12. Honky

by Dalton Conley

This one is a memoir written by a white dude who grew up in the projects of the lower East Side, in Manhattan. In fact, he and his sister where the only white kids to grow up there. Conley, now a sociologist, draws on his experiences being the "other" in an environment where race and class as social determinants are impossible to ignore. As he argues, if Whitey wants to witness the gap between white priviledge and black and latino social obstruction, he/she move to the projects.

The book is a fairly interesting look at identity development in terms of race and class, two undeniable factors when brought up amidst members of underclasses. I liked it as a memoir but a not sure it holds much water as a sociological study. After all, the very act of writing one's memoir is the act of constructing a reality, not observing one. But I even like the problems this poses him as a sociologist. How does such a person tell the "truth" when he is so damned close to it?

A good read and a great catalyist for many inevitably heated discussions.

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