go outta hand when it comes to a particular culture of people...
In particular, they speak on a term often used 'street smarts' and it had me thinking. What do people mean by this exactly? Does it even mean anything? Is it ironically used to make 'book smart' people feel stupid?
And I've come to the conclusion that the term 'street smarts' is completely stupid! Knowledge of the streets?! What a bunch of baloney! Anyone who uses this is idiotic! ESPECIALLY IN THIS CRAPPY, CRAPPY BOOK!
So, in the book, they talk about a person with 'street smarts' actually has an advantage over someone with only book smarts. A person with book smarts will never know things about 'the streets' and will have to learn 'street smarts' in order to be as knowledgeable as the 'street smart' people. OMG. I almost threw up.
Street smarts is a knowledge of streets. ONE STREET! The street you live on. There's like a trillion streets in the city of Chicago and one person with street smarts doesn't know any other streets buy his own!!! They only think that they know all of them... Why do you think that these gangs are always fighting?! It's cause one group thinks they know everything about everything! Two people both with street smarts disagree about meaningless social facts... they fight about it.
People with 'street smarts' are egotistical. Gang people are too!! They are so into themselves. They give themselves too much importance. They create their own little worlds based on their immeadiate surroundings and call it 'the world.' They equate what happens in their imagined world as the way to live a life. Walking around being unproductive... thinking that the world revolves around them and their 'way' is the way to 'survive' in the world they created. Of course if they woke up from their dream world they can realize that they can actually have a chance at living in the real world without all these self-fulfilling prophecies.
STREET SMARTS = ENDLESS CIRCLE OF STUPIDITY/ IMAGINED SOCIETY/ VIOLENCE
BOOK SMARTS = KNOWLEDGE OF BOOKS = SCHOOL LIBRARIAN
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