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Abandoned in the HeartlandWork, Family, and Living in East St. Louis$
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Jennifer Hamer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520269316

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520269316.001.0001

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East St. Louisans and Their Cars

East St. Louisans and Their Cars

(p.58) Chapter Two East St. Louisans and Their Cars
Abandoned in the Heartland

Jennifer F. Hamer

University of California Press

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

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