This essay sample on Tally’s Corner Summary provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
1. Tally’s Corner is the sociological interpretation of the culture of negro street-corner men. Elliot Liebow sets out to show the hypocrisies that lead black men to this circumstance. The study is carried out in Washington D.C. The key argument posed by Liebow is that black males are incapable of attaining jobs because they lack education. He also argues that this is a cycle that inevitably results in a trans-generational marginalization of the black race. On top of this, he argues that the white middle class are unrelenting with their methods of depriving black advancement in American society. Knowledge of this incites many blacks to take dead-end jobs, or to settle for mediocrity in the face of adversity. A large number of black males in America find themselves forced to take jobs that offer no security, or socioeconomic growth. He also argues that many blacks are not very literate and therefore left behind in cultural revolutions like the information age.2. The main thesis of Liebow’s argument is that black men lack self fulfillment. Liebow’s conclusion is that men can only find self-fulfillment as family providers. He credits their diversion from mainstream society to many different aspects, the fear of failure, the contentment with mediocrity, and the fear that loved one’s will abandon them. This is a very depressing and pessimistic view, considering that the family structure is more prevalently a support system in most cultures. Liebow tributes this difference in family ideals to the conflicted relationship between black men and women.3 There are aspects of Liebow’s findings that prove to be disparaging. For example, he talks about the work experience of some of these underprivileged black men in remedial jobs. He points out that many of their employers anticipate that they will steal from the company and in response to this they decrease their wages to the predicted amount that they think will be stolen. When Liebow mentions this, he presents very little evidence to prove its validity, and he even hypothetically theorizes why the method inevitably won’t work. He argues that the relationship between the employer and the employee whom he knowingly allows to steal from him can only last for as long as the employer can tolerate being stole from. He says that since this is something that isn’t easily tolerable, even if it is accounted for in the company budget, the employer will only allow himself to be taken advantage of for so long (Liebow, pg25). He further identifies this relationship as one of the key examples of devious unrelenting behavior towards blacks. He does this with his example of Tonk, who is an employee stealing from a dead-end job.Were he to have caught Tonk in the act of stealing, he would, of course, have fired him from the job and perhaps called the police as well. Thus… all the elements of entrapment are present. The employer knowingly provides the conditions which entice (force) the employee to steal the unpaid value of his labor, but at the same time he punishes him for theft if he catches him doing so. (Liebow, 1967) Here Liebow shows the hypocritical circumstance of the employment industry for the street corner black. It is insightful but lacks some relevance today. Low income low security jobs, like McDonalds, Walmart, Pizza Hut etc… whether they account for employees stealing their products or not, they already pay their employees at the lowest possible incomes and they buy their products in bulk and sell them for extremely more than their initial value. On top of this, there are so many blacks, 3-5 times as many as their were when Liebow wrote this book, who are eager to find employment. The result has become low income positions for blacks where stealing is tolerated lesser than it was in the 60’s. Never the less the main argument that reigns true about these positions to date is that they still don’t provide enough income for black men to take care of their families, let alone themselves.I generally agree with Liebow’s argument. At times it appears to be a bit negative and pessimistic. His findings are presented as a rule of thumb, to which blacks who prove to be well off are just the exception to the rule. This leaves no room for improvement. One aspect of Liebow’s argument that stood out to me specifically was his interpretation of Tonk’s plight. In Tonk’s scenario, he argues that Tonk would not work for fear that his wife would cheat on him (Liebow, 1967). Here it becomes obvious that there are deeper ideological conflicts preventing black males from seeking employment other than just education, or opportunity. Liebow further emphasizes this when he says,the man-job relationship is a tenuous one. At any given moment, a job may occupy a relatively low position on the streetcorner scale of real values. Getting a job may be subordinated to relations with women or to other non-job considerations; the commitment to a job one already has is frequently shallow and tentative.(Liebow, 1967) Though this may be true of some blacks I feel this argument feeds into a black stereotype of the lazy black horny black male. My interpretation of this statement by Liebow is that he argues all black men who reside in predominantly urban areas would rather have sex than ensure they have food to eat.4. I would recommend this book to others based on its cultural significance within America. Even the bias standpoint of Liebow, which is often very pessimistic in the pursuit of being brutally honest, can be taken as a historically viable account of the socioeconomic conditions of blacks in the 1970’s. It should still be noted that Liebow’s findings are the product of the social conditions of America before the full influence of affirmative action. Though the street corner man still exists, his presence is vastly being opposed by well off blacks. In fact, it could be argued that the role of the street corner man taken over by introduction of the Mexican immigrant into society, as can be seen from the Census Bureau statistics. Race/EthnicityMedian Family Income PercentageWhite$59,404African American$34,204All$50,891Race/EthnicityPoverty Unemployment RateMore Years Of educationWhite9.7%4.4%African American22.1%10.1%All11.3%7.1%Race/EthnicityMedian Family Income In PercentageMore Years Of educationAsian$60,8252.7%Hispanic$30,0508.2%Native American$31,06416.4%Race/EthnicityPoverty Unemployment RateAsian10.9%Hispanic21.2%Native American27.1%(United States Census Bureau, 2005)Here it is obvious that there is a major discrepancy between the races pertaining to income, but this difference is a major improvement compared to the complex Liebow refers to in his book. Though, his position could be viewed as the core source of these estimates.In sum, Tally’s Corner has had a dramatic effect on American culture. Its influence can be seen most prevalently in many of the stereotypes people hold pertaining to black people today. Not every black male is a street corner man, and this book was written before many accomplishments by the Civil Rights movement had truly made their effect. Though, Liebow’s arguments serves as good explanations for the reason why blacks are in their current socioeconomic state in America, I feel his arguments are somewhat outdated.