East St. Louisans and Their Cars

Jennifer F. Hamer

in Abandoned in the Heartland

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780520269316
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950177 | DOI:
East St. Louisans and Their Cars

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The car problems of citizens of East St. Louis stop looking like the petty nuisances of poverty. The love–hate relationship of East St. Louisans with the automobile has an additional component that outsiders seldom notice: they are actually far more dependent on reliable private transportation than are more conventionally categorized suburbanites. There are few job opportunities within or near East St. Louis. Most residents search for employment in St. Louis proper and its predominantly white and outerring suburbs on both the Missouri and Illinois sides. Catching or borrowing rides adds to the cumulative frustrations caused by such obvious burdens of poverty as shortage of food or money. Ideals of black masculinity have been linked to the automobile culture. Unemployment rates for African American men have always been significantly higher than those for whites.

Keywords: East St. Louis; cars; poverty; automobile culture; private transportation; black masculinity; African American; unemployment

Chapter.  5574 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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