Oct 14 2014
Purchasing Power, Black Kids and American Consumer Culture by Elizabeth Chin is an in depth look at a specific group of poor black kids in the early 90s. Her study focuses on consumerism and was conducted in Newhallville, a neighborhood located in New Haven, Connecticut. I liked her work, and was more comfortable with how she went about her research than I was with the last author. The stories she told were moving and her thesis was coherent. However, I found her to be slightly extreme in some places, which I feel detracts from her argument. One line that confused me was on page 163 in Chapter 6 and begins with “If one accepts that racial divisions are absolute and unbridgeable…” To me, this came out of nowhere and was left hanging there with no real explanation of why one might accept that. I also thought Chin’s focus on Barbie was a bit extreme, to the point of working against her.
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