A Contrast of the Society of the Sixth Street Residents in the Book: On Run and St. Paul School Students in the Book: Rights.

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Sociology ・MLA

Much has been written about cultural dimensions of elitism and their role in sociology within the American Society. The two works shade the true representation of reality within this society, contrary to the previous research, which focussed only on the cognitive disparities between the micro and macro levels of relationships between the two elite present in this society. The writer exploits the real expansion of sophisticated cultural elements at school to macro-set elite society in spite of their racial diversification and gender equality, based on scholarship allocation, in the book, Privilege: The Making of Adolestive Elites at St. Paul's School by Shamus Rahman Khan. While Alice Goffman, On The Run: Fugitive Life In An American City, shares real deal about untold forms of traditional cultural elitism among the African-American citizens on the Sixth Street. The two books use privileges as the form of socialization process based on previous nobility.

Privileges As Form of Expression in the Two Books

However, as described in the two books privileges are unidirectional and they move in a social direction that only favors the macro-elites ones; with power and status quo rather than decency and integrity. Thus, privileges are a form of expression to macro-elites but a curse to the micro-elites in the American society culture. Hence, privileges a key feature in description of the differences between the cultural aspects found in the two book's settings.

Education, Knowledge and Youth Life

The youths in the Sixth Street society experience poor quality of education compared to those at St. Paul's school. Furthermore, there is much violation and harassment the youths from the Sixth Street face from the local authority because of historical stereotypes' set against the African-American people in the American society. The lives of the youths in the Sixth Street is tough and embodied with worst struggles, and inaccessibility to resources and funds dissimilar to the students at the St. Paul's School. The students at St. Paul are considered as elites in the American society; hence they experience the best education and access to resources.


Alice, narrates she had to abandon her previous stylish lifestyle and adopt the junk way of life (local culture) at neighborhood which leads to her losing most of her college friends (Goffman 88). This was very different from the habit of the people at St. Paul School; they dressed in the modern, official and formal way. Khan, often referred to students carrying out themselves in a civilized manner as elites (Shamus 116).


The students at St. Paul School use formal language for communication. Moreover, they have full command of the English language: fluency and flexibility. Rahman, views them as very professional in their mode of expression and communication. Unlike, the people on the Sixth Street who use slang and jargon for communication. To understand what the People on the Sixth Street were saying, one had to live among them and be breed in their words, and phrases.


St. Paul’s students are always dressed in informal and executive attires according to School policies whilst people on the Sixth Street who are dressed casual, semi-casual and others in junk dressing: baggy jeans and T-shirts on several occasions.


At St. Paul, people indulge in healthy eating habits: organized balanced diets and timely meal taking habits. Moreover, they practice better food standards preparation and sanitation. While the people on the Sixth Street rarely practice health eating habits, they enjoy junk foods which are fatal to their health. Alice, records that some households seldom practice standard food preparation and sanitation procedures.


Additionally, religion is yet another cultural aspect vividly reflected differently between the peoples at Sixth Street and St. Paul's School. The people, at St. Paul's are religiously organized: they attend Catholic Church services every Sunday. However, the People on Sixth Street are divergent in matters of their religion. At Sixth Street there are Muslims, Christians and pagans.

Arts and Recreation

The people on the Sixth Street recreational activities entails watching ball and listening to music: hip-pop and R&B. Furthermore, they play basketball and chase while the St. Paul’s students form of entertainment are very modern and classy. Most of senior students are involved in


The Sixth Street people are law breakers, most of them are involved in illegal activities: selling and using drugs, rubbery and evading the law. Alice refers the neighborhood as violent and insecure (Goffman 178). When, the St. Paul is full of law abiding citizens. The people at St, Paul’s are taught to be good citizens and never evade the law. This registers good parenting values. Which is dissimilar at Sixth Street where children are taught and encouraged to become fugitives of the law?


The people at the students at St. Paul live in better and well-constructed houses compared to people at the Sixth Street who live old buildings which are poorly maintained.


St. Paul’s students have more organized leadership system. In addition to student leadership, the school admiration, is organized and properly managed compared to The Sixth Street people who have very poor system of leadership and organization as a community.

Customs and Traditions

The Sixth Street people have very different beliefs compared to the Students at St. Paul’s school. The students’ points of view regarding politics and philosophy in the society vary from the people at the Sixth Street, who believe they have no political say in the society. Furthermore, the sixth street people believe it’s their life way to break the law and become fugitives.

Sociology of Culture in the Two Books

Social Behavior and interaction

Social injustice refers to unfair treatment against a group of people based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and age. Rahman narrates about the social injustices against ladies based on their sexuality and gender despite the equal number of the male and female students in the (114). Regardless of, the racial diversification present in the school, racial discrimination is present against the African-America students in the school. In Alice's book On The Run; Racial discrimination is a big nightmare to the citizen in the Sixth Street from the white police. The writer uses words such as hunt, and on the run to exemplify the intensity of the violence to the people they phase from the local police and other authorities. She even describes the Sixth Street neighborhood as a place of danger: Home becomes a place of risk and danger (Goffman 128). This is a completely opposite to people at St. Paul School who’s homes are safe and healthy place.

Social Stratification and organization of the people

The social and economy stratification in the St. Paul's School seems very sophisticated and organized when juxtaposed with the way life on the Sixth Street. This is because of an unequal history of racialism associated with wealth accumulation. In addition Khan even comment's the hierarchies are natural and they can treat as ladders, not ceiling, (Shamus 14) which we keep on climbing like chaos in life. Furthermore, the hierarchal division of the students at St. Paul's school is evident while people at Sixth Street have experienced minimal hierarchal division, they seem equal.


Regardless of the difference between the two society's aspects as revealed in the two books, it's a fact that there are similar social injustices, democratic inequality, and inequalities but at different levels and forms. Moreover, the two societies share other similar aspects like religion, parenting, and education.

A summary of St. Paul School Privileges as Reflected on Todd Purdom’s Article in the issue of the Vanity Fair


The St. Paul's School is among the top prestigious and recommended institutions for students to attend, because of quality education and moral guidance offered; in America. This is notable due to the fact that the previous graduates from the school have a far great impact on the society. The attributions and contributions are directly linked to the school's worthwhile extracurricular activities and the uniqueness the mode of education. In addition to the basic, advance and society cognitive education offered, the teachers and lecturers at the institution are best, and they bring out the best out of the students. However, what transpired on May, 30th 2014 between a senior scholar-athlete and fifteen-year-old minor student might have changed people's view and perception about the School worth and impact to society (T. Purdum). Even though the school is not to be judged but only the students who participate in these activities ought to be thrown in the jaws of condemnation.

Many associate these misdeeds to vast privileges and entitlements given to students at the school and other factors such as school policies and regulations. It's not worth to advocate such an association because these school's policies and regulations are among the very factors that play a very elemental role in modeling the best graduates from St. Paul's School. Unlike, other renowned institutions, St. Paul's students are gifted with entitlements and decencies according to the School's policies. Furthermore, the students are the only priority in the school, and often treated with the best of practices and courtesy. However, the previous events and happenings in human history register too much of something if not handled wisely is poisonous and dangerous to one's well-being. It's fact, the students' entitlements and privileges are not being overseen by the school authority. Hence, these privileges are the core cause of inequalities and other social misdeeds in the school.

The School's senior students and those in leadership have unlimited access to most of the school resources as compared to other students. Furthermore, these students are the most advantaged, and they seem expandable. It's not easy to punish them, and if a case is presented against them to the school authority they always win. Due to this reason, they are able to prey and exploit on the junior students. Todd highlights this as one main reason why Vanity Fair events did occur.

Especially the male senior students in leadership and various extra-curricular activities take advantage of their position to prey on the naive female junior students. Moreover, the school does not monitor and regulate the use of the internet and computer services like social network and emails, which is the mode of communication among various students in the school. The naïve use of these computer services is one of the main reason why there various cases of sexual assault in the school. The article registers the internet: email and Facebook as the tool used by senior male students to lure their victims: junior female students (Purdum).

Besides, the privilege of student leaders and senior male students to have the right to access school unauthorized rooms at odd times and even own copies of keys to these rooms played a role in the elevation of the sexual assaults and other vices. These rooms made it easy for the senior students to prey, and assault the junior female students. The sad part is that the male senior student interpreted, and authenticated their deeds as a form of school traditions meant to welcome the female students to school life (Gersen 12). The article also provides insights that the Vanity Fair nest of action was in the room with limited access to students but he had access despite the school policies (Purdum).

Additionally, the power mandated to senior students in the process of awarding other students, and to superintend the vetting of other students' eligibility requirements merits to be awarded. The male senior students also used this as an additional scheme to entice their victims. On most occasions, these cases end up unreported to the school administration because of fear, and shame. The female students fear that the school administration will primitively protect their leaders and push the entire blame on them. Moreover, suing the school students may not be a smart move because the school will want cushion and shield its notable decorative substantial reputations and fellow students will condemn the victim. The research and interviews Todd did, reveals that the senior students were very advantaged compared to the minor students.

The school's traditions also reveal social injustices based on race and sexuality (Shamus 114). It's evident that the male students often mistreat female students, despite the equal number of female and male students. Likewise, the male ego and superiority complex is another element that plays a key role in gender-based inequality in the school (Shamus 114). The senior male students feel it's their right to lure and have the sexual relationship with junior female students. What they don't understand rape isn't about the use of force, however, it's the absence of informed consent and understanding of the participating parties. A culture that exists in our society which many male adolescents endorse in claim it allows boys to be boys whilst hurting the female child in the society (Purdum). It's very sad to note the junior female students are not at the age to negotiate consent thus they end up the victims of sexual assault in most cases. Todd's article reveals that the culture: a senior male athlete sleeping with junior female students has been long in play for many years at the school.

Rather than to control these student's privileges, Purdum proposes, students should be taught set of skills aiming at improving the utility of these and endorsing such advantages. This would help the students to use such opportunities maturely and in the correct worth way as needed with the society.

After carrying his interviews and research Todd discovers; the school's administration lethargic nature to comprehensively oversee students' activities, school safety, and reporting procedures, and clarification of school rules, may have made students to overrate their privileges. This even made many of the senior students to feel untouchable and expandable to any authority in the school. Such a feeling cultivates and motivates them to participate in vices, hoping and knowing no responsive action will be done against them. In Vanity Fair article, Todd points out that most of the senior student often felt like they were the owners of the school.

We learn from our mistakes, the school altered most of its policies that favored the students and would lead to any mistreatment against any student based on gender, sexuality and other factors. Moreover, the school administration claimed new facets of rules and regulations that would minimize on social injustices. Students actions are now been taken into account, and their moves monitored within the school. The student's privileges have cut down into measurable, tangible and goal oriented entitlements. Purdum suggests eradicating such behaviors, everyone in the society needs to take responsibility for the upbringing of our students. Every cultural aspect: religion and education should be geared to promoting skills and knowledge meant to make students understand endorses their privileges. And they should be taught not to hurt the weak ones in the society.

Works Cited

Goffman, Alice. On The Run: the fugitive in American City (2005)

Khan, Shamus Rahman. Privilege: The Making Of An Adolescent Elite At St. Paul's School Princeton Studies In Cultural Sociology (2003)

Jeasanie Gersen "St. Paul’S School and a New Definition of Rape". The New Yorker, 2017

Purdum, Todd. "St. Paul’S before and after the Owen Labrie Rape Trial". The Hive, 2017,

Liu, Bolei. "Book Review: Khan, Shamus Rahman. 2011. Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul's School. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press." Qualitative Sociology Review 10.2 (2014).

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