Why are ethnographers so gullible and so easily fooled? For example, just as Margaret Mead was duped by several Samoan girls on the island of Ta’u when she wrote her classic book Coming of Age in Samoa, it appears that Alice Goffman (author of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City) was likewise duped by a small group of drug-dealing youths in Philadelphia, a group she romanticizes in her book. As one commentator has noted: “Spend time in the ghetto and you quickly learn that criminals are not victims. The corner boys in West Baltimore are not heading off to college once drugs are legal. They will find new scams. They like crime and the drug game is their version of the self-actualizing career. Take that away and they find a new way to terrorize their communities. There are good arguments against the drug war, but romanticizing these people is naive.”
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