“The Cocaine Kids” by Terry Williams
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In the excerpt from the afterward (p.132) to “The Cocaine Kids” by Terry Williams he seems to be expressing the Subcultural Theories. Simply because the excerpt is mainly concerned with the way they were raised, opportunities and lifestyle.
In my opinion I agree strongly that these Subcultural Theories play a major roll in why the cocaine kids be come drug dealers. The “crew” all lived in a poor part of Manhattan called Washington Heights; it’s an area full of crack fiends and drug dealers. It’s a place mainly made up of Dominicans and African-Americans. Most of the people living in the area are not only poor and uneducated, but addicted to some sort of drug.
Max, Seemingly the main character, is a fourteen-year-old boy who reaches the drug game mainly because of his brother. He was a “lucky” one who moved up the ladder quick and in the five years he is in the cocaine industry he becomes a leader. His crew consists of Chillie, the second in command and head of “la Oficina.” Hector, though not a huge factor is Max’s brother and is more of a hassle/ drug addict then anything. Masterrap and Charlie, Masterrap who is third in charge and welcomes people into “la Oficina,” while Charlie is the bodyguard. Next is Jake, He runs the street trade for max. Last are Kitty and Splib, they are married for part of the book but both sell independently.
All eight members of the crew have had either extremely poor up upbringings or major losses in their family. They all seem to be dealing simply to make ends meet, though some of the guys like Splib, Jake and Chillie tend to be out for power and respect. It seems at some point in the book every one of them speaks to Williams about leaving the game and becoming legit, but none of them do for several years. It’s not in till Chillie gets shot that the crew starts to completely dismember. At the point that they do begin to leave the cocaine industry it seems that they all have wives and/or children.
With this is gives them a sense that they have something to live for and a reason to be there later in life. They all knew that the industry that was thrown upon them was a dangerous one but it was about the only thing they felt they could do. Yet, in a way it seemed as it even helped Max a little bit because he did make some money in the industry. That’s not to say that the others didn’t because most of them also made money in the cocaine industry, but is seemed as Max had a better idea of what needed to be done he didn’t get to into the using himself. Also he always discouraged his crew from basing or getting into crack.
Other then Jake every one in the crew moved to legit occupations and in truth they might not even have been occupations that they loved. After Chillie got shot and then died it was more about the idea of just getting out, the industry had just become too dangerous for them. By the end it began to seem as all of them felt as there was bigger and better things out there. The most surprising person was Jake. Jake seemed to be the most likely to not be in the cocaine industry he came from a middle class family, he was raised better. Through the tragedy of both of his parents dieing he still headed down the right/ ok track. It wasn’t till his uncle started to treat him differently that he got caught up in the drug life. Yet, when it came to the end of Williams’s time with the kids Jake was the only one still dealing.
Even though the life that was given to the cocaine kids was not one to be desired and made them grow up much sooner then they should have had to. They still found a way to see the bigger picture and become part of the legitimate America.