In Jay MacLeod's book, Ain't No Makin' It, The Hallway Hangers and the Brothers come from the same economic background and are of similar age. The only outward difference is their race. MacLeod shows that this factor, along with class, directly influenced their aspirations, and consequently, negatively affected how these two groups fared in life.
The Brothers and Hallway Hangers both grew up in the same housing project. For the most part, their parents did not graduate from high school. Furthermore, most of their parents worked in low paying factory or service jobs. Often times they have a hard time holding onto their jobs.
This lower class position disadvantages both the Hallway Hangers and Brothers. At school, their ways of speaking, dress, and other mannerisms are not valued by the educational system. Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu calls these elements "culture capital (Pg. 13). For example, students that live in a poor homes where their parents were not home to read to them early on, may lag behind more affluent students that had that luxury. Since schools value good grammar, the more affluent student holds the advantage over the poorer one. This leads to tracking students into alternative scho