.

.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Randall Horton question

Post your questions by 6pm on Sunday, January 17. Remember to include some context to connect your question directly to the reading from Hook, Randall Horton's memoir.

26 comments:

  1. Horton writes about the "Jack and Hill" lifestyle of privileged students at his university. By being at Howard, but seeing all that money coming from selling drugs and being surrounded by peers who were so comfortable financially, did it feel like working towards a degree didn't mean as much anymore?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Going off of Teddy's point, I am curious about how this Jack and Jill lifestyle came to be and how it represents the "Black n Bougie" (As Michelle Grant refers to it: http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/black-n-bougie-blog-michelle-grant/). Glancing at the Jack and Jill website, it looks like it wants to help African American families in general but your words and various other articles online suggest that it is only for the more affluent classes.

      Delete
    2. I had a similar question to Teddy's. Is the need to "fit in" and seem powerful more important than earning the actual degree that is supposed to get you a job in the future? And now that I say 'supposed,' maybe that is what students think when they decide to do drugs--an easy way to get your money back. Perhaps Horton feared that working towards the degree wasn't actually going to get him a job in the future, so the drug route seemed like a reasonable way to go.

      Delete
  2. Horton's introspective look into the world of drug-dealing is written very poetically. Randall does speak of his economic standing, does that play a major role in drug-dealing? Of course, not all drug dealers are lower on the totem pole-so as to speak-but does that add to the incentive of drug dealing because it is a quicker way to get a large amount of money?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Horton writes of his and Patrick's shared "southerness" being the original source of their friendship. How was that relationship affected by selling drugs together?

    ReplyDelete
  4. When Horton states, "Drugs render you invincible, pulled into a room of narcissistic arrogance; but nonetheless, you mount the crest of the wave you've been given and you ride baby ride" I feel as though this some what puts drug dealing on a pedestal. It appears Horton and his peers received a high from selling drugs alone. Does selling drugs for easy and quick money allow for individuals who come from a lower economic status feel as though they may be on the level of the "Jack and Jill" society as Horton mentions?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Horton writes about a sudden need for a bank account saying, "The next day money came quickly—so quick bank accounts had to be opened because money wrapped in rubber bands under the mattress would not suffice." I wonder if there came--perhaps just as suddenly--a time when the world of bank accounts seemed too slow and distant a way to handle money?

    ReplyDelete
  6. This excerpt does a fantastic job of illustrating the instant gratification and satisfaction that seems to accompany a turn to drug dealing, especially on a college campus which is the perfect environment for a dealer. It also provides an honest glimpse into the ways in which the author justified his actions as a reaction to his own socio-economic marginalization.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In Horton’s memoir, he mentions that he and his friends "discovered a connection in [their] southerness amidst so many students from the north.” Did this disconnect between Horton and his “northern” peers play a role in his introduction to the world of drug dealing? If he had gone to a school closer to home, do you think it would have made a difference?

    ReplyDelete
  8. The title of this article is "the real howard university". Horton talks about doing drugs and selling drugs in the university. DO most of the students in Howard university have this kind of life style?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think that it is most having this lifestyle. I do believe however that Horton is referring to more of the idea that the university is not exactly what it seems from the outside peering in. There truly is a frosted window concealing the true painting of a university. When coming to our University, I noticed that essentially NOTHING that was presented to me was actually how the university functioned. The questions I asked were usually evaded in some manner and covered with something else; however, the enticing scholarship drew me further in. While I can't say that the school hasn't grown on me, I will have to be truthful in the matter of hating that so much of the truth was concealed int trying to create a "perfect" image. This deviates from the drug topic, but directly correlates in the matter of what "reality" truly is. So, I am guessing that is where this comment leaves---- what is "reality" and does it 'really' exist?

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Horton sees the instant change in his social life when he provides his peers with drugs; his economic standing, once so relevant, didn't matter anymore. How prevalent is it to only want to be associated with people like you, or with people who have the power to give you something?

      Delete
    2. I feel like this is such an invaluable lesson! I have always been very wary of who my friends are, and that they are around for me and not for gain of whatever they might be trying to gain. In a lot of ways, it is easy to take people for granted and use people without even trying (or, in Horton's 'friends'" cases, actually meaning to do so). Should we be more wary ? or more trusting? What would be the implications of these?
      Why do we, as humans, feel like we have to have that testosterone contest of having the upper hand? Why are girls mean and take sides so quickly to judge? Why are we so quick to form opinions? Why do we normally gravitate to those like us? Are we afraid? Are we ashamed? Why can't integration be successful in society?

      Delete
  10. Like others in the class, I was struck by Horton's statement that "drugs render you invincible," that they became an equalizing force for him. I was struck by his view of drugs because Americans are taught that things like access to good education, a good job, good living conditions are equalizers. To realize that access to drugs can be equalizing as well is to realize that something is terribly wrong with our society (not a surprising insight)...

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. As I read, I found myself distracted by the lingering descriptions in the first paragraph. "Imagine..." it begins. And I did. And continued to.

    I feel that this section was particularly effective and intriguing for a couple of reasons... The use of the phrase "difficult to resist" in the first sentence plays a huge contrast to the remainder of the paragraph, in which intricate descriptions elaborate on the complete ensnaring of each section of the body. This powerful imagery implies not a "difficulty" in resisting the intoxication, but a near-impossibility.

    Horton doesn't stop at the pleasant, forcefully sensual part of the description, however. The last phrase, "higher than the last defunct star," forms a more complex opinion about the experience. The satisfying occurrences in the first paragraph continue to build and build upon themselves to the climax, "until you are high," but then immediately create a feeling of isolation, erasure, and deterioration with "like the last defunct star."

    This pattern seems to mirror the feelings Horton is expressing through the rest of the narration. He comments that drug-dealing is appealing because it seems like a solution, a way to make you more "invincible" to the discrepancies of class and the various discrimination that comes with it. That possibility of "growing up in two different worlds within the same city" is a very important, often racially-charged one. It's obvious that we have enormous discrepancies between classes and living standards in America. But it's equally obvious that people of color are the overwhelming victims of this.

    When seeing the phrase "drug-dealer," do you ever imagine a white person?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Horton mentioned in his memoir that he was not part of the "Jack and Jill" lifestyle. However, as soon as he started to drug deal, the people of that lifestyle began to associate with him. At the end of the memoir he stated that he would sit alone and whisper that he needed to "slow down baby boy, slow down." So does drug dealing to privilege people allow him to feel that he is part of the group or even more alone in the end?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Similar to Kristen, I was most struck by his language choices. It is not what one would expect from the description of an introduction to dealing drugs. Which I think begs the questions- Why was this language something I didn't expect to see with this narrative? I think it is important to acknowledge that poetic language can come from anywhere, any situation. I think these types of narratives should be recognized as valid and necessary no matter the rhetoric or language used, but I also think that Horton's choices represent or indicate a sort of bridge between expectations and the start of conversations.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Drugs could be considered a tool just directly from the first time you use them. Drugs can be used as a form of expression, or a way to enter both a literal sphere of different consciousness and ultimately something utilized that inhibits you mentally and physically. But also as some form of upward trajectory, but can quickly become a downward spiral. It seems that once drugs as a tool enters the of drug dealers, it becomes a new addiction synonymous with upward trajectory and money, a tool to embed yourself in both a physical economy but a moral one as well. How much does money change you? How much do drugs change you? How much does making money from drugs change you and peoples conception of you? There are stereotypes of drug dealers and users, what seemingly seems like breaking stereotypes may embed yourself more deeply into them. How quickly do people recognize when they are embedding themselves more deeper into stereotypical conceptions of race and gender by virtue of what they do? despite the nature of money and cultural wealth.

    ReplyDelete
  16. How often do we make friends with people that are significantly different from ourselves? Do we treat or view friends that are different to say our friends who share the same interest, clubs, music taste, watch the same shows etc, than those who don't? Colleges seem to be a great place for many individuals to network in certain ways, but how often do most students go out of their way to spur conversation with people outside of our classes and interest? And if we do, what are our motives to do so? Do these motives differ from people who look more like ourselves, and share similar backgrounds? The exert made me wonder about these dynamics considering that socio-economic classes tend to separate themselves whenever an open forum such as college provides an opportunity to coexist. Is the orientation of a future career behind the orchestration of such actions? Do people only interact with different classes when there is something to gain from the interaction--say symbolically, or in this case literally? -- Cromwell

    ReplyDelete
  17. I feel like we often associate drug usage and dealing with people in poverty. Since we're raised in a very classist society, we tend to think that people who are poor are uneducated troublemakers. We don't even consider that people associated with drugs may be in or out of poverty, educated or uneducated. We shouldn't be surprised that a person who was in legal trouble for drug usage is as articulate as he is, but society tries to tell us otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I’ve been back and forth for a few hours on how to not come out and say this, at least not to say in plain English. But it really isn’t fair not to admit that our university shares something with Horton’s experience at Howard. Our school has divides in its students, may be it in majors, wealth status, or hometown, that, as a student body, we have discovered can be very much bridged with drugs and alcohol. The assumption is that if something is awkward, a sip of this or a snort of that will ease the tension. It has never really occurred to me but as a matter of fact Horton described something that happens every day nationwide in colleges, universities, high schools, UK, and even Transy. I’m curious to read more of Horton’s memoir now because if this is what he experienced at Howard University, what happened that led to him being incarcerated? If this is the environment we go to school in, what happens next for the students like Randall Horton?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree that what we see and maybe even experience in some cases exists at our University. I hate to say that myself. So many things get swept under the rug, and so much facade is put on. Does that make it any better or worse? I guess it could be both considering one is for image and the other is truth.

      Delete
  19. I truly have been grasping for most of today to figure out what to write. I truly wish I could sit there with this man and hear more of what he has to say about the "real" world. Universities really do paint such a 'pretty' picture to parents and incoming students, ensuring that there are a lot of good activities are planned around those visiting hours and weekends. Truly, image is everything- or so it seems.
    I find the "real" Howard University and students incredibly... well.... real. Sadly, we see this around not only our campus, but other campuses. Us, as 'real students,' can see beyond the mask that is portrayed, but what do we do? Most are bystanders. Some are partakers. Some are initiators. There is a difference all over the spectrum. What I liked so much about his writing was the inclusion of "[growing] up in two different worlds within the same city," yet still becoming part of the same 'club.' This shows that people can indeed move and place themselves based on desire and motivation. Now, I am not saying that there is no environmental factors being portrayed in here. As he obviously stated, there are those "Jack and Jill" parts of society that are seemingly untouchable-- whether it is old or new money. But, the point is that everyone does make their own choices. Now, the real question that is posed comes down to the revelation and the next steps for the students who choose these paths. Does it really have to take getting into so much trouble to turn their lives around? Is there something else that we can do? Is the gap really THAT large since there are decisions to be made to be in those categories of active participation and removal?
    Overall, the entire excerpt opens my eyes further to what I saw/see not only in the current university, but also in high school. Interestingly enough, I went to a private institution where most students would be considered middle class and above, but these issues were still present, which relates directly to the issue of two different worlds within the same city, especially when comparing the varying schools in the same county/area. In some way, the environment only stretches to a certain amount, but what is that amount? How much of the decisions are based on ones own self?

    ReplyDelete