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Accusations of Alice Goffman's Dishonesty

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  3. POSSIBLE PROBLEMS IN THE WORK
  4. I am reaching out to you about Ms. Alice Goffman, who is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Below, I provide you ample empirical evidence to support an investigation into substantial research misconduct on the part of Ms. Goffman in her book On the Run and in her American Sociological Review article "On the Run." Given the high regard in which Ms. Goffman and her work are held, you may be skeptical about this document. But I invite you at least to scroll down these many pages of careful substantiation before you form an opinion. To make this task easier for you, I've prefaced each point with a short statement in boldface. I ask you at least to read through the boldfaced parts below, since they will give you a feeling for what is contained herein. Taken together all the boldfaced parts come out to just a few pages of reading. Then, if you are still unsure, I invite you to read through the very first point (easy to understand without any fore knowledge) to reassure yourselves of the groundedness of my concerns. (Let me note that I have not arranged these points in order of severity. Later points sometimes are of lesser severity and sometimes of greater severity.) Private information intended for research ethics procedures has been redacted in the version you are receiving.
  5. This critique is based on fact-checking Ms. Goffman's research against publicly available information, such as Philadelphia police homicide data and publicly available residential address records. This critique is also based on a close textual reading of her publications as well as a review of her speaking engagements posted online, highlighting inconsistencies and contradictions that cast serious doubt on the truthfulness of her accounts. Now, typically authors might have a few problems in their work due to errors of some sort and ethnographers might change a few facts to protect their subjects' identity. But the appearance of literally dozens of factual problems, falsification of quotations, textual inconsistencies, improbabilities, and impossibilities as well as self-aggrandizing exaggerations in Ms. Goffman's work are too plentiful to be dismissed. Moreover, there is no sensible explanation (for example, protecting personally identifiable information) for certain implausible accounts she tells. Below, across more than fifty pages filled with careful substantiation, you will read about nearly four dozen problems in a (partially) arbitrary order. If even just a portion of the below problems are what they seem to be, then this will suggest serious research misconduct, possibly including data fabrication, data falsification, data destruction, sloppiness, and failure to protect her subjects' anonymity.
  6. To be clear, this is not a political critique, nor is it a critique about white privilege. Instead, it is a critique about possible dishonesty. In ethnographic research so much evidence is unavailable to the reader that even a few instances of dishonesty by the ethnographer raise questions as to the truthfulness of the rest of the work. This is very similar to how a few moments of dishonesty by journalists alter perceptions of their reports' veracity. There is evidence that Brian Williams told three implausible tales, Bill O'Reilly told two implausible tales, and Ms. Goffman told many more. In the end, it is the preponderance of the problems that casts a long shadow over the genuineness and quality of this work.
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  8. Problem 1: Ms. Goffman says that Alex (all names in her writings are pseudonyms), one of the main characters in her book and article, did not give her permission to take fieldnotes about him. She also says that she complied and did not take any fieldnotes about him. If this is the case, why does she have 31 lines of direct quotes from him in her book and 16 lines of direct quotes from him in her article? And why does she embellish these quotes with observation¬like descriptions of laughing, nodding, yawning, et cetera? Ms. Goffman herself states in her article that she would only use quotation marks if she had "[written] down what people said as they spoke (by typing it directly onto a laptop or by using a cell phone text message)" (American Sociological Review, Footnote 4, pg. 342). So what explains these direct quotes and descriptions? Did she take fieldnotes on Alex anyway? Or are those quotes and observation-like descriptions made up?
  9. In Ms. Goffman's October 11, 2014 C-Span talk, she says that she did not take any fieldnotes about Alex in order to comply with his wishes:
  10. It is really interesting that you talk about putting things in the book that people don't necessarily want you to put in....For me, I didn't want to put in anything that people didn't want in there....When I first talked to [Alex] about the book, he was extremely suspicious of me and didn't want to be in it. He was basically like, you don't know anything about this. You have no right to be writing this. And I said, okay, I will not put you in any of the fieldnotes [emphasis mine]. We can still hang out but you won't be in any of the notes. And that was our understanding. Years later when [the book] was much closer to being done, he called me and said, 'I just heard I am not in the book. What the fuck.' And I was like, don't you remember like seventeen years ago... five and a half years ago we had this whole conversation? And he was like, 'What do you mean, I've got so many things that could be in the book.' And he just started rattling them off. So I was like, my gosh, okay. I'll put you on the first page of the book (C-Span, minutes 44:40-46:00; I took out uhms and likes, and similar for readability).1
  11. From the above quote we learn that Ms. Goffman was not taking fieldnotes about Alex, since he denied her permission to do so and she complied. However, she never mentions this fact in her book's body or in her article; it never appears in the book's endnotes or in its Methodological Note section. Moreover, in her article, she says that she only uses quotes when she "wrote down what people said as they spoke (by typing it directly onto a laptop or by using a cell phone text message)" {American Sociological Review, Footnote 4, pg. 342). Let me repeat: Ms. Goffman herself clarifies her rule about when to use quotes and when not to use them. All of the above makes it especially troubling that there are, by my count, 31 lines of direct quotations from Alex in her book and 16 lines in her article. The 16 lines of direct quotes in her article also appear in the book. Below, I provide you with the two large quotes that appear in both the article and the book and one quote that appears only in the book.
  12. 1 http://www.c-span.org/video/7321984-4/panel-discussion-race-inequality. It is important to listen to the portion I indicated from the audio rather than just to glance through the accompanying transcript, since the transcript is poorly done and distorts the actual words Ms. Goffman uses.
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  14. The first quote comes from one of the two most memorable stories in her book. And just like Ms. Goffman says she promised Alex in her C-Span quote above, she put him on the very first page of the book. This dialogue centers around Alex's decision not to seek medical treatment after being pistol-whipped, an event during which his teeth are knocked out and his jaw broken. According to Ms. Goffman, Alex suffers permanent disfigurement instead of going to the hospital. Also, in the book, the quote is preceded by numerous other quotes by Alex in a back-and-forth dialogue. She writes: "Mike usually won when the guys played craps...After a pair of nines, Alex started in on Mike. 'You a selfish, skinny motherfucker, man.' 'Niggas is always gonna hate,' Mike grinned. [Now Alex] 'You think you better than everybody, man. You ain't shit!' Chuck laughed softly at his two best friends. Then he yawned and told Alex to shut his fat ass up... 'Can I get a cheesesteak?' Alex interjected. 'Man, take your fat ass in the house,' Chuck laughed' " (pg. vii). Note how Ms. Goffman makes it look like she has actually observed and taken notes on the conversation through her use of quotation marks. Moreover, she uses various language devices to make these quotes sound like an observational account. For example, she says she observed Mike "grin" at Alex, Chuck "laugh" and "yawn," and Alex "interject." This story is in the Prologue to the book and is the first thing a person reads when they open her book. Here is the large block quote appearing in both the book's Prologue and in the article (pg. ix and American Sociological Review, pg. 348):
  15. That night, Alex called his cousin who was studying to be a nurse's assistant to come stitch up his face. In the morning, he repeated his refusal to avail himself of medical care:
  16. All the bullshit I done been through [to finish his parole sentence], it's like, I'm not just going to check into emergency and there come the cops asking me all types of questions and writing my information down and before you know it I'm back in there [in prison]. Even if they not there for me some of them probably going to recognize me then they going to come over, run my shit [run a check on his name]....I ain't supposed to be up there [his parole terms forbade him to be near 6th Street where he was injured]; I can't be out at no two o'clock [his curfew was ten]. Plus they might still got that little jawn [warrant] on me in Bucks County [for court fees he did not pay at the end of a trial two years earlier]. I don't want them running my name, and then I got to go to court or I get locked back up.
  17. Again, let me point out that the above quote is set apart by Ms. Goffman deliberately as a block quote. If she wasn't taking fieldnotes about Alex, as she claims, and this quote is from roughly 2004, as a number of details indicate it is (to be discussed later in this document), then how was she able to produce this direct quote? She says in the above C-Span quote that it was around the time her book was nearing completion that she and Alex had this conversation about including him. This would be long after 2004, since her dissertation was defended in 2010 and her book was published in 2014.
  18. A totally different series of quotes from an exchange between Alex and Donna appear both in her article and her book. These quotes are used by Ms. Goffman to demonstrate how women
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  20. use threats of arrest to limit the freedom of the men in their lives who are living with warrants or on parole. She writes (American Sociological Review, pg. 348):
  21. In the early morning after a party, Mike and I drove Alex back to Donna's apartment. She was waiting on the step for him:
  22. Donna: Where the fuck you been at?
  23. Alex: Don't worry about it.
  24. Donna: You must don't want to live here no more.
  25. Alex: Come on, Don. Stop playing.
  26. Donna: Matter of fact I'll give you the choice [between prison or a halfway house].
  27. Alex: Come on, Don.
  28. Donna: Uhn-uhn, you not staying here no more. I'm about to call your P.O. now, so you better make up your mind where you going to go.
  29. Alex: I'm tired, man, come on, open the door.
  30. Donna: Nigga, the next time I'm laying in the bed by myself that's a wrap [that's the end].
  31. The book quote, while almost identical, does have some differences (pg. 100). But here again, both in the book and in her article, she indents this conversation, indicating it is a direct quote.
  32. One last Alex quote that occurs only in the book deserves special focus. This quote appears towards the end of the book in the hospital scene, right after Chuck has died. The story of Chuck being shot in the head and his death at the hospital consumes the last ten pages in the book (pgs. 251-261). Also, this story is talked about by many reviewers and is the climatic end of her book. There is a moving moment shortly after Chuck's death where Ms. Goffman, Mike, and Alex are in the hospital room with Chuck's body still in the bed. Alex is talking about revenge, "and Alex said, 'Please—somebody gon'die regardless,' and Mike nodded his head in agreement, and Tanesha, too. Alex counted one, two, three, four with his fingers. The number of people who would die" (pg. 256). Again, her use of quotation marks and devices like Mike nodding his head all give the distinct impression that this is real ethnographic data, via quotes of conversations. And Malcolm Gladwell in his August 11, 2014 New Yorker article about her book features this exact same quote from Alex, noting that the last ten pages in her book are "devastating."2 Mr. Gladwell does not know, nor do his readers know, that Ms. Goffman's quotes (by her admission in her C-Span talk) seem to be made up. Only people who have listened to her C-Span talk could be aware of this admission on her part.
  33. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/oct/09/americas-front-lines/
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  37. Two of the most important stories in the book thus involve quotes from Alex that are apparently just made up. The book also has even more quotes from Alex, totaling 31 lines of direct quotation (see pgs. vii-ix, 100-101, pg. 233, pg. 256). If Ms. Goffman had said in her book and article that she was reconstructing these events from her memory many years later and that these quotes are for dramatic effect, that might have been okay, I guess. But she never says that. In fact, in the article she says she only uses quotes when it is directly from something a person says and when she was able to take notes about the conversation shortly thereafter. From her own statement in her article, she is stating that these two large block quotes above are in fact direct quotes from Alex. Yet, in her C-Span talk says she did not take any notes about Alex, respecting his wishes. In other words, it is not a case where she could claim she was taking the fieldnotes anyway over his objections, because in the C-Span exchange she says she did not take any such fieldnotes. Such misuse of quotations is a serious problem for something that purports to be scientific research. Falsification of dialogues with quotes is not okay. In fact, falsification of quotes fits the very definition of research falsification: changing or misreporting data.
  38. Ms. Goffman's book has received praise for its novelistic style, making it an interesting read. However, it is one thing to have a novelistic style of writing by intelligent selection of quotes from fieldnotes and quite another thing to be making up quotes. In ethnography, conversations and observations are the data. This makes it especially troubling that these quotes are from some of the main and most lengthy stories in the book that are used to back up her analyses. As you will discover as you read through this document, her numerous conflicting accounts suggest she does not have the high level of memory a person would need in order to be able to remember many years later such conversations and whether people are yawning, nodding, laughing, grinning, and interjecting during those conversations. Perhaps these adverbs are indicative of something more than falsification of quotes: in a worst-case scenario, fabrication out of whole cloth.
  39. Problem 2: Building on Problem 1, Ms. Goffman's claim about Alex changing his mind about being in "the book" "years later when [it] was much closer to being done" seems questionable given that there are already quotes from Alex in her American Sociological Review article (published June 2009, but most likely would have been written and sent into the Journal in 2008). Ms. Goffman "had to write a dissertation" (pg. 205) in 2008, received a dissertation writing fellowship for 2009, and defended her dissertation in 2010, so was "the book" really nearing completion as far back as 2008, when she submitted the article, with Alex quotations in it, to the Journal?
  40. Consider the time frames of Ms. Goffman's article, book, and C-Span talk. Ms. Goffman explains, in the C-Span quote above, that as her book was nearing completion Alex became aware that he was not in the book. Ms. Goffman reminded him that, way back when, he said he did not want to be in the fieldnotes and she complied. Then to make Alex happy, Ms. Goffman says she put his story at the front of her book. Therefore, one would not expect to have seen stories of Alex in her earlier works, because she says that it was as her book was nearing completion that she included him in it. The issue here is that her June 2009 American Sociological Review article discussed above, which included numerous lines of Alex quotes, was
  41.  
  42. written before her book. Given the journalistic process, a 2008 time frame is likely for when she wrote that article and probably even for when she submitted it for publication. Also, she says it is when the book was nearing completion that Alex asked her to add him in. Therefore, he did not ask her early on in the book writing process. I know it is hard to fathom that a person would make up such stories about Alex, even including a conversation with him about being in the book or not, but I am afraid these stories don't seem likely to have happened. As you will see in Problems 22-26 below, there are several other serious problems in her other accounts about Alex, including three contradictory stories and one implausibility again raising the question if this Alex material is all invented out of whole cloth.
  43. Problem 3: Ms. Goffman's four-page ethnographic account of attending Juvenile Court is puzzling at best and downright impossible at worst because she describes an open court room—but Juvenile Court in Philadelphia is closed.
  44. In Philadelphia, Juvenile Court is a closed system with closed courtrooms. A juvenile court case is heard with only the family and those involved in the case in the room. Persons from other cases are not in the courtroom listening to other cases while they wait for their case to be called (whereas adults often hear cases about other adults, as adult court is an open system). I encourage you to call the Philadelphia Juvenile Court at 215-686-4000, and they will confirm the closed court process for juvenile cases.
  45. Ms. Goffman mentions attending juvenile court as part of her ethnography of 6* h Street, which is a pseudonym for the few-block area she studied. While mostly she just provides her insights without reference to fieldnotes, there is one long ethnographic account about Juvenile Court from her fieldnotes. It spans four pages (pg. 108-111). A reader knows that she is in attendance at Juvenile Court because Tim is a juvenile (age 13) and because she says she goes to "Room K of the Juvenile Courthouse" (pg. 108). Room K is the waiting room. After about a page of describing the waiting room, it is on pg. 109 that the story takes an implausible turn. Ms. Goffman describes going from the waiting room into a smaller courtroom. The problem with her account that follows is that Ms. Goffman describes not a closed courtroom, as is the process in the Philadelphia Juvenile system, but rather an open courtroom: "We move to a small courtroom now, where we sit on long benches and wait for a judge to appear and begin hearing the cases. In the rows around us sit mothers and their sons, some with their younger children also....Two guards stand at the front, and public defenders and some case managers sit in the front row. A thin white woman, who I assume is a public defender, stands and turns towards us and calls a name; no one replies. She calls another name, and a boy and his mother or guardian approach her and speak in muffled voices....The judge emerges from a door behind the bench, and the guard asks us to stand and then be seated....Eventually, Tim's name is called, and he walks with his mother to the front desk. The judge asks if a certain person is here; I assume this is the teacher. The prosecutor says, 'No, Your Honor, I do not believe he is here, but I did reach him last night, and he told me he was planning to be here.' The public defender, the judge, and the prosecutor all look at their calendars and go back and forth for a while until they find a good date to continue the case" (pgs. 109-110). Ms. Goffman's description of attorneys and their clients being called to the bench in front of others and having their cases heard is clearly of an open courtroom process. Again, she says this four-page account is from
  46.  
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  49. her fieldnotes taken during that visit. So this is not a case of an imperfect memory. Moreover, a person who has attended Juvenile Court in Philadelphia would have known that the system is a closed system. The disparity between her account of Juvenile Court and how Juvenile Court works in Philadelphia is suggestive of fabrication of ethnographic research.
  50. Problem 4: Ms. Goffman seems to have a lot of trouble being consistent with even with the simplest of ethnographic details. Notably, she even flip-flops on how many blocks she is defining as her 6th Street primary field site. This is supposed to be a serious scientific study by an ethnographer who says she studied 6th Street for six years, so what explains why she can't even keep straight something as fundamental as the number of blocks making up her primary field site?
  51. Throughout this document you will see numerous examples of Ms. Goffman's inconsistency surrounding larger factual issues, and interspersed with those larger factual problems will be even more examples of her presenting simple facts inconsistently. This section discusses one such simple thing that she presents inconsistently.
  52. Ms. Goffman's field work centers on an area she calls 6th Street, and she claims to have conducted a house-to-house survey there. Moreover, she repeatedly reports precise counts of beatings she witnessed, police raiding houses, men running from police, and so forth, all taking place on 6th Street. And multiple times she describes 6th Street as a five-block area. However, multiple other times she says it is a four-block area. Notice her varied descriptions in the quotes below:
  53. The five blocks known as 6th Street are 93 percent Black, according to a survey of residents that Chuck and I conducted in 2007 (American Sociological Review pg. 342).
  54. Chuck and I did a neighborhood survey of one summer of residents in this four block radius of 6th Street (Irving K. Barber Learning Center, Minute 14:00-14:25).3
  55. 6th Street is a wide commercial avenue, and the five residential blocks that connect to it from the south form an eponymous little neighborhood (pg. 3).
  56. "The first year and a half I spent in this four-block radius, I took notes every day about what was happening" (New School, minute 20:00-20:45).4
  57. In her September 2, 2014 Irving K. Barber presentation (quoted above), Ms. Goffman says three times over the course of fifty minutes that her observational counts are from the four-block area she calls 6th Street. The one quote above and also the two quotes below from this presentation all reference four blocks: "I watched the police stop pedestrians or people in cars, search them, run their names to see if any warrants came up, ask them to come in for questioning, or make an arrest every single day with five exceptions in the first eighteen months in this four-block area" (Irving K. Barber, minute 21:20-21:45); and "I saw young men
  58. 3       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz2XVtCAbqg
  59. 4       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcsoXnVxkDU
  60. i
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  62. running from police 111 times, more than once every five days, just in these four blocks (Irving K. Barber, minute 26:20-26:40).5 This is not a case of someone misspeaking just once. In addition, Ms. Goffman repeats this four-block number at her New School talk. Also, since in both her book and article she describes it as a five-block area, this is not the case of a one-time typo. So did she study a five-block area or a four-block area? Such a lack of consistency about the number of blocks she is studying is not as trivial as it may sound to those outside social science (or science in general). This is especially the case since the vast majority of her numerical data are from her 2003-2004 observational counts and her 2007 survey. It is hard to imagine that someone who did counts and conducted a survey of a small area that they claim to have spent six years studying can't keep straight how many blocks they studied. This is akin to someone flip-flopping between claiming to have studied a new drug in 80 people and then later claiming instead to have studied the new drug in 100 people (4:5 ratio).
  63. This is a smaller point, but careful definition of one's field sites and of what one means by neighborhood really does matter in this type of ethnography. One would think this would be elementary for any ethnographer. It is remarkable that Ms. Goffman ended her book with a Methodological Note that's no less than fifty pages long. She includes in that Methodological Note all kinds of reflections on herself, her changing state of mind and feelings at different points during and after her ethnographic fieldwork, and she even ends, as mentioned before, with a lengthy narrative (on Chuck's death) that didn't necessarily belong in such an appendix. But nowhere in those fifty pages does Ms. Goffman speak explicitly, clearly, and transparently about these more obviously methodological kinds of questions, which still are unanswered.
  64. Problem 5: Ms. Goffman's observation that in December 2002 the 6th Street area had police surveillance cameras is erroneous. Philadelphia did not install police cameras until 2006. This is a strange error for a sociologist doing immersion ethnography for six years, studying police surveillance in an area she defines as spanning four or five blocks.
  65. As part of her ethnographic evidence of an intense surveillance system of black poor youth in her field site, she describes the area when she first visits in December 2002: "By 2002,...police video cameras had been placed on major streets" (pg. 4). The same description appears in her article: "By 2002, curfews were established around 6th Street for those under age 18 and video cameras had been placed on major streets" (American Sociological Review, pg. 342). She also tells the same story that in 2002 there were police cameras in the 6th Street area: "In 2002...video cameras have been placed on major streets" (Irving K. Barber, Minutes 20:50-21:30).6 However, the Philadelphia Police Department received a grant for cameras and began installing cameras in 2006 as part of a pilot project: "The project, which began in 2006 as a pilot under Mayor John F. Street, has been plagued with setbacks from the beginning" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/21/2012).7 Moreover, Philadelphia did not even have red light cameras to catch
  66. 5       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz2XVtCAbqg
  67. 6       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz2XVtCAbqg
  68. 7 http://articles.philly.com/2012-06-21/news/32353087_l_cameras-police-officers-oversight
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  71. speeders until 2004, when the first one was installed on Roosevelt Blvd. (one of the three most dangerous roads for accidents in the USA): "The dangerous reputation of the road led to installation of the first red light cameras in Philadelphia in 2004" (Wikipedia: Roosevelt Blvd. Philadelphia).8 Therefore, this is not a case of Ms. Goffman mistaking red light cameras for police surveillance cameras, since neither existed in 2002.
  72. I would have expected to read something like in 2002 there were no cameras, but by 2006 cameras were being installed on the streets. A person would expect that the installation of cameras in the 6th Street area would have been a topic of conversation. Also, this would seem an important development for an ethnographer making an argument about increased surveillance creating a culture of "suspects and fugitives."
  73. Problem 6: Ms. Goffman presents a vivid and powerful account of Jay-Jay's murder at the hands of Tino. Her presentation of this account misleads a reader into thinking she has witnessed a murder. Reviewers have had this false impression, including Alex Kotlowitz, who in his June 26, 2014 the New York Times book review says that "she witnessed... two murders, one at the hands of a young man she was following, the other at the hands of a police officer."9 Ms. Goffman doesn't ever state straightforwardly that she never actually witnessed this murder of Jay-Jay at the hands of Tino. Only through careful cross-checking of an anecdote that appears 160 pages later, which does not mention Jay-Jay and Tino by name, can one realize that this is a secondhand account and not something she observed. Why mislead the reader in this way?
  74. (This section works from the premise that the events surrounding Jay-Jay's murder are true, even though there is good reason to believe, as outlined in Problem 7 below, that this account may very well not be true.)
  75. Background: The way Ms. Goffman organized her book is that each section is devoted to a particular topical area. For this reason, separate chapters of the book often make reference to the same incidences as other chapters but with a different focus and with different details of the same event provided. The problem that arises is that, when a reader compares the details of these chapters, very different pictures of the facts emerge. As you will see throughout this document, in many accounts she manipulates the reader through misleading presentations of the material, leading to multiple instances of reviewer and interviewer misinterpretation. The presentation of scientific material should not be so disorganized and misleading that multiple people have completely different understandings of a researcher's work, some of which are downright incorrect.
  76. There are two different accounts of Jay-Jay's murder in different sections of the book. The first makes it sound like Ms. Goffman witnessed Jay-Jay's murder and then the after-murder
  77. 8       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roosevelt_Boulevard_(Philadelphia)
  78. 9       http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/books/review/alice-goffmans-on-the-run.html?_r=0
  79.  
  80.  
  81. planning session (pg. 91-92). In the second account, she does not witness the murder but is there for the after-murder discussion. This has led to misunderstandings by reviewers, who believe she has witnessed Jay-Jay's murder. As you read how Ms. Goffman presents the first Jay-Jay murder account, ask yourself what your impression would be. She writes:
  82. During a dice game one evening, Tino put a gun to Jay-Jay's head and demanded all his
  83. th
  84. money. Tino had moved to 6 Street only a few months before, so Chuck and Mike considered him only a candidate member of the group—a recent transplant on probationary status. Jay-Jay, who was originally from 4th Street but a frequent guest on 6th, didn't think that Tino was seriously trying to rob him, and told him to stop playing. Tino had been "wetted" (that is, taking wet [PCP]) all weekend and was now humiliated by Jay-Jay's refusal to take his robbery seriously; he demanded again that Jay-Jay give him everything in his pockets. Jay-Jay again refused. By this time, Chuck and Reggie were yelling at Tino to put down the gun. Steve, also wetted out that night, was laughing—he didn't think that Tino had what it took to rob Jay-Jay or to shoot him, and said so. Tino pulled the trigger and Jay-Jay fell to the pavement. Later, sitting in the basement with Chuck, Reggie, Steve, and me, Tino held his knees and rocked back and forth, repeating, 'My intentions wasn't to shoot him'..Jay-Jay's death triggered what is called a war...After a couple of weeks, Chuck and Steve had both been shot—Chuck in the neck and Steve in the thigh (pg. 91-93).
  85. It is only 160 pages later, in the Methodological Note section, that the extremely attentive reader learns Ms. Goffman has not witnessed the murder but rather only the after-murder planning session. Here is the next quote about the incident. Please note that Ms. Goffman does not specify in this second account that Jay-Jay is the person murdered, adding to the difficulty in knowing that these two accounts are one in the same. Is she being deliberately confusing? She writes:
  86. Reggie, now nearly eighteen, phoned to tell me that a man who was loosely associated with the 6th Street Boys had killed a man from 4th Street during a botched robbery at a dice game. He insisted that I come immediately to his uncle's basement, where the guys were assembling to work out what to do next. I sat on top of the washing machine for four hours and listened while five men berated the shooter for his thoughtless actions [and] discussed what the fallout would be from this death...Through this emergency, it seemed I'd somehow been asked to come back to 6th Street—not as someone
  87. connected to Mike, but on my own steam....Over the following weeks, young men from 4th Street drove through the 6th Street neighborhood and shot up the block. Chuck took a partial bullet in the neck, and Steve took a bullet in his right thigh (pg. 250-251).
  88. Because of how the first account is written, it leads the reader to believe Ms. Goffman has witnessed this murder. Since in the second account she does not mention Jay-Jay's name and it comes 160 pages later, it is easy to see how a reader could continue to believe she was present at Jay-Jay's murder. I, for most of the book, felt deep sympathy towards her, believing she had witnessed a murder. I even considered the ethical dilemma she faced of telling the police or not. And so on and so forth, only to learn 160 pages later this was not the case.
  89. 10
  90.  
  91. While it is still significant that she says she was there for the aftermath, her misleading style of manipulating elements for dramatic effect has led to reviewer misinterpretation. As mentioned above, Alex Kotlowitz writes: "She witnesses a number of beatings and, by my count, two murders, one at the hands of a young man she was following, the other at the hands of a police officer....I'll also concede that I've never witnessed something as profoundly disturbing as a murder, and if I did, I suppose under certain circumstances, especially if I feared for my or my family's safety, I might be torn about coming forward. But I wish Goffman addressed this dilemma head-on."10 He calls her work a "remarkable feat of reporting."11 Malcolm Gladwell also remarks that "she mentions instances in which people killed someone."12 She has received accolades and much goodwill, in part, because of her bravery in the face of witnessing this murder that she did not see. She has never corrected, to my knowledge, such misunderstandings.
  92. Perhaps it is because the audience does not know she wasn't there for Jay-Jay's murder that certain questions have not been asked. For example, did she have Tino's permission to write about him, as she had been away from 6th Street for about two years at this point and Tino was new to the 6th Street area? Since he fled that night, did she really get his permission afterwards? This would have been a very interesting topic for her fifty-page-long Methodological Note section. But instead she focuses almost all the attention on herself during these fifty pages, including her feelings about her sexual attractiveness to guys at Princeton, getting pulled over for making a u-turn, getting a parking ticket, and so many other things (pg. 247-249).
  93. Problem 7: Ms. Goffman's story of Jay-Jay's apprehension by police many weeks after (in a different account) Jay-Jay was supposedly shot dead is impossible unless Jay-Jay has somehow risen from the dead. Adding to the absurdity is that Chuck takes a partial bullet to the neck shortly after Jay-Jay's murder (in a revenge shooting). And yet somehow Chuck already has the revenge partial bullet in his neck when Jay-Jay is apprehended. Was one or the other or both of these accounts fabricated? Because both accounts obviously can't be true.
  94. (This section draws on information contained in the preceding problem. Due to the textual complexity of this section, if you have any confusion after reading it, I would encourage you to review pages 92-92, 25-27, and 250-251.)
  95. Jay-Jay is featured in two important accounts in Ms. Goffman's book. (The first of these includes the two narratives covered in Problem 6.) I briefly outline the two accounts, highlight the problem between the two accounts, and then provide the textual evidence.
  96. As you shall see, the first account below is about Jay-Jay being shot to death at a dice game and
  97. 10      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/books/review/alice-goffmans-on-the-run.html?_r=0
  98. 11      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/books/review/alice-goffmans-on-the-run.html?_r=0
  99.  
  100. 12
  101.  
  102. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/oct/09/americas-front-lines/
  103.  
  104. 11
  105.  
  106.  
  107. the aftermath, including Chuck being shot and sustaining a "partial bullet" to the neck (a revenge shooting for Jay-Jay's murder). Also important to note is that it is on the evening of Jay-Jay's death in 2006 that Ms. Goffman, who had stopped studying 6th Street for nearly two years, is invited by Reggie to come back and record what has happened.
  108. As you shall see, the second account below is a story about Ms. Goffman, Chuck, and Reggie running from the police and is dated September 2006. As the story unfolds, Chuck is not running fast because of a partial bullet in his neck. Since it is Jay-Jay's death that gets Ms. Goffman invited back to study 6th Street in 2006, and Chuck is running slowly due to the partial bullet he took to the neck after Jay-Jay's murder, one would feel safe to assume that Jay-Jay would not appear in this story as he is already dead. I almost could not believe it when the story about them running from the police came to an end with Jay-Jay being taking away by the police! These scenarios are mutually impossible unless Jay-Jay has risen from the dead. In what follows, I provide textual evidence of the problem outlined here.
  109. Account 1: Jay-Jay's death
  110. Mike had been Ms. Goffman's primary connection to 6th Street. When he goes to jail in March 2004, she loses her connection to study 6th Street. She writes: "In March of 2004, Mike got sentenced to one to three years in state prison....But having not yet formed independent relationships with his friends and neighbors, I had no reason to hang out on 6th Street in Mike's absence" (pg. 164). Moreover, according to Ms. Goffman Mike serves his full sentence, approximately three years, in state prison before he is released. She explains, "After serving his full sentence in state prison, Mike returned to 6th Street in 2007" (pg. 251).
  111. It is the death of Jay-Jay in 2006 that gets Ms. Goffman invited back to study 6th Street while Mike is in jail. Ms. Goffman writes: "Reggie, now nearly eighteen, phoned to tell me that a man who was loosely associated with the 6th Street Boys had killed a man from 4th Street during a botched robbery at a dice game. He insisted that I come immediately to his uncle's basement, where the guys were assembling to work out what to do next. I sat on top of the washing machine for four hours and listened while five men berated the shooter for his thoughtless actions [and] discussed what the fallout would be from this death...Through this emergency, it seemed I'd somehow been asked to come back to 6th Street—not as someone connected to Mike, but on my own steam....Over the following weeks, young men from 4th Street drove through the 6th Street neighborhood and shot up the block. Chuck took a partial bullet in the neck [emphasis mine]" (pg. 250-251). An earlier but similar story, which also will be familiar from Problem 6 above, appears on pgs. 92-93, but in this version Ms. Goffman says who the victim is, namely Jay-Jay. "During a dice game...Tino put a gun to Jay-Jay's head and demanded all his money. Tino had moved to 6th Street only a few months before, so Chuck and Mike considered him only a candidate member of the group...Jay-Jay, who was originally from 4* Street but a frequent guest on 6th, didn't think that Tino was seriously trying to rob him...Tino pulled the trigger and Jay-Jay fell to the pavement. Later, sitting in the basement with Chuck, Reggie, Steve, and me, Tino held his knees and rocked back and forth...Jay-Jay's death triggered what is called a war...After a couple of weeks, Chuck and Steve had both been shot—Chuck in the neck [emphasis mine]" (pg. 92-93).
  112. 12
  113.  
  114. After reading the above quotes, we have learned that Reggie is "nearly eighteen." Therefore, we can ascertain that it is 2006 at the time, since Ms. Goffman says that in 2003 Reggie is fifteen (pg. 107). We have also learned that this is the event that gets Ms. Goffman invited back on 6th Street to study the people there without Mike (who is still in prison at the time). We have learned that Chuck takes a partial bullet to the neck. And we have learned Jay-Jay is dead. It is only by comparing the above account to her other account below that the implausibility of these accounts taken together can be known.
  115. Account 2: Jay-Jay's arrest after his death
  116. Ms. Goffman presents a long and detailed account, from fieldnotes dated as September 2006, of a police chase with Ms. Goffman, Chuck, and Reggie all running from the police through neighbors' houses. During this account Reggie is teasing Chuck. She writes:
  117. From fieldnotes taken in September 2006:... 'Look at yourself, nigga! You don't run for shit now with that little bit of shell in your shoulder,' Reggie responded, referring to the partial bullet [emphasis mine] that had lodged just below the back of Chuck's neck when he was shot the month before....Chuck got on the phone with his mother and then a neighbor to find out how many police were on his block and for whom they had come....Into the phone Chuck was saying, 'Damn. They got Jay-Jay? Damn' [emphasis mine] (pg. 26-27).
  118. As you can see from the textual evidence in the two accounts above, these two accounts cannot coexist. It is Jay-Jay's death that gets Ms. Goffman invited back to spend time again with Chuck and Reggie and the guys on 6th Street. It is during the aftermath of Jay-Jay's death that Chuck takes a partial bullet to the neck. Therefore, when Jay-Jay is apprehended by police it is impossible for Chuck to have in his neck that partial bullet he sustained as revenge for Jay-Jay's death, unless Jay-Jay has risen from the dead. Now, ethnographers sometimes change dates to protect their subjects, but there is no good ethnographic reason that explains away Chuck having a partial bullet in his neck (that he sustained as revenge for Jay-Jay's murder) when Jay-Jay is apprehended by police. This type of problem is often associated with a person who is lying and gets their stories wrong.
  119. Problem 8: Ms. Goffman says that Chuck was not allowed to reenroll in the Philadelphia school system because at age 19 he was too old. However, this is implausible because the Philadelphia school system does not have an age 19 barrier to reenroll. One wonders how Ms. Goffman would not have known this after so many years of supposedly careful, intensive, and immersive fieldwork, much of that time spent with young, high school age people. There are many students 19, 20, and 21 years of age in the Philadelphia high school system.
  120. As many Philadelphians know, there are numerous young adults in the public high schools who are well into their early twenties. There is no age 19 barrier to re-admittance even for students expelled. I encourage you to call the Philadelphia school system and you can verify what I am writing as factual. Here is their telephone number: 215-400-4000. Ms. Goffman writes that "Chuck" is barred from re-enrolling in Philadelphia public schools because he has turned 19: "Chuck tried re-enroll as a senior, but the high school would not admit him; he had already
  121. 13
  122.  
  123.  
  124. turned nineteen" (pg. 12). Ms. Goffman uses this example to highlight how educational options are closed to young men in Philadelphia. But again, that is not how the Philadelphia school system works; therefore her account and its implications for life chances are erroneous. It is hard for me to imagine that an ethnographer who claims to be spending so much time around high school boys and girls over the course of six years would not be aware that there is no age 19 limitation. She even tutored two high schools students, Aisha and Ray.
  125. Unfortunately, Ms. Goffman's erroneous ethnographic account has led the public into thinking that part of the problem is that Philadelphia public schools have an unreasonable age limitation. For example, in her NPR July 11, 2014 interview, after Ms. Goffman discusses Chuck being expelled, turning 19, and aging out of the system at 19, the interviewer says, "but he can't go back to school because he is too old," and Ms. Goffman responds, "but he is 19, so he can't go back to school" (NPR, minutes 4-5).13 Then Ms. Goffman and the interviewer go on to discuss how this age 19 limitation combined with warrants leads to a downward spiral. In addition, James Forman Jr. in his article also considers how Chuck's life chances could have been better, if only "the high school had allowed him to return and graduate."14 So Ms. Goffman's misinformation has led others into believing that an age 19 barrier to re-admittance to the public schools is part of the problem, when it is not part of the problem, because it is simply not true.
  126. Problem 9: In the paragraphs below, I provide examples of Ms. Goffman falsely or at best misleadingly stating in both spoken descriptions of her fieldwork and her written work itself that she lived in the 6th Street field site for six years. She did not. Multiple reviewers, not to
  127. mention large numbers of readers of her work and audience members at her talks, think she did. That she did not live in the 6th Street area stands directly at odds with the impression that has been propagated, by Ms. Goffman herself, of a totally immersive ethnographic fieldwork experience on 6th Street. A reader should not have to wade through competing statements in an attempt to gauge where she was living. (Later you will see there is ample reason to believe that Ms. Goffman lived a whopping forty blocks away from 6Th Street— hardly the total immersion she propagates.)
  128. In her article, Ms. Goffman tells us that "in the fall of 2002" she "moved into an apartment in the poor to working-class Black neighborhood in which [Aisha] lived" (American Sociological Review, pg. 341). She indicates that this location was "about 10 minutes away" from 6th Street. On pg. xii of the Preface of the book, she also states that she and Aisha would take a bus to see Ronny, one of the guys on 6th Street. She writes, "[Ronny] lived with his grandmother about ten minutes away by car. We started taking the bus to visit him there" (pg. xii). She also writes that 6th Street was about fifteen blocks away from Aisha's: "Between November 2002 and April of 2003,1 spent a large part of every day with Aisha and her friends and relatives, who lived about fifteen blocks away from 6th Street" (pg. 71). Elsewhere she explicitly contrasts the two neighborhoods in terms of poverty levels and crime rates, as we shall see in Problem 10. She
  129. 13http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Day+6/ID/2473032569/
  130. 14 http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/the-society-of-fugitives/379328/
  131. 14
  132.  
  133. suggests that her own neighborhood was even poor and more crime-ridden than 6th Street. Why is it, then, that so many readers and reviewers seem to have fallen under the impression that Ms. Goffman actually lived on 6th Street? Certainly Ms. Goffman has earned the respect of sociologists based on her accounts of moving from her campus apartment, forgoing the undergraduate experience of living amongst students, and living instead amongst her subjects in or very near the five blocks (or four blocks) she calls 6th Street—immersion ethnography. How has that occurred?
  134. The answer, here as in so many other places, is that Ms. Goffman seems to tell more than one story. Notice how, on the second page of her book, in her discussion of picking up Alex near 6th Street after his teeth are knocked out, she implies that she lived only a few blocks away from 6th Street: "We drove to my apartment a few blocks away" (pg. viii). More directly misleading is her comment, in an interview on C-Span, that she actually lived in the 6th Street neighborhood for six years: "I spent the next six years living in that neighborhood and getting to know [Mike's] friends and relatives" (C-span, minutes 9:45-10:30).15 In her May 31, 2014 New York Times Op-Ed piece, she also says she lived there: "In the time I lived there, we lost a number of young men to shootings."16 I could supply other examples as well where she uses the word "living" or "lived" (versus visiting, for example) in a way that makes it appear like she was living in or very near the five blocks (or four blocks) she calls 6th Street. Even her book cover seems to imply this: "Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia." (Did Ms. Goffman not approve the book cover?) The general impression is that her neighborhood and the 6th Street neighborhood were all but indistinguishable. In fact, when she writes in the New York Times Op-Ed piece that "I moved into a working-class-to-poor African-American neighborhood in Philadelphia, and got to know a group of friends in their teens and early 20s who hung out together in the alleyways and on back porches," the idea of her having lived somewhere else than on 6th Street completely vanishes.
  135. This lack of clarity (at best) or misrepresentation (at worst) is especially important because many scholars, reviewers, and interviewers have gotten the wrong impression about Ms. Goffman's place of residence and the nature of the "immersion ethnography" she conducted there. This includes noted reviewers such as Christopher Jencks, Jennifer Schuessler, and Malcolm Gladwell. For example, Christopher Jencks in his New York Review of Books article (October 9, 2014) tells readers that Ms. Goffman lived in the 6th Street area. Jencks writes: "After graduating from Penn, Goffman lived in the 6th Street area for another four years, takingnotes on everything she saw and heard, while pursuing a doctorate at Princeton."17 It is a real problem when the perception is that Ms. Goffman is living around 6th Street and taking notes on everything she is seeing and hearing, when in fact she did not live there. In addition, Jennifer Schuessler, in a New York Times article titled "The Field Work of Total Immersion"
  136.  
  137. 15
  138.  
  139. http://www.c-span.org/video/?321984-4/panel-discussion-race-inequality.
  140.  
  141. 16      http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/alice-goffman/
  142. 17      http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/oct/09/americas-front-lines/
  143.  
  144. 15
  145.  
  146. (April 29, 2014), explains that Ms. Goffman "has pursued a deeply immersive style of fieldwork that has made her a rising star in sociology."18 The New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell (August 11, 2014) also says that Ms. Goffman "had taken an apartment close by and lived in the neighborhood for the next six years."19 And at the NPR website there is a write-up about Ms. Goffman that states: "Alice Goffman decided to study the crime problem in a Philadelphia neighborhood by completely immersing herself in the life. Over the next six years, she lived in the neighborhood she calls 6th Street."20 These reviewers bear at least a small part of the responsibility for spreading this misleading information and for not noticing the disconnect between her narrations of "living" on 6th Street and the details in the book that say she lived in a different neighborhood. However, the misleading manner in which Ms. Goffman presents the material in her book and her misleading verbal narrations claiming to have lived on the five blocks (or four blocks) called 6th Street are mostly to blame.
  147. This therefore appears not to be the immersion sociology on 6th Street that many perceive it to be. In fact, if it is true that 6th Street is around the border between the yjSJfjjSffl and
  148. | sections of Philly (later you will see there is reason to believe it is), then Ms. Goffman lived forty blocks or some three miles away from 6th Street. Living forty blocks away is not the immersion level that even fifteen blocks implies. Ms. Goffman's style, where details are scattered throughout the book, combined with misleading narrations and statements, have led to confusion among readers and reviewers, when there should have been no confusion at all.
  149. Problem 10: Judging by publicly available residential address records, Ms. Goffman seems to have misled the audience as to the characteristics of the neighborhood in which she actually lived (the same neighborhood in Philly where Aisha and Ms. Deena lived), making it seem blacker, poorer, and more crime-ridden than it actually was. Also, Ms. Goffman's portrayal of needing a "black person" to help her rent an apartment in Aisha's and Ms. Deena's neighborhood seems made up for effect. Ms. Goffman's residence it seems was in a racially diverse area with many students; it is frequently described as a pleasant, safe, and desirable place to live. It is odd that she says it was a worse area than 6th Street, a five or four block area in which she says she attended nine or nineteen funerals for young men killed by gunfire over a seven-year period. In the five-block area surrounding her apparent address, there was not even one murder by gunfire over a seven-year period.
  150. (Note: All of the following analysis for Problems 10-11 is based on the reasonable assumption that public reports combined with a background check of Ms. Goffman's address history between 2002 and 2015 provide an accurate reflection of where she lived. [The background check is from a background checking company commonly used by employers to verify a person's identity and address history.] If in your investigation she is able to prove she lived somewhere
  151. 18      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/books/alice-goffman-researches-poor-black-men-in-on-the-
  152. run.html
  153. 19      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/ll/crooked-ladder
  154. 20http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Day+6/ID/2473032569/
  155. 16
  156.  
  157. else, please discard the information in Problems 10-11.1 would like to add here that this unusual background check, using publicly available information, became necessary because the acclaim for this book derives mostly from its purporting to be deeply immersive ethnography.)
  158. It is worth repeating that Ms Goffman has earned the respect of sociologists and reviewers based on her accounts of moving from her campus apartment, forgoing the undergraduate experience of living amongst students, and iiving instead amongst her subjects—immersion ethnography. Readers are provided a compelling story about Ms. Goffman's first time entering Ms. Deena's and Aisha's neighborhood (which is not 6th Street). Ms. Goffman explains that while walking around, "a young man asked me if I was a cop or a caseworker, there apparently being no other reason that a person like me would be in the area" (pg. 215). Moreover, in the endnotes on pg. 275, she says that at first she thought no white people lived in this neighborhood and that "the very few whites working and living in the neighborhood would often nod to me when we passed each other on the street, in the special way that minorities do when they chance upon another of their kind" (note 1, pg. 275). The search for an apartment becomes part of her ethnography as she details the problem she has with realtors who "were unwilling to rent to [her] in the Black section of the city" (pg. 217). She attributes this to the realtors thinking she is too good as a white person to live in this black neighborhood: "they often indicated I was too good for the apartments" (pg. 275). Eventually, but only with the help of Aisha's older sister (who is black) contacting realtors and setting up appointments on Ms. Goffman's behalf, Ms. Goffman is able to find an apartment in this black neighborhood (pg. 217). According to Ms. Goffman, she cleverly utilizes Aisha's older "black" sister to get realtors to rent to her so she can gain access to this apparently very black neighborhood.
  159. Ms. Goffman's ethnographic description of her neighborhood becomes in doubt when you find out where public records indicate she lived. According to a well-established background checking company used by employers to establish a person's residence and time at that residence, Ms. Goffman moved into an apartment at 241 S. 46th Street in the Walnut Hill neighborhood around October 2002. (You can easily find on the Internet several such background companies and, utilizing one or another of them, verify this information for yourself.) The background checking company I used also lists her stepfather Professor William Labov at that address, so we can be fairly confident this is the right Alice Goffman. In addition, it lists her current address in Madison, Wisconsin. Moreover, the date the report shows she moved into 241 S. 46th St. lines up closely with the time frame during which she says in her book she moved into Aisha's and Ms. Deena's neighborhood, namely, partway into her Sophomore year, making it 2002 (pg. 217).
  160. Ms. Goffman's Walnut Hill apartment was very close to six universities in the area; it was only five blocks away from the nearest university. Also, Wikipedia describes the Walnut Hill neighborhood as "a racially mixed neighborhood with a large seasonal student population" (Wikipedia search: Walnut, Hill Philadelphia). In addition, there are statistics and reviews of her area on StreetAdvisor.com, a widely known website for getting information about various areas throughout the US, including people's reviews of those areas. According to StreetAdvisor.com reviews, there are so many students living in Walnut Hill that universities have buses that go there to pick them up. "Spsimons" notes in her StreetAdvisor.com review that "Many of the
  161. 17
  162.  
  163. university buses service the area to prevent students from having to walk the blocks from school to home."21 Street Advisor's "Sweaverl213" writes, "The area enjoys a vibrant and diverse collection of residents including Italian Americans, African Americans, Middle Easterners and Asians...There are also a lot of students in the area due to Walnut Hill's close proximity with six of the city's colleges and universities. There are plenty of housing opportunities in Walnut Hill which include two and three-story row homes as well as a few apartment and condo complexes. It is a quiet area and does not have a lot of crime, which makes it an extra desirable location for young people who are looking for a safe and affordable area to live in. Walnut Hill's large houses and tree lined Streets make it pleasant."22
  164. Moreover, Ms. Goffman's apartment was located right where the Walnut Hill neighborhood ends and the Spruce Hill neighborhood begins, making it reflective of the even more affluent Spruce Hill area. It was exactly half a block in from Spruce Hill. Spruce Hill, by the way, is one of the most desirable areas for students to live in. "Spsimons" on StreetAdvisor.com elaborates: "Nestled just west of the University of Pennsylvania, Spruce Hill is as its name sounds: plenty of hills and numerous spruce trees. It is a bedroom community for students, faculty, staff, and medical personnel. Pennsylvania Presbyterian, Children's Hospital, The Wistar Institute, Penn's Hospital, Dental and Medical School are nearby. Walking or biking gives you access as well as trolley lines and bus routes. In a word, transportation is great."23 "Jammerz" from StreetAdvisor.com also provides some information about Spruce Hill: "Many of the large homes in Spruce Hill have been converted into apartments or rented out to groups of individuals, mostly college students. You can also find young professionals and small families living in this area as well. But it makes sense that it's an attractive area to students, it's close to campus and close to bars and restaurants. Not to mention off street parking is available and public transportation is easily accessible. Students do not have to travel far from campus or home to meet their needs."24
  165. So, if this address is correct, what is one to think about Ms Goffman's comment that no white people lived in her, Aisha's, and Ms. Deena's neighborhood (and that white people were nodding to other rare white people), when it is a racially diverse area with a large number of students? Also, if she lived in an area with a large student population, her story about her difficulty in renting an apartment and the necessity of having Aisha's "black sister" help her find an apartment seems peculiar. Did the numerous students who live in Walnut Hill also have to have "black persons" (if they were not black themselves) intervene to help them rent an apartment? I don't know the state of the real estate market's Internet presence in 2002 when she was looking for an apartment, but currently it is very easy to find a nice rental or a home to purchase there. Here are some options on her very same block. The first one for sale, right
  166. 21      http://www.Streetadvisor.com/walnut-hill-philadelphia-philadelphia-county-pennsylvania
  167. 22      http://www.Streetadvisor.com/walnut-hill-philadelphia-philadelphia-county-pennsylvania
  168.  
  169. 23
  170. 24
  171.  
  172. http://www.Streetadvisor.com/spruce-hill-philadelphia-philadelphia-county-pennsylvania http://www.Streetadvisor.com/spruce-hill-philadelphia-philadelphia-county-pennsylvania
  173. 18
  174.  
  175. across the street, is a truly lovely home listed for $419,000; click on the URL to take a tour.25 Also provided with a URL are two nice apartments just doors away from Ms. Goffman's old apartment; they took me one minute to find and seem easy to rent.26 Many undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors would be happy to call these places home.
  176. One final example of misleading statements is from Ms. Goffman's lecture where she emphasizes how poor and crime-ridden the area she was living in is. In her New School talk (mentioned earlier), she says that 6th Street was a "nicer neighborhood than the one we [Ms. Goffman and Aisha] lived in...The neighborhood we lived in was much poorer, had a much higher crime rate" (New School; minutes 12-13).27 Ms. Goffman's description could be interpreted as a skewed / exaggerated attempt to make where she was living seem blacker, poorer, and more crime-ridden—and her own research more immersive—than it was (if, in fact, she lived at 241 S. 46th St.). I am sure, given her descriptions of her living conditions, that many readers would be quite surprised by where it seems she actually lived, a desirable area full of students. Moreover, as you will read below, in Walnut Hill there is no five or four block area in which even nine persons were killed by gunfire, let alone nineteen, over a seven-year time frame. In fact, in all of Walnut Hill, a much larger area than five blocks, there were not nine people killed by gunfire. So how was it a more crime-filled area than 6l Street, given her accounts of the number (either 9 or 19) of 6th Street funerals for young men killed by gunfire she says she attended? The figure below shows the murders by gunfire taking place between 2002 and 2008 in the five blocks surrounding the 241 S. 46th St. address where it appears she lived. Such murders would have been indicated by red dots had there been any. Notice there aren't any. (More on this in Problems 17 and 40; the data source is discussed in Problem 40.)
  177. wilh the maps and charts o* v«ew ftv ernr? «s: nt -on\< xte «t wrts
  178. Homicides: 17
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  212. 25      http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/246-S-46th-St-Philadelphia-PA-19139/10452258_zpid/
  213. 26      http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/237-S-46th-St-APT-2-Philadelphia-PA-19139/2137333271_zpid/
  214. and http://www.apartments.com/207-s-46th-st-philadelphia-pa/jv07175/
  215. 27
  216. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcsoXnVxkDU
  217. 19
  218.  
  219.  
  220. Problem 11: Again, based on publicly available residential address records, it turns out that Ms. Goffman misleads readers by not telling them that, after living in the apartment described above for a few years, she moved out of Aisha's and Ms. Deena's neighborhood into Spruce Hill, an even nicer and more upscale neighborhood than the one she was in before.
  221. According to a background checking report, Ms. Goffman moved from Walnut Hill into an apartment in Spruce Hill. She never says in her book that she moved out of Aisha's section of Philly. Instead she says that she continued to live in Aisha's neighborhood until 2008. She writes, "through four years of graduate school I continued to live in Aisha's neighborhood, commuting to school and spending many of the remaining hours hanging out around 6 Street with whichever 6th Street Boys were home" (pp. xiv). Since she started graduate school in 2004, this quote suggests she lived in Aisha's neighborhood (Walnut Hill) until 2008, but the background report suggests otherwise. Indeed it appears the neighborhood she moved into is an even nicer and more upscale neighborhood than the one she was in before, as we saw above in Problem 10.
  222. Problem 12: Ms. Goffman appears to speak misleadingly of having been "roommates" "through college" with several of the young men featured in her work, when at most this living situation could have lasted, according to careful reconstruction of her own timeline, substantially less than a year. Moreover, she provides confusing and contradictory information about precisely which individuals were or were not her roommates. If this was an important aspect of her deeply immersive ethnography fieldwork, then why, in what is expected to be a serious and careful work of social science, are we not given a transparent explanation of "with whom" and "for how long"? Contrary to the impression many have had that this roommate situation was another example of her totally immersive fieldwork, the details suggest it was a short-lived arrangement.
  223. Ms. Goffman's narrations and descriptions about being roommates with certain guys from the five blocks (or four blocks) known as 6th Street appear, like so much else in the book, misleading, exaggerated, and contradictory. Firstly, in some accounts she says she was roommates with Chuck and Mike. For example, when Chuck is dying she reflects on when she, Chuck, and Mike "had first become roommates" (pg. 252). In other accounts she says that she, Chuck, and Mike also were roommates with Steve (pg. 251). However, in another part of the book Steve appears to be more of a frequent guest: "Steve alternated sleeping at his grandma's house on 6th Street, his girlfriend's house a few blocks over, and our living room floor" (pg. 238). In her book she says that in March 2004 Mike went to jail and the other guys stopped staying there: "When Mike got taken into custody, I lost all three roommates, since Chuck and Steve had been staying at the apartment at Mike's invitation...But I was, at the time, only Mike's person—there was no reason for me to hang out on 6th Street with him sitting in state prison" (pg. 246). Perhaps the previous quote is the strongest evidence that Chuck and Steve were not her roommates in the traditional sense, since once Mike was taken into custody Chuck and Steve were no longer staying at her apartment. Young folks and college students often stay over at each other's apartments. This is especially true for persons who are drinking, partying, and doing drugs, as was the case in Ms. Goffman's account. She writes: "That
  224. 20
  225.  
  226.  
  227. afternoon, Chuck and [a] friend came to my apartment, took some wet (PCP), and lay on the couch and floor with covers over their heads. They didn't eat, drink, or get up for almost twenty-four hours" (pg. 46). Her choice of the word roommate seems a misleading one, since Chuck and especially Steve seem more to have been guests.
  228. Troubling as well are Ms. Goffman's narrations that make it appear like she was roommates with these guys though many years of college. She states, "I was roommates with Mike and Chuck, who were the main characters in the book, through college" (New School, 24:00-25:00).28 (Again, notice that Steve is left out here.) I think we can all agree that living with someone for 3-7 months is different than living with someone through college. According to the details in Ms. Goffman's various accounts, she can only have been "roommates" with these guys for a maximum of seven months, from the fall of her junior year (2003) to March in the spring of that same junior year (2004). (Bear in mind also that she started graduate school in Princeton after her junior year in college at Penn [pg. 245].) This time frame can be established by comparing information in two different works. In her New York Times Op-Ed piece (May 31, 2014) she says that she, Mike, and Chuck became roommates in her junior year: "My junior year, Mike, Chuck and I became roommates."29 (Notice, by the way, yet again how Steve is left out.) Also, in the above quote on pg. 246 they all stopped being roommates when Mike was taken to prison in the spring of her junior year, March 2004. These two accounts in conjunction present a maximum seven-month time frame that they would be roommates: from the Fall of 2003 to March 2004. Interestingly, Ms. Goffman says that the entire time she knew Mike he only had his own apartment for three months. The rest of the time he lived with family members (such as his mother and uncle), with girlfriends, or in halfway houses. This description of a three-month time frame that he had an apartment—and it should be noted that Ms. Goffman says, "After awhile I said that if [Mike] was going to be crashing so much, he should contribute to the bills and groceries. Gradually we became roommates"—left me wondering if they were roommates for only those three months (pg. 238). Further evidence supporting a three-month time frame is that there are no anecdotes of Mike having an apartment to call his own other than the one he shared with Ms. Goffman. This material is so vague and disorganized that one is unsure what to think.
  229. Lastly, it is also worth noting that the 6th Street guys were staying with her, in Ms. Goffman's home, in her (presumed) Walnut Hill apartment a good distance away (perhaps some 40 blocks) from 6th Street. Rather than immersing herself in her field site by moving to the five blocks (or four blocks) known as 6th Street, she seems to have instead studied these guys on her own turf (which seems to have been a student area). In her fifty-page-long Methodological Note section, she talks about how she didn't want to have her presence influence the 6th Street guys' behavior. She talks about this for about a page and a half (pg. 235-237). But she never mentions or reflects on the impact that taking them out of the field site could have had on her research. By having the 6th Street guys stay with her, she altered their normal routines, including reducing
  230. 28http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcsoXnVxkDU
  231. 29 http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/alice-goffman/?_r=0
  232. 21
  233.  
  234. their time and her own time on 6th Street. This can be understood as something different than a total immersion on 6th Street. It is analogous to studying bacteria in sugar instead of studying those same bacteria in water.
  235. Problem 13: Ronny shoots himself in the leg. In one riveting movie-like account the bullet is removed while he lies in pain on his grandmother's kitchen table with a rag in his mouth and Ms. Goffman turning up the music to cover his screams. Yet in another account the self-inflicted bullet wound is treated at the hospital. This second account also is dramatic: the person who was with Ronny when he shot himself in the leg and who brings Ronny to the hospital winds up arrested there by the police. Did Ronny accidently shoot himself in the leg on two completely separate occasions? If not, did Ms. Goffman make up one or both of these two accounts?
  236. There are two very different accounts in Ms. Goffman's book about what happens after Ronny shoots himself in the leg. In one account Ronny goes to the hospital. In a second account, much later in the book, he has the bullet removed while on the kitchen table. In the first account he is fifteen years old. In the second account he is sixteen years old.
  237. In the first account the young man who brings Ronny to the hospital is arrested by police: "Ronny shot himself in the leg when he was 15. Six police officers occupied the ER lobby when he arrived; two of them quickly handcuffed the young man who had brought him [Ronny] in" (pg. 37). Ms. Goffman uses this story to illustrate how his friends were afraid to go into the hospital for fear of being locked up.
  238. In yet another account, a nurse's aide comes to Ronny's grandmother's house to take the bullet out of his leg. Ronny is afraid to go to the hospital because he is on parole and refuses to go. "Ronny, sixteen, had been boarding a bus when the gun tucked into his waistband went off, sending a bullet into his thigh... Ronny refused to go to the hospital, convinced that the trip would land him back in juvenile on a violation. He spent the next five days bleeding on his grandmother's couch...Then his grandmother located a...nurse's aid who agreed to remove the bullet. She performed this procedure on the kitchen table. Ronny's grandmother shoved a dish towel in his mouth and asked me to turn up the music to cover the screams....His grandmother paid her $150, and the next day brought her some of her famous spicy fried chicken wings" (pg. 153). This story appears in Ms. Goffman's discussion of the underground market for medical services.
  239. If Ronny had already accidentally shot himself in the leg on a previous occasion, then why does Ms. Goffman not say this is the second time he accidently shot himself in the leg? Or, if this is the same incident, why not mention the puzzling discrepancy between the two accounts? Would it not be extraordinary for the same person to accidently shoot himself in the same part of his body, his leg, in two consecutive years (i.e. when he is 15 and then again when he is 16)? Such a coincidence would be very hard to believe. As an aside, one is also left with a question about the bus driver on the bus where Ronny accidently shot himself. Wouldn't he and other passengers have heard a gun go off as Ronny was boarding the bus and called the police?
  240. Problem 14: In one account Mike has a car when he and Ms. Goffman first meet. In another
  241. 22
  242.  
  243. account he has no car when they first meet.
  244. The occasion on which Ms. Goffman first met Mike is when they are set up on a date. In the preface, Ms. Goffman says that when she first met him he explained to her that "he is in a temporary financial rut, living at his uncle's house and with no car to drive" (pg. xii). However, in her Methodological Note she states that, during her blind date with Mike, they "piled into Mike's ten-year-old Bonneville—more like a boat than a car" (pg. 219). Therefore, in one account Mike had a car (with a vivid description of it being like a boat) when they first met on a blind date, and in another account when they first met he explained why he does not have a car.
  245. Problem 15: Is Mike 21 or 22 when Ms. Goffman first meets him? For that matter, is Ronny 14,15, or 16 when she first meets him?
  246. In her book Ms. Goffman says Mike is twenty-two when they first meet. "When Ronny introduced us in January of 2003, Mike was a thin young man of twenty-two" (pg. 219). In her book she also says Ronny is fourteen when they first meet (pg. xii). She meets Ronny about a month before Ronny introduces her to Mike. Therefore on pgs. 49-50 a reader is surprised to see an ethnographic account by Ms. Goffman in which Mike is twenty-one and Ronny is sixteen. In describing what happened after an attempted motorcycle theft, she writes: "According to the signed affidavit that Mike's lawyer read to us later, Ronny and his friend, both sixteen [emphasis mine], were separately interrogated and agreed to name Mike as the one who had put them up to it....Mike, who was twenty-one [emphasis mine] at the time, was charged with attempted breaking and entering, vandalism, and trespassing" (pgs. 49- 50). These ages are impossible given her account of their ages when she first meets them—Mike 22, Ronny 15; but the quote says Mike 21, Ronny 16. Adding to all this confusion is that in Ms. Goffman's article, she says Ronny is fifteen when she meets him, but then later says Ronny is fourteen when she meets him (American Sociological Review, pgs. 341 and 342, respectively). Moreover, in her article Mike is twenty-one when they first meet and not twenty-two like in the book: "Ronny introduced me to Mike, who was 21" (pg. 341). I know you are thinking sure these are small details, but taken together and especially with the other stuff I am presenting, they lead the reader to ask: why is there this lack of concern for details?
  247. I could have written literally pages and pages more about other small discrepancies of this sort. Perhaps readers of the public version of this document will wish to share additional examples they come across in their own study of Ms. Goffman's work.
  248. Problem 16: In one account, Mike's mother's house has laundry facilities in the basement. In another account, Mike leaves his mother's house to go across the street to do the laundry at a laundromat.
  249. In Ms. Goffman's account Mike is living at his uncle's house when they first meet. Shortly thereafter Mike is arrested, goes to jail, and then about a month later he is released from jail on bail and moves in with his mother who lives "across town" in North Philly. On pg. 58 of her book, Ms. Goffman describes Mike's mother's house as having a washing machine in the basement: "Miss Regina [Mike's mom] had just gotten home from work, and had started a load
  250. 23
  251.  
  252. of laundry in the basement" (pg. 58). However, on pg. 30, in providing an account of his being arrested at his mother's house, Ms. Goffman says he returns from the laundromat across the street to be arrested. She writes: "We had been playing video games, and he had gone across the street to change his clothes at the Laundromat. Two unmarked cars pulled up..." (pg. 30).
  253. Problem 17: Ms. Goffman in one account attends 9 funerals of 6th Street young men killed by gunfire. In another account she attends 19 funerals of 6th Street young men killed by gunfire. How many times are we to be treated to two variations on the same or recognizably similar story? Like Noah's ark, Ms. Goffman's work seems to have two versions of story after story after story.
  254. Towards the end of Ms. Goffman's book, she says that in the seven years (yes seven years, not six like she claims elsewhere) she studied 6th Street, she "attended nineteen funerals for young neighborhood men who'd been killed by gunfire, as well as three funerals for older people" (pg. 234). This information is repeated by Christopher Jencks in his New York Review of Books article "On America's Front Lines." He writes: "She mentions instances in which people killed someone, and that she attended nineteen funerals for young men killed by gunfire."3 I think it is important to note that no correction to this account appears in future issues of The New York Review of Books, from what I can tell. If this nineteen number is wrong, Ms. Goffman could have, but didn't, send in the correction. Readers are left with the impression that nineteen young men she knew from 6th Street were killed by gunfire, which is no small number. Also, nineteen funerals strongly suggests a tremendously high level of crime on 6th Street. Other paragraphs in the book seem to line up with this very high nineteen funeral number by referencing the every-few-month frequency of funeral attendance: "It could be that Chuck's peacekeeping efforts in this and other conflicts made his death more of a blow for his family and friends and for the neighborhood as a whole than the deaths of other young men whose funerals we attended every few months [emphasis mine]" (pg. 182).
  255. However, in a different account Ms. Goffman writes that she attended nine funerals, mentioning "nine funerals I attended for young men who had been killed in the 6l Street neighborhood" (pg. 35). In addition, she mentions that Ronny's cousin was killed, but that she was not able to attend that funeral, raising the number of persons killed by one more person to either ten or twenty. Whether she attended nine or nineteen funerals is important for understanding the level of crime taking place in her 6th Street primary field site. (Note that when she says "nineteen" funerals on pg. 234, the number "nineteen" is written out rather than written as "19," making explanation-by-typo much less likely.)
  256. Problem 18: Ms. Goffman tells a vivid story about Chuck's death in 2007, so why is he still alive in 2009 and driving Tim to Reggie's trial? Has he too risen from the dead?
  257. Ms. Goffman says that Chuck was killed in the summer of 2007. His death is the focus of the last ten pages of her book. Yet, in her fieldnotes from "2009," Chuck is alive and driving Tim to the courthouse for Reggie's trial. She writes:
  258.  
  259. 30
  260.  
  261. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/oct/09/americas-front-lines/
  262.  
  263. 24
  264.  
  265. From field notes taken in 2009: There was a big showing in room 405 today for Reggie's Must Be Tried. I drove his mother, Miss Linda, and their neighbor Anthony, who has two bench warrants and took a real risk showing his support today. Reggie's older brother, Chuck, drove their youngest brother, Tim, who skipped class today (pg. 116).
  266. Problem 19: Ms. Goffman's account of detectives putting their guns on the table facing her, while she looks through photos on the very same table, is something that occurs on TV but would be improbable in real life. Also occurring on TV is people being kept in the dark while in solitary confinement, but that is not how solitary confinement works in the real world.
  267. Ms. Goffman's account of her time being interviewed by police takes an implausible turn when she claims that the police officers "remove their guns and put them on the table facing [her]. One cop leafs through a folder and puts pictures in front of [her] of Mike, then Chuck, then Reggie" (pg. 70). Adding to the improbability is that on that very same table, where the guns are pointed towards her, she is looking through police photos. This description is something someone sees on a TV show. This is not to say it can't happen, but it is hard to believe that it did happen. In fact, many interview and interrogation rooms have a box outside that police deposit their weapons in. This is to avoid a person attacking an officer and taking the gun from an officer's holster. It would very reckless for an officer to put his or her gun on a table where a suspect or interviewee can grab it and shoot the officers or themselves. It is hard to imagine not one but two officers putting their guns on the table pointed at her. This improbable scenario in combination with all the other improbable scenarios makes them all the more improbable when taken together.
  268. Ms. Goffman's story about Mike being in "solitary confinement" also has a TV-like feel to it. Ms. Goffman writes that Mike spent "three days of solitude in the dark" (pg. 224). The reason why this story is television-like is that prisoners in solitary confinement are not kept in the dark. There are lights and sometimes windows. And each prisoner gets one hour of time outside in the yard. The same cells used for solitary confinement are also used for protective custody, that is, if a prisoner is in danger from other prisoners they are put in the same solitary confinement cells. If a prisoner had been kept in the dark for three days, this would have been cause for an investigation into inhumane treatment of prisoners. Also, Mike and his friends are frequent prisoners and, if this had actually happened, Mike most likely would have been complaining to Ms. Goffman about how the prison was mistreating him. And Ms. Goffman would have noted yet another instance of police or corrections mistreatment. But Ms. Goffman shows no awareness that being kept in the dark for three days would be something remarkable.
  269. Problem 20: Ms. Goffman says Mike was not released from prison until 2007, so why in 2006 does it sound like he was on parole?
  270. On pg. 149, Ms. Goffman says that in 2006 "a rumor started to circulate that a woman who had recently been transferred to the PennDot nearest to 6th Street was accepting one thousand dollars for making driver's licenses for people who didn't actually qualify for them. Mike reasoned that since the tickets on his license amounted to more than three thousand dollars and his parole sentence prevented him from getting a license anyway, it made financial sense
  271. 25
  272.  
  273. to pay this woman" (pg. 149). However, Ms. Goffman says that Mike was not released from jail until around the spring or summer of 2007. "After serving his full sentence in state prison, Mike returned to 6th Street in 2007" (pg. 251). This may be a case of sloppy writing or of something else, but I thought it still worth mentioning, given the other problems in the book, including the closely related Problem 21.
  274. Problem 21: Suggestive of a larger pattern of misrepresentation of facts is a story about a woman who Ms. Goffman claims was acquainted with Mike, worked at PennDot, and, when later "discovered and arrested,...claimed she'd made over three hundred thousand dollars selling real identities to people who don't otherwise qualify for them" (pg. 150). What happens when one follows the paper trail and looks up the newspaper accounts? One discovers that the person in connection with the $300,000 was a man, and he did not work at PennDot. There was a woman (Anita Levier) who played a minor role in the ID ring, but she received only $1,200, not $300,000. Moreover, it appears Ms. Levier did not even work at the PennDot location "nearest to 6th Street," as Ms. Goffman states, but rather in a completely different part of Philadelphia at least ten miles away.
  275. In this section, I compare Ms. Goffman's account of the PennDot "woman" involved in making IDs for people who did not qualify for them and news accounts of the ID ring involving PennDot personnel. News articles elaborated that there were twenty people involved in this complex ID-making network. Three of them were PennDot employees; and, at first glance, seeming to corroborate Ms. Goffman's story, one of the PennDot employees involved in the scheme was a woman, named Anita Levier. Since only one of the PennDot workers was a woman, I have based this section on the apparent identity of the PennDot woman (Anita Levier) Ms. Goffman was trying to interview and Mike was trying to get an ID from.
  276. Ms. Goffman implies that the PennDot woman she wanted to interview had made $300,000 from the scheme. But that is not what the news reported. Ms. Goffman writes: "This woman never agreed to talk with me, but two years later, when she was discovered and arrested, she claimed she'd made over three hundred thousand dollars selling real identities to people who don't otherwise qualify" (pg. 150). But according to news reports, no one claimed to make $300,000. Rather, Saman H. Salem was found with $300,000 in cash in his possession. He did not work at PennDot.31 It was Saman's name that was all over the news in conjunction with the $300,000. If Ms. Goffman recognized Anita Levier's name buried in the details, why does she get it wrong as to who the person was in connection with the $300,000?
  277. Ms. Goffman suggests she was at least indirectly in contact with this woman at PennDot who was selling IDs, since she had Mike ask this woman if she could interview her (pg. 150). (This woman refused to be interviewed, according to Ms. Goffman.) However, this description of Mike having direct contact with the woman (presumably Anita Levier) is at odds with news reports and the federal indictment. This Ms. Levier was not caught directly selling IDs to people.
  278. 31 http://articles.philly.com/2010-05-06/news/24958974_l_license-scheme-license-examiners-penndot-employee
  279. 26
  280.  
  281.  
  282. Rather, a person seeking an ID would contact Carlos Tejeda Mejia, who would accompany that person to PennDot where Ms. Levier would make the ID. Carlos paid Ms. Levier about $30 per ID for his clients. Anita is reported to have made fifty IDs and to have received $1,200 for all of them combined (not each). "Defendant LEVIER produced more than 50 PennDot identification cards for customers...Defendant ANITA LEVIER received approximately $1,200 dollars from co¬conspirator Carlos Tejeda Mejia for producing PennDot identification cards for his customers."32 Also, Ms. Goffman says that it was the PennDOT woman (presumably Anita Levier) who "was accepting one thousand dollars for making driver's licenses" (pg. 149). But this is not supported by the federal findings. In the federal charges Ms. Levier did not drum up business, rather, Carlos charged his "customers" a thousand-plus and paid Ms. Levier about $30 per ID.
  283. Also, Ms. Goffman says that "through [Mike's] negotiations with [the PennDot woman] [she] learned that a number of other men in the neighborhood had obtained [an ID], including Chuck's and Reggie's uncle" (pg. 150). It is interesting to read that a number of men in the neighborhood had obtained an ID through this woman, because this ID ring largely catered to foreigners wanting to appear as legitimate people.33
  284. Moreover, Ms. Goffman says in her account that this woman worked at the PennDot location
  285. nearest to 6th Street. "A rumor started to circulate that a woman who had recently been
  286. transferred to the PennDot nearest to 6th Street was accepting one thousand dollars for making
  287. driver's licenses for people who didn't actually qualify for them" (pg. 149). If we assume that 6th
  288. Street is |     | on the border between the |   | and p"1i-8____jj
  289. sections of Pennsylvania (more on this location later), or even fifteen blocks from where Ms. Goffman was presumably living in Walnut Hill (or later in Spruce Hill), then based on current locations there are four PennDot centers that are closer: Arch St., West Oak Lane, Whitman Plaza, and Island Avenue. The closest PennDot during Ms. Goffman's 2006 time frame seems to have been the Arch Street location about four miles away. Why does Ms. Goffman say the PennDot woman worked at the PennDot nearest to 6th Street when Anita Levier worked at the Lawndale PennDot location, which was around ten miles away?
  290. If Ms. Goffman recognized Anita Levier's name buried in the details, why does she get it wrong as to who the person was in connection with the $300,000? And why does she change Saman's or Carlos's gender since both had been already arrested and convicted? Since Anita had been arrested and had accepted a plea deal, there was no reason to change her information, either. One is left wondering what explains all of this. One explanation could be that Ms. Goffman co-opted this story from the news, making up this account, but was sloppy in getting the details straight, thereby creating an imperfect match to the headlines. By co-opting this story, if Ms. Goffman did, she might have been trying to impress her faculty mentors at the time by pretending to have stumbled in her ethnography into yet another news-making story, another instance in a pattern of self-aggrandizement extending throughout the work. (She was at
  291.  
  292. 32      http://www.justice.gov/archive/usao/pae/News/2009/feb/levierinfo.pdf
  293. 33      http://www.justice.gov/archive/usao/pae/News/2009/feb/levierinfo.pdf
  294. 27
  295.  
  296. Princeton, and her Professor's easily could have been seeing this story on the New Jersey news since this ring also operated there.) At the very least, it will be difficult to continue praising her for her journalistic accuracy. Time and time again (for example, erroneous accounts about Police surveillance cameras in 2002 and erroneous accounts about an age 19 barrier to reentry into high school), she does not follow up and check on things as would be easy and common for a journalist to do.
  297. Problems 22-26: In a careful, serious ethnographic work one would not expect to find so many contradictions, not to mention an implausibility, as emerge in Ms. Goffman's stories about Alex's arrest at the hospital and his teeth being knocked out. Problems 22-26 document these difficulties, two of which involve blatant contradictions between Ms. Goffman's American Sociological Review account and her book account; another of which involves a clear contradiction within the book; and yet another of which involves a factual impossibility (if we believe some other information also in the book). There is one additional reason to doubt Ms. Goffman's narratives. In a review of her book, a Yale Law School Professor reports: "I was astonished by her account of the police trolling maternity wards for parole violators. I had never heard of such a thing. When I spoke with civil rights attorneys and public defenders in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and with a police official in New Haven, Connecticut, I couldn't find a single person who knew of a case like Alex and Donna's."34
  298. Let's start out by examining what is the same about both her book and American Sociological Review article and then let us examine what is different. In both her American Sociological Review and book accounts Ms. Goffman says she arrives at the hospital shortly after the birth of Alex and Donna's first child. In both accounts Ms. Goffman and Donna watch as the police arrest Alex and take him to jail just after the birth of his child at the hospital (pg. 34). In both accounts Donna is crying and pleading with police not to take him to jail. In both accounts Ms. Goffman asks the officers how they knew Alex had a warrant out for his arrest. In both accounts, officers tell Ms. Goffman they ran his name and the names of other hospital visitors and a warrant came up for Alex along with two other men on the maternity floor who the police are also taking into custody. In both accounts the police tell Ms. Goffman that they frequently run the names of visitors and patients looking for warrants. In both accounts Alex's arrest leads Chuck and other men to be afraid to go to the hospital both to seek medical treatment and for significant events, such as the birth of their children. In fact, Ms. Goffman says that Chuck does not go to the hospital for the birth of his child because he is afraid of getting taken into custody, which causes acrimony between him and his girlfriend. Alex's hospital arrest at the birth of his child also plays into Alex's decision not to seek medical treatment after being pistol-whipped, during which his teeth are knocked out and his jaw broken. According to Ms. Goffman, Alex suffers permanent disfigurement instead of going to the hospital. She writes, "Alex's attack occurred over ten years ago. He still finds it difficult to breathe through his nose and speaks with a muffled lisp...But he didn't go back to prison" (pg. ix).
  299. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/the-society-of-fugitives/379328/
  300. 28
  301.  
  302. While there are many similarities between these two accounts, there are four troubling incongruities. While I was initially inclined to think that the problems between these accounts stem from the fact that Ms. Goffman is making up these accounts years later (as we saw in Problem 1), given all the other problems I can't help but wonder if these things occurred at all. First, if these accounts are real, then why does she tell two different stories about why the police arrest Alex at the hospital (Problem 22)? Second, if these accounts are real, why are there significant differences in accounts of the time Alex spent out of jail before his teeth were knocked out and his jaw was broken (Problem 23)? Third, if these accounts are true, how is it that Mike is present for Alex's teeth and jaw being broken, when in yet another story Mike is in jail at this time (Problem 24)? Fourth, why in one account are Alex's children by two different mothers and in another account both his children are by the same mother (Problem 25)?
  303. Problem 22: Alex is arrested on the delivery room floor for a different reason in Ms. Goffman's American Sociological Review article than in her book. He is arrested because of having completely different warrants for his arrest between the two accounts.
  304. In her American Sociological Review article Ms. Goffman says the police take Alex to jail while he is at the hospital because he had violated his parole by drinking. She writes, "He had violated his parole a few months before by drinking alcohol and had a warrant out for his arrest" (American Sociological Review, pg. 345). However, in the book version she says Alex had a warrant out for his arrest because he had been caught driving with a revoked license. She writes, "I asked Alex's partner about the warrant, and she reminded me that the offense dated from Christmas, when police had stopped Alex as he pulled up to a gas station. Since his driver's license had been revoked, driving constituted a violation of his parole" (pg. 34). (This also adds to the Noah's ark list where we are treated to two different accounts of the same story.)
  305. Problem 23: During the two years subsequent to his arrest on the delivery room floor, Alex's life follows a completely different path in Ms. Goffman's American Sociological Review article than it does in her book.
  306. In the book account, Ms. Goffman says Alex has been out of jail for almost two years before he is attacked and his teeth are knocked out. This two-years-out-of-jail time frame is established as she explains that if Alex went to the emergency room for his teeth and jaw after he had been attacked and the police arrested him at the hospital for violating his parole, "he'd be back in prison, his two years of compliance on the outside wiped away" (pg. viii). However, in the article she says he has been in jail for one year and out of jail for almost one year when his teeth are knocked out. The one year Alex is in jail is because he was arrested at the birth of his child. She writes: "Alex spent a year back upstate on the parole violation" (American Sociological Review, pg. 345). She continues: "Just after his son's first birthday he was re-released on parole, with another year left to complete it...Three weeks before Alex was due to complete his parole sentence...[he was] pistol-whipped three times" (American Sociological Review, pg. 345). Therefore, in the book account he is out of jail for just under two years ("his two years of compliance on the outside") and in the article it is for just under one year. In a serious ethnographic work there should not be this factual discrepancy about one of the main subjects of the book. One of the reasons why it appears Ms. Goffman is making up these stories
  307. 29
  308.  
  309. is that many stories are similar, but with different and sometimes conflicting details. (This also adds to the Noah's ark list where we are treated to two different accounts of the same story.)
  310. Problem 24: In one account on pg. 34, Alex's two children are by two different women. In two other separate accounts 18 and 65 pages later, they are both by Donna.
  311. Early on in the book Ms. Goffman presents a section that discusses each of the main subjects in her book. The description of Alex mentions that he has two children, each by a different mother. She writes: "By twenty-three Alex was a portly man with a pained and tired look about him, as if the weight of caring for his two toddlers and their mothers were too much for him" (pg. 16). Yet, in a second and third account Alex's children are both by the same woman Donna, since in one account she is giving birth to his first son and in a second account Donna is pregnant with his second child. She writes, "Alex experienced this firsthand when he was twenty-two years old and his girlfriend, Donna, was pregnant with their first child" (pg. 34) and "When I met Alex, he was twenty-two and living with his girlfriend, Donna, who later became pregnant with his second child" (pg. 99).
  312. Problem 25: I use a comparative timeline approach here to illustrate another implausibility in the book. Namely, that during a period of time Mike is supposed to be in jail for three years, he is somehow also out of jail and present in Ms. Goffman's account of Alex's pistol whipping. How can Mike be present at Alex's pistol whipping, if a close examination of the text suggests that, as I will show below, he was roughly nine months into a three-year stint in state prison?
  313. Timeline 1 - Mike's timeline
  314.  
  315. January 2003 - She first meets Mike, who shortly thereafter introduces her to Alex. Ms. Goffman writes: "When Ronny introduced us in January of 2003, Mike was a thin young man of twenty-two" (pg. 219).
  316. independent relationships with his friends and neighbors, I had no reason to hang out on 6th
  317. March 2004 - By this time Mike is in jail and she is no longer studying 6th Street. She writes: "In March of 2004, Mike got sentenced to one to three years in state prison....Having not yet independent relationships with his f Street in Mike's absence" (pg. 164).
  318. 2007 - Mike is released from jail after serving the full three-year sentence. "After serving his full sentence in state prison, Mike returned to 6th Street in 2007" (pg. 251). Corroborating this account is her description of visiting Mike in state prison during her first year in graduate school. She explains, "By the spring of my first year of graduate school, I was visiting Mike in state prison on the weekends and spending my evenings in Philadelphia with the group of guys I'd met shortly before I left Penn—the ones who were working regular jobs" (pg. 249). She enters graduate school in 2004. Also seeming to corroborate this time frame is her account of Mike being released from prison a month before "Chuck" is murdered in the summer of 2007 (Pg. 252).
  319. Based upon the timeline above, Mike and Ms. Goffman know each other for fifteen months before Mike goes to jail. As you will see below, this fifteen-month time frame is what makes it
  320. 30
  321.  
  322. impossible that Mike is present for Alex's pistol-whipping/jaw-breaking event. As you will see below, Alex is pistol-whipped at least twenty-three months after she meets Alex, the time frame being circumscribed in part by the birth of Alex's child and the time he does in jail related to that birth as elaborated above.
  323. Timeline 2 - Alex's timeline
  324. Jan-Feb 2003- Ms. Goffman meets Alex via Mike shortly after being introduced to Mike in January of 2003. She writes, "Over the next weeks, Mike introduced me to his mother, his aunt, his uncle, and his close friend Alex" (pg. xii). Ms. Goffman also says that Alex is twenty-two when they first meet. "When I met Alex he was twenty-two and living with his girlfriend Donna" (pg. 99).
  325. 2003 - We can establish this 2003 time frame because Alex is twenty-two when Ms. Goffman meets him and he is still twenty-two when Donna is pregnant and gives birth to their first child (for which Ms. Goffman says she is present). She writes: "when he was twenty-two years old... his girlfriend Donna was pregnant with their first child. He accompanied her to the hospital for the birth...I got there a few hours after the baby was born, in time to see two police officers come into Donna's room to place Alex in handcuffs" (pg. 34).
  326. 2004- Early 2005 - Alex is pistol-whipped and his jaw is broken after a game of dice with Ms. Goffman, Mike, and Chuck. We can establish this time frame, because "just after his son's first birthday he [Alex] was re-released on parole, with another year left to complete it...Three weeks before Alex was due to complete his parole sentence...[he] is pistol-whipped three times" (American Sociological Review, pg. 345).
  327. Therefore, since Alex is pistol-whipped three weeks before the end of his two-year parole, we know that it is at least twenty-three months after she first meets Mike. (If this twenty-three month number is still unclear to you, reread carefully the preceding paragraph.) The issue at hand is that Mike, according to Ms. Goffman, goes to prison fifteen months after she meets him. In other words, how can Mike be present twenty-three months after she first meets him, if Mike went to prison fifteen months after she first met him—and stayed there his full three-year sentence? These two accounts are implausible when taken together.
  328. Problem 26: Ms. Goffman's claims about Alex's arrest and two other men's arrest on the maternity room floor that same day (and other claims as well) have stuck other scholars and law enforcement professionals as astounding and unheard-of. Are these claims based in exceptionally powerful ethnography or in fabrication of evidence? Many cases that end in a finding of academic fraud involve eyebrow-raising claims that no one else can replicate.
  329. Yale Law School Professor James Forman Jr. (a former defense attorney for ten years) says in the Atlantic about Ms. Goffman's story of Alex being arrested on the maternity room floor: "Police practices that Goffman describes may be outliers. I was astonished by her account of the police trolling maternity wards for parole violators. I had never heard of such a thing. When I spoke with civil-rights attorneys and public defenders in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and with a police official in New Haven Connecticut, I couldn't find a single
  330.  
  331.  
  332.  
  333. 31
  334.  
  335. person who knew of a case like Alex and Donna's.
  336.  
  337. //35
  338.  
  339. Many cases that end in a finding of academic fraud involve eyebrow-raising claims that no one else can replicate. Do Ms. Goffman's claims fall in that category? Since Philadelphia public defenders would have used such information as being arrested on the maternity room floor as part of a defense, it is telling that no public defenders had ever heard of such a thing. Especially remarkable, too, is that on the day that Alex was arrested, Ms. Goffman claims two other men were also arrested on the maternity room floor.
  340. Clearly, Mr. Forman is indicating that this is not something that he and many others have seen replicated before. Ms. Goffman can prove this story is true by providing an investigative authority, such as her University, the American Sociological Association, or the well-meaning Yale lawyers, with Alex's real name. Since Alex is not involved in criminal activity (in fact, he is one of the persons in the book who completed his parole and is now working a regular job), there is no reason for her not to supply his name. Then the investigative authority can request the police report, which would have in it Alex's arrest at the hospital on the day (or day after) his child was born. This is a very simple way that Ms. Goffman can prove that this is an exceptionally powerful finding in her ethnography and not a fabrication out of whole cloth.
  341. Problem 27: Ms. Goffman provides two different accounts of observing fourteen men being beaten by the police. In one account these observations occur on 6th Street over an eighteen-month span, while in another account Ms. Goffman witnesses the exact same number of incidences - specifically, fourteen - over a five-month span, not in the 6th Street area at all, but in and around Aisha's home, which we are told in yet another part of the book is located in a different neighborhood altogether. How could she have witnessed the same fourteen beatings in two altogether different neighborhoods? Or if, incredibly, she had witnessed with her own eyes twenty-eight beatings at the hands of police, why does she never say so?
  342. Ms. Goffman tells us that she witnessed fourteen incidences of police brutality in Aisha's neighborhood. She writes: "Between November of 2002 and April of 2003,1 spent a large part of every day with Aisha and her friends and relatives, who lived about 15 blocks away from 6th Street. From the steps of her building or walking around adjacent blocks, on fourteen occasions, a little more than twice a month, we watched police beat up people as they were arresting them" (pg. 71). She also tells us that she witnessed fourteen incidences of police brutality in the 6th Street area over eighteen months. She writes: "Fourteen times during my eighteen months of near daily observation, I watched police choke, stomp on, or beat young men with night sticks" (pg. 4). In her American Sociological Review article, it is 6th Street where she "watched the police punch, choke, kick, stomp on, or beat young men with their night sticks 14 times during this year and a half" (American Sociological Review, pg. 343). She never mentions the other fourteen times in Aisha's neighborhood that she says she witnessed police brutality in her article. In addition, in her Irving K. Barber talk she mentions the fourteen beatings on 6th Street,
  343. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/the-society-of-fugitives/379328
  344. 32
  345.  
  346. but not the fourteen beatings she saw in Aisha's neighborhood (minutes 21:50-22:11).36 Nowhere in any of her talks, interviews, op-ed pieces, or article does she mention this other observation of fourteen beatings in Aisha's neighborhood. So are we to believe she saw a total of twenty-eight people beaten up by police? Philadelphia may have had problems with police brutality, but twenty-eight seems a really high number for such a time period. Yet again, we are left doubting Ms. Goffman's veracity and wondering what accounts for yet another strange double narrative. We have already seen multiple double narratives—that is, instances where a story seems to be told in two different ways with two different sets of details. What can explain this?
  347. Problem 28: On three separate occasions Ms. Goffman presents detailed counts of events she personally witnessed between November 2002 and March 2004, such as 111 times seeing men run from police. One would think her fieldnotes from those months would have included some examples. Why does she in each instance reach somewhat oddly for examples from fieldnotes dated years later ("Summer 2005," "September of 2006," "Fall of 2007")?
  348. On pg. 71, Ms. Goffman lists number counts from an earlier time, but then uses an example in fieldnotes from a later time. She writes: "Between November 2002 and April of 2003,1 spent a large part of every day with Aisha and her friends and relatives, who live about fifteen blocks away from 6th Street. From the steps of her building or walking around the adjacent blocks, on fourteen occasions, a little more than twice a month, we watched police beat up people as they were arresting them. Here is one account from the fall of 2007 [emphasis mine]: It is late afternoon..." (pg. 71). Since she says she witnessed fourteen (or twenty-eight, depending) instances of police brutality in this 2002 to 2003 time period, it is just odd that she did not pick one of those stories from her fieldnotes and instead chose an example from 2007.
  349. Again, on pg. 25 Ms. Goffman provides number counts from her observations of young men running from police the first eighteen months she spent on 6th Street. She writes: "In my first 18 months on 6th Street, I observed a young man running after he had been stopped on 41 different occasions. Of these, 8 involved men fleeing their houses during raids" (pg. 25). Again, she first visits 6th Street in December 2002--and by March 2004 she is not studying 6th Street any longer until 2006. Therefore it is odd that after providing these number counts from her first eighteen months (2002-2004) she provides an example from fieldnotes in 2006 of men running from police (pg. 25). She writes: "A successful escape can be a solitary act, but oftentimes it is a collective accomplishment...From fieldnotes taken in September of 2006 [emphasis mine]..." (pg. 25).
  350. Again, on pg. 230 Ms. Goffman mentions that during her first few months on 6th Street (2003-2004) she had problems understanding her subjects due to language differences, but then provides an example from fieldnotes in 2005. "My confusion in these early months cannot be overstated; I couldn't seem to follow events and conversations...I had to work hard to learn the grammar and vocabulary they were using. From a late night on Chuck's back porch in the
  351.  
  352. 36
  353.  
  354. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz2XVtCAbqg
  355.  
  356. 33
  357.  
  358. summer of 2005..." [emphasis mine] (pg. 230).
  359. While these three examples are perhaps by themselves more odd than worrisome, I still wanted to mention them. One would think that Ms. Goffman's fieldnotes from those months would have included some examples, especially since she claims to have been taking fieldnotes almost every single day. "The first year and a half I spent in this four-block radius, I took notes every day about what was happening" (New School, minute 20:00-20:45).37 Lastly, there are no large fieldnote segments dated in the range between January 2003 and the end of 2004.
  360. Problem 29: We learn on pg. 14-15 that, when Ms. Goffman first meets him, Mike lives in the home that his mother and uncle inherited from his grandfather. We also learn his mother moved out of that home and moved to North Philly before Ms. Goffman meets him. So why is it that more than 200 pages later, we are told by Ms. Goffman that Mike loses the "lease" to the place at his uncle's that "his mother had left to him when she moved across town" (pg. 238)? This confusing detail (was the home owned or leased?) is all too similar to so many other inconsistencies, contradictions, and impossibilities all throughout Ms. Goffman's ethnographic writings.
  361. When Ms. Goffman first meets Mike he is living with his uncle one block away from Chuck. Ms. Goffman says that Mike's mother had moved out a few months before she met Mike. This home on 6th Street that Mike grew up in Ms. Goffman says he "shared with his mother and uncle, who had inherited the house from Mike's grandfather" (pg. 14-15). However, later in the book, Ms. Goffman says that "in the spring of 2003, Mike lost his lease to his apartment on 6th Street, which his mother had left to him when she moved across town" (pg. 238). I am not sure this lease being up thing makes sense, since she says 224 pages earlier that his mother and uncle own the building. Let me repeat: he loses his "lease" to the place his mother leaves him when she moves to North Philly. But how can that be when, in a completely different part of the same book, we are told that that home actually was a house that Mike's mother and uncle inherited from Mike's grandfather? Let me repeat: "inherited."
  362. Problem 30: In one account Mike alone has his car towed to a friend's garage to hide it from the police. In another account, 198 pages later, Ms. Goffman now is part of the action helping Mike to hide his car in a shed.
  363. After Mike's car is involved in a shootout in one account Mike hides the car in a friend's garage: "the glass in the side and back windows of Mike's car was shattered, and I counted seven bullet holes in the side doors. Mike quickly towed the car to a friend's garage" (pg. 46). However, in a second account of this story Ms. Goffman says that "Mike returned to the apartment one night with seven bullet holes in the side of his car. We hid it in a shed so the cops wouldn't see it" (pg. 244). This problem is not as serious as some of the others, but it is one in a long line of strangely similar but different accounts. Again, a work of science should not have so many needless inaccuracies. There is no reason for Ms. Goffman to have these different details. (This also adds to the Noah's ark list where we are treated to two different accounts of the same
  364. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcsoXnVxkDU
  365. 34
  366.  
  367.  
  368. story.)
  369. Problem 31: In Ms. Goffman's book she has two very different, vivid accounts of Chuck's arrest at McDonald's. In one account he is arrested in the back room, in the other account he is arrested while working at the counter. Both of these accounts also appear almost word-for-word in her article—but in one of those accounts Jason is substituted for Chuck as the person arrested at McDonald's while working at the counter.
  370. In the first book account, Chuck is in the back of McDonald's on his cell phone when the police find him and arrest him. In the second book account, he is arrested in a vivid tale about police telling him to put his hands on the counter while he is serving them fries. In the article, the first book account also is found where Chuck is arrested in the back of the McDonald's. But perplexingly, the second book account appears as well in the article but with a guy named Jason replacing Chuck as the guy who is arrested at the counter in the McDonald's.
  371. Book account 1: "Chuck started working at the local McDonald's when he was
  372. nineteen...Though he had a warrant, Chuck kept working...A couple of weeks later, a former
  373. employee got into a fight with three other workers, and the police shut the McDonald's down
  374. while they questioned witnesses...When the fight began, Chuck had been in the storeroom,
  375. talking on the phone to his girlfriend. He came out, he said, and saw six police officers staring at
  376. him...When I got there, it was too late—Chuck was leaving in the back of the squad car" (pg.
  377. 36).
  378. Book account 2: Ms. Goffman quotes Steve: "You remember when Chuck was at McDonald's? He was like, 'No, they [the police] ain't going to see me, I'm working in the back.' But you can't always be back there, like sometimes they put you at the counter, like if somebody don't show up, you know what I mean? How long he worked there before they [the police] came and got him? Like, a week. They was like, 'Urn, can I get a large fry and your hands on the counter because you Black ass is booked!' And he tried to run like shit..." (pg. 97).
  379. Article account 1: This account resembles the book account (American Sociological Review, pg. 346).
  380. Article account 2: "You remember when Jason [emphasis mine] was at McDonald's? He was like, 'No, they [the police] ain't going to see me, I'm working in the back.' But you can't always be back there, like sometimes they put you at the counter, like if somebody don't show up, you know what I mean? How long he worked there before they [the police] came and got him? Like a week. They was like, 'Urn, can I get a large fry and your hands on the counter because you Black ass is booked!' And he tried to run like shit..." (American Sociological Review, pg. 352).
  381. Could Jason and Chuck be the same character? It appears not to be the case, because in the article Ms. Goffman says, "Jason lived on Chuck's block and sold marijuana" (American Sociological Review, pg. 347). In addition, in the article there are many other stories about Chuck and a couple of stories about Jason.
  382. Problem 32: Building on Problem 31's question about whether it was Jason or Chuck getting
  383. 35
  384.  
  385. arrested at McDonald's, there is another somewhat odd coincidence involving these two guys: In the only two accounts in Ms. Goffman's writings where a person is charged with receiving stolen property, the property turns out in each case to be a vehicle stolen in California.
  386. This I would classify as an oddity; it does not by itself have the weight of other things in this document. But, as in Problem 31, the two characters are Jason and Chuck, and, as in Problem 31, there are strange similarities.
  387. "In January of 2003, the police stopped Jason on a dirt bike and arrested him for receiving stolen property (they said the bike came up stolen in California four years earlier)" (American Sociological Review, pg. 347).
  388. "Chuck was driving Tim to school in his girlfriend's car, and when a cop pulled them over the car came up as stolen in California...They charged Chuck with receiving stolen property" (book, pg. 12).
  389. Of course, the two accounts above are possible. But it is just strange that in the only two accounts in Ms. Goffman's writings of someone being arrested for receiving stolen property, the property just happened to come up as stolen in California and to be linked to characters that appeared in otherwise identical accounts elsewhere of being arrested at McDonald's (Problem 31). Is this another instance of a strange double narrative?
  390. Problem 33: Ms. Goffman's ethnographic descriptions of police threatening to repossess a person's house (rather than have inspectors condemn it) and to revoke this same person's lease also do not make sense. One owns a house, or rents and has a lease. Nor do Ms. Goffman's accounts of police threatening homeowners with tax evasion for paying their property taxes late make sense. Not paying income taxes is tax evasion; not paying property taxes is not tax evasion.
  391. Ms. Goffman discusses how police use threats of eviction against women. One example she witnessed was the following: "When the police came to Steve's grandmother's house looking for him, they noted that the electricity and gas weren't on, the water wasn't running, and the bathtub was being used as an outhouse. These violations of the municipal health codes would easily constitute grounds for the city to repossess her property. The officers also informed her that the infestation of roaches, mice, and fleas in the house were sufficient grounds for the landlord to revoke her lease" (pg. 65). The issue here is that Ms. Goffman doesn't seem to understand the difference between owning a house and having a lease. If you own a home, the city can condemn it (not repossess it). If you have a lease, these conditions could cause you to lose a lease. These are mutually exclusive. One owns a house, or rents and has a lease. I could be wrong, but this strikes me not as an accurate ethnographic account, but rather as a young person not knowing much about real estate and therefore saying or making up something that is nonsensical. Nor is she reflexive about this not making sense.
  392. Another account Ms. Goffman tells also does not seem to make sense. She says that when the police came for Mike's cousin they threatened his aunt that "the property taxes she hadn't
  393. 36
  394.  
  395. paid...constituted tax evasion" (pg. 64). Now, most people living in poor areas know that not paying property taxes is not an arrestable offense. A person can at most lose their house to tax sale, and will receive letters from city hall to that effect if they make late payments or no payments at all. Again, this strikes me as a young person who has no experience with paying or not paying property taxes, since she does not know what tax evasion is and how it differs from not paying property taxes. Poor neighborhoods are full of persons sadly losing their homes at tax sales. Poor people (unlike Ms. Goffman) who struggle to make mortgage and/or tax payments are acutely aware of this difference. As there seem to be multiple instances of police threats and police behaviors that don't make common sense, one is left wondering about their being real accounts, especially given the other problems and other seemingly made-up accounts (such as Alex's quotes).
  396. It is difficult to believe Ms. Goffman wouldn't know at this point in her life the differences between leasing and owning and between tax evasion and failing to pay property taxes. But maybe when she was writing an earlier draft or a term paper she was making up these accounts and didn't clean them up for the book. It is just that an author who is aware of these differences surely would have reflexively pointed them out. For instance, one would expect she would have observed that here again police are trying to trick people. In these incidences, she shows no sign of recognizing the contradictions and the faulty nature of what she is reporting.
  397. Problem 34: Ms. Goffman is reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer (May 6, 2014) to have destroyed all her fieldnotes by "shredding the notebooks, then disposing of the hard drive kept in a safety deposit box under someone else's name."38 Repeat: she says she destroyed all her data. Did all supposedly six years of data contain incriminating information that warranted unilateral destruction? Did she not have in those fieldnotes completely non-incriminating information, such as from the one-to-two years she claims to have studied "the clean guys," including Lamar and his friends, who did not have legal entanglements? Ms. Goffman's possible research misconduct includes failing to adequately preserve data that no one seriously could consider of an incriminating nature. As with many proven academic fraudsters who have destroyed data, was her wholesale destruction of data a smokescreen to hide the fact that she did not collect all this data and that many of these accounts are falsified or fabricated?
  398. Not adequately preserving one's data is a form of academic misconduct and a chargeable offense. It is often charged against researchers who are under suspicion of research fabrication and falsification, who claim to have destroyed or who have actually destroyed their data (in an apparent attempt to hide the evidence of their misconduct). Ms. Goffman seems to have not followed the normal safeguards to ensure minimal standards of scientific data preservation. Of course, by destroying all these fieldnotes she prevents anyone from being able to determine if she took any real fieldnotes, let alone six years worth of fieldnotes from a deeply immersive ethnography. She says she destroyed these fieldnotes to avoid incriminating her subjects. However, she does not explain why she destroyed fieldnotes that don't implicate people. While
  399. http://articles.philly.com/2014-05-06/news/49636858_l_field-notes-fugitives-young-men
  400. 37
  401.  
  402.  
  403. it is acceptable practice to protect one's subjects by destroying incriminating fieldnotes, unilateral destruction of all of one's data is not an acceptable practice.
  404. There are many examples of fieldnotes that Ms. Goffman took that do not incriminate anyone. The strongest example of fieldnotes that she had no reason to destroy are her notes on the "clean men" who lived fifteen blocks from 6th Street, whom she claims to have studied for at least a year (and it looks like, from the timeline towards the end of this document, she studied them for approximately two years) and who had no legal entanglements. One-to-two years would have produced many fieldnotes based on her statement that she was studying Lamar and his friends most evenings (pg. 167).39 Another example of notes that Ms. Goffman had no reason to destroy are the fourteen or twenty-eight times she witnessed police brutality. Also, there is no reason to destroy the details of the field site environment that she put in her book. Regular daily stuff she might have witnessed during six years of claimed two-to-seven days-a-week study on 6th Street are another example.
  405. The fact that she destroyed all her fieldnotes, combined with the fact that she did not follow normal IRB procedures, is very troubling. Professor Christina Sharpe has noted in her article "Black Life, Annotated" that Ms. Goffman appears not to have gone through the normal IRB process. Ms. Sharpe explains: "I am concerned that there is no IRB protocol on file for her undergraduate thesis at the University of Pennsylvania. And while the Princeton IRB protocol on file may be backdated to include research Goffman did as an undergraduate, that's an exceptional procedure."40 Since Ms. Goffman says she destroyed all her data, I would encourage an authority seeking to investigate her claims to see if they can obtain copies of her senior thesis on file at Penn as well as both her dissertation and masters thesis at Princeton (if she was required to write one). A comparison of the information in those two or three works may be the only "data" left to compare to her book and article in an investigation into her misconduct.
  406. I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see Ms. Goffman produce field notes for the very early time period she was tutoring Aisha and Ray (2001-January 2003) as I believe she did do this work for her Freshman class; or from later interviews of warrant offices and the federal judge she interviewed (2008-2009); but how about all the other time periods so dramatically narrated in the book? Precisely what time periods are covered in whichever field notes she produces, and what other times periods aren't? And why?
  407.  
  408. 39
  409. th
  410. It is odd that there are only six pages in the book (pg. 164-169) about the "clean guys" she says she
  411. -th
  412. studied for one to two years. These were guys that lived fifteen blocks from 6 Street and were not
  413. connected to the 6 Street guys. The rest of the clean people chapter talks about Mike's mother and Chuck's grandfather. Isn't it odd that Ms. Goffman spends so little time talking about this group of guys she says she spent many nights a week studying over a least a full year's span? Only six pages? Ms. Goffman must have written hundreds of pages of field notes about them, and she would have had no reason to destroy those notes.
  414. 40 http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/black-life-annotated
  415. 38
  416.  
  417. Problem 35: Ms. Goffman says Chuck is shot in the head once, so why in the hospital room scene does she describe his upper body as covered in casts?
  418. Ms. Goffman writes that Chuck was shot once in the head (pgs. 256-257); therefore it struck me as odd that she describes his upper body as covered in casts. She writes: "Chuck lay in the raised bed, his upper body covered in casts" (pg. 253). This "casts" description, plus a few other small things that seemed a little off in these climatic tear-jerker last ten pages of the book, not to mention all the other problems in her book, not to mention also the appearance of possibly fake quotes by Alex in these same ten pages, made me wonder if all this unfolded in the way she presents it. It is curious that the police question everyone in the hospital room except Ms. Goffman. While she attributes this to her whiteness, it also provides her an "out" should someone have looked at the police report from that night and not seen her name mentioned. (It could be that this is a secondhand account from someone else at the hospital that she pretends is her own.) For what it is worth, I am somewhat inclined (but not sure) to believe that Ms. Goffman's friend did die; this is because of her intonation and language usage when she talks about his death in her NPR interview. And it may be true that all this unfolded as she describes. Still, there are two ways to determine if her account at the end of the book is possible or not, as I will explain shortly.
  419. Problems 36-40: Based on Philadelphia police data and statistics as well as local news reports, it is possible to ascertain (with a high degree of certainty) the real-life identities of central characters in Ms. Goffman's work—Chuck, Tim, and other persons in Chuck's family as well as Anthony. It is also possible on the basis of these sources to determine (with a high degree of certainty) the area where they all lived—the 6th Street area, the site of her fieldwork. From this follow several problems. Ms. Goffman seems to have failed to protect her subjects' anonymity. Also, she has very likely falsified data about the number of guys killed by gunfire in her 6th Street field site. There is even the possibility, for which I haven't completed my investigation, that she fabricated the circumstances of Chuck's death.
  420.  
  421. (I'd like to preface this section by saying that I'm not 100% sure
  422. ,A1
  423. [who was
  424. murdered] is "Chuck.""1 Nor am 1100% sure that |        ^~     I '5 "Anthony." But, as
  425. detailed below, there is every reason to believe that is the case. Another possibility is that Ms.
  426.  
  427. Let me be clear, in case someone says shouldn't have written anything about this myself, that it was Ms. Goffman's ethical responsibility to protect her subjects' identity. She is the ethnographer who published the book and article about them. Moreover, while I realize that having these names in the general public would be a bad idea, and will not publicly reveal them, let me also point out that Philadelphia Police, according to Ms. Goffman's own assertions, knew exactly who "Chuck" was—and "Mike". She writes this, for example: "One cop leafs through a folder and puts pictures in front of me of Mike, then Chuck, then Reggie. Most of the pictures are of 6th Street, some taken right in front of my apartment" (pg. 70). If Ms. Goffman makes much of the need to keep these identities hidden from police, that's completely disingenuous and even self-aggrandizing (it makes things so dramatic) in light of the quotes you just read. Does she think the police couldn't figure all this out themselves? Especially given all the information she provides.
  428. 39
  429.  
  430. Goffman co-opted |      | story from the news, pretending it was her own. One last
  431. possibility is that merely by way of a strange coincidence, "Chuck's" murder just happens to be [improbably] similar to PfffljjJHflBPa5 murder as well as strangely involving other similar details Ms. Goffman provides elsewhere [such as "Anthony's" death, resulting from a police-involved killing in 2013; I'll explain more about these similarities below]. In what follows I presume that Ms. Goffman has not made this stuff up and that this is not the case of an extremely unlikely series of coincidences.)
  432. (Problem 40 presents a tool you can use to determine the number of guys killed by gunfire in the five (or four) blocks Ms. Goffman calls 6th Street. By looking up this information, you will be able to show if she has falsified data about the number of guys killed in the five (or four) blocks known as 6th Street whose funerals she says she attended. For example, if four persons were killed by gunfire in that five (or four) block area, that is clearly not the same as nine or nineteen persons being killed.)
  433. Problem 36: Ms. Goffman provides so many unique and distinctive facts that the real-life identities of at least three of her major characters are knowable.
  434. In her book, Ms. Goffman provides the reader with certain unique information that with minimal effort reveals the identities of major persons in her book. To begin with, she provides information that the police shot and killed Anthony (who from her book we know is around age 32 or 33, in 2013) in the 6th Street area in 2013. Since there were only eleven persons killed by police gunfire in Philadelphia that year and they are of various ages, this greatly narrows places where 6th Street can be located.42 (Problem 37 discusses in detail who Anthony was.) The previous footnote leads to the Philadelphia police page, where the statistics and details of officer-involved-shootings are listed. The Federal Government requires the Philadelphia Police to keep this data, and the Philadelphia Police Department has made the data publicly available online in an effort towards transparency. You can even drill down into the details and see the police reports.
  435. Ms. Goffman also provides many specific details surrounding Chuck's murder. We learn it was in "the summer of 2007" (pg. 251). We learn that "Chuck had been shot in the head outside the Chinese take out store" (pg. 251). We also learn that he was killed by one shot to the head. Ms. Goffman, quoting Chuck's mother, writes '"uh huh, no, it was one bullet" (pgs. 256-257). We learn his brother Tim was there with him at the scene: "Tim...was with him and saw him fall" (pg. 251). We learn his brother Tim was fifteen at the time: "And Tim, fifteen, who had seen him die [emphasis mine], still held at the police station. Did he even know yet Chuck hadn't made it?" (pg. 257). (Note, in the previous quote, the perhaps "slip" in which she says Tim saw him die, whereas Ms. Goffman says she alone saw Chuck die. More on this in the closing section.) We also know certain traceable facts from her description of the field site, including that 6th Street used to be a middle-class Jewish area, that it had cameras (I know she says 2002, but maybe 6th Street had cameras by 2007), that it had a Chinese food restaurant, and that it
  436.  
  437. 42
  438.  
  439. https://www.phillypolice.com/ois/index.html
  440.  
  441. 40
  442.  
  443. had a Crown Fried Chicken. Since there are a limited number of Crown Fried Chicken stores, this also helps to greatly narrow down possibilities. Lastly, we know that Chuck is about twenty-three at the time, since other parts of the book describe him as twenty-two late in the summer of 2006 (pg. 178), which would be about a year before his murder. Why these specificities are problematic is that her details almost exactly match the news reports detailed below about
  444. Ms murder, including his age, his younger brother's age, that he was shot near a Chinese food restaurant, that he took one bullet to the head, and that there were cameras (not working at the time) in the area. Furthermore, public information provided below about that area matches her specific details: it had a Crown Fried Chicken restaurant and was formerly a Jewish section.
  445. Reviewing quotes from news reports makes the similarities to her account starkly apparent. According to news reports:
  446.  
  447.  
  448.  
  449. Ms. Goffman's book does have one difference from the account told about
  450. murder. Her book says the murder took place on a Wednesday at 10:00 pm, whereas in
  451. |'s case it was a |     | around |      _j. However, this small change is not
  452. sufficient to safeguard his and therefore the others' identities. Her choice to call | "Chuck" is also concerning.
  453. It appears that Ms. Goffman has failed to protect personally identifiable information by giving
  454. away so many specific details that Chuck's (|   |) and Tim's
  455. identities are known. Since the |      | family all live at the same address as
  456. the identities of this whole family are knowable including also "Ms. Linda", "Reggie", and
  457. "George". Also, since news reports say where |  | lived (a few blocks away from
  458. where he was murdered), the 6th Street area's general location is also known. In addition to
  459. details of Chuck's death being irresponsibly close to the news reports, the details of the 6th
  460. Street area match the I I area in that it had a Crown Fried Chicken. A
  461. simple Internet search confirms this. Also, the |       | section of Philly where
  462. | are located is known to have been a middle-class Jewish area (Wikipedia)/
  463. Since you might be thinking that there remains the possibility that other murders fit these
  464.  
  465.  
  466. 45 http://en.wikipedia.or
  467.  
  468. 41
  469.  
  470. descriptions, I have put together for you a spreadsheet, illustrating that the only person this could be is ___j________SB- (This spreadsheet is included below.) The spreadsheet includes all
  471. murders from gunfire in Philadelphia for the entire I^B^XV^J^ZM for | _____ __ | The
  472. spreadsheet also indicates the time of each gunfire incident, the location, details about the incident, and the date of death. We can rule out people who died at the scene, or persons who died days later, since those persons would not fit with the story at the end of the book, a story that indicates an eight-hour time frame between when "Chuck" is shot and when he dies. We can also rule out people who died from multiple gunshot wounds or were involved in multiple-death or shooting-victim situations.
  473.  
  474.  
  475. [This spreadsheet was supplied to
  476. being shared with the public and has been deleted from this document.]
  477. but is not
  478.  
  479. I have also put in the spreadsheet if a person was killed in an officer-involved-shooting in 2013 in the area of any one of these murders in the summer of 2007. I have done this because, in a different part of her book, Ms. Goffman refers to a police-involved-killing by gunfire taking place in the 6th Street area. (This would be the killing of "Anthony" mentioned on pg. 205.) As stated above, there were only eleven such incidences in 2013, so this makes the cross-checking task much easier. It provides an extra level of confidence that there was not a different young man killed that summer who might have been Chuck. Sure enough, close to |     __ J around ______^^^flthere vvos a police-involved-killing in 2013, no more than a block or two from
  480. where P^^i'i^_l0;Tj lived.
  481. 46
  482. One other bit of cross-checking: As you can see from the table, in the only other area both where a young man |_£_S__iJ was killed _&JSj§_ii_ in l^^^j^fck^^J ar,d where there was a police-involved-killing in 2013, the victim, [ jS§____£^^__|, was shot multiple times and died in the arms of strangers at the scene. "_k^_£§8's family has found some comfort in that passers-by stayed with him until the end. They just held him and prayed for him and I am just so
  483. thankful that they prayed for him."   Hence,
  484. could not have been Chuck, because
  485. according to Ms. Goffman, Chuck lived long enough for roughly eight hours to have transpired between his being shot and his dying in the hospital, with only Ms. Goffman at his bedside.
  486.  
  487. Lastly, proximity to a Crown Fried Chicken restaurant is indicated in the table. Again, there is a limited number of these restaurants in Philly. Matching and highlighted across all of the fields, stands out. There are only two pieces of information in the chart about lat differ from Ms. Goffman's accounts. First |___8BHr,£m 's snot at around and "Chuck" is shot around 10:00 pm. Second, Ms. Goffman says 6th Street is about 15 blocks from where she lived, but in the table we see it is more like 40 blocks away (assuming, that is, she lived at 241 S. 46th Street). But the rest all checks out.
  488. Protecting personally identifiable information is a cornerstone of human subject research and an important part of ethical research practices. It is a standard that Ms. Goffman seems to have failed to uphold by providing so many details that there seems to be only one person who can
  489. 42
  490.  
  491. be "Chuck".
  492. Problem 37: Ms. Goffman provides so many distinct details that "Anthony's" identity is also knowable, he is likely |
  493. In Ms. Goffman's book we learn that Anthony was 32 or 33 when he died from a police-
  494. involved- shooting in 2013. Again, since there were only eleven police-involved shooting deaths
  495. in 2013, this greatly narrows down who Anthony could be. Because we also know his
  496. approximate age, we also know that this person is likely |      I, Ms. Goffman's
  497. account of this incident is only ever so slightly different than in the news. In her account the police officers were in plain clothes, and ________^
  498. u In the police report the officers
  499. were uniformed, but the other details are similar. Moreover, since |    |was
  500. killed a few blocks away from where |      . ;    :  | was killed (by one bullet to the head, outside of a Chinese food restaurant) we can feel pretty confident in his identity.
  501. Problem 38: It seems problematic that someone so concerned about protecting peoples' identities to the point of destroying six years of fieldnotes would make it seemingly so easy to find out Anthony's, Chuck's, Tim's, and the whole Taylor family's identities.
  502. It strikes me as a bit odd that someone who goes through so much effort to destroy all her fieldnotes, hiding and then destroying her hard drive, seems so irresponsible when it comes to protecting personally identifiable information. What was Ms. Goffman thinking? (I believe the ease at which these identities are known provides an important lesson for why IRB processes should be followed.) If we re-open the possibility that Ms. Goffman co-opted the story of |'s murder from the news, it might be the case that she intentionally left in numerous details to make her story seem like the real account, especially to those in the area, including her Professors, who may watch the local news.
  503. Problem 39: If Ms. Goffman says Chuck is not |  |, who he certainly seems to be
  504. on the basis of an analysis of publicly available crime data, then her eight hours at the      
  505. hospital may well have been a made-up account. But if she does say Chuck is |     ...,â– ,__â–  then it still is possible that that hospital account was fabricated, since we don't know how quickly the real-life |      * . ~-y'M d'ed of his injuries. One contemporaneous news account even speaks of |c__V£|§§jjj____f$"body/' being "found" on the "street"—an ambiguous report that may indicate a quick death already at the scene.
  506. During the last ten pages of Ms. Goffman book, she presents an elaborate array of events spanning about eight hours. The time frame here is crucial. In brief, the sequence of events starts with a phone call informing her that Chuck has been shot in the head. This is around 10:00 pm. The sequence continues with her driving an hour to pick up Mike and bringing him to the hospital; leaving the hospital; driving back to the hospital; and then sitting with Chuck for hours, until around 6:00 am when he dies. There are two possibly different accounts of the
  507. 43
  508.  
  509. timing of J__________J|'s death. In one account, repeated in both the Philadelphia Inquirer*8
  510. and the Philadelphia Daily News,*9 his "body" is found at the scene. In the other account, reported by the Associated Press, he dies a few hours later at the hospital. I have started my own investigation into this time frame, but have not been able to confirm that | iSfflliSffl-Sii was alive for eight hours before he died. An investigative authority could attempt to obtain the death certificate and/or police report. One or both of these should have | ___________fs time
  511. of death.
  512.  
  513. Problem 40: If the location where
  514. lived was
  515. in
  516. Street (this information is given in news accounts of his shooting), and if
  517. â–  th
  518. fact was Chuck, thereby confirming that that location is in the 6 Street area, then it is almost a certainty that Ms. Goffman fabricated the number of funerals she attended for 6th Street guys killed by gunfire. For Ms. Goffman claims to have attended 9 (or 19) funerals of guys killed by gunfire in 6th Street over seven years. As you can see below, there were hardly 9 men killed by gunfire in a 24-block area around where | _________£( lived during all those
  519. years. A 24-block area is not five (or four) blocks. Moreover, there are no five-block areas in all of Philadelphia where 19 people were killed by gunfire across those seven years. Crime statistics thus show it to be almost impossible that there would have been so many funerals to attend—at least for young men killed by gunfire in the five or four blocks known as 6th Street, which is Ms. Goffman's claim—even if she had been stalking funerals.
  520. As we begin this section, it is important to recall that Ms. Goffman describes 6th Street as a five-block (or four-block) area. It is also important to note that there was a war going on between the "4th Street guys" and the "6th Street guys," so she would not be attending funerals for guys a few blocks away, as that would be dangerous and she did not have a relationship with them.
  521. Ms. Goffman's claim of nineteen or even nine funerals of 6th Street guys killed by gunfire over seven years is important to check against the murder rates by gunfire. Here is the website with which I ascertained some of the information I discuss below. The website is a really fantastic resource for statistics on Philadelphia crime, especially murders. It compiles the statistics that the Philadelphia Police are required to keep under federal law and presents these same statistics in a very accessible form. You can filter by crime (murder by firearm), year, age, and neighborhood. You can click on the map and get to the street-level detail of the murders. You can even click on the dots to find out the name and age of each victim, the date of the incident, the motive, and so on.
  522. http://www.philly.com/phillv/news/special packages/inquirer/Philadelphia Homicides 1988 20 ll.html
  523. The website shows that there is not a five-block area in all of Philadelphia where there were nineteen deaths by gunfire. And 6th Street, Ms. Goffman says, was not the worst area in all of Philadelphia: "6th Street is not the poorest or the most dangerous neighborhood in the large
  524.  
  525. 48
  526.  
  527. http://articles.philly.coml
  528.  
  529. 44
  530.  
  531. Black section of Philadelphia of which it is a part—far from it. In interviews with police officers, I discovered that it was hardly a top priority of theirs, nor did they consider the neighborhood particularly dangerous or crime ridden" (pg. 4). Moreover, she says that the area she lived in (Ms. Deena's and Aisha's area) had a higher crime rate than 6th Street. For example, in her Irving K. Barber talk, she says that 6th Street was a "nicer neighborhood than the one [Ms. Goffman and Aisha] lived in...The neighborhood that we lived in was much poorer, had a much higher crime rate" (Irving K. Barber: minutes 12-13).50 The reason why this is significant is that you can verify from the website link provided above that in a period of seven years from 2002 to 2007 there were only six homicides by gunfire of guys under the age of 35 in all of Walnut Hill (if she did indeed live in Walnut Hill), which is a much larger area than a five-block (or four-block) area. So it would seem that either her claim to have lived in an area worse than 6t Street with a higher crime rate is false, or the number of guys killed by gunfire in the five blocks known as 6th Street is false, even if it is ten instead of twenty (she did not attend Ronny's cousin's funeral, but he was also killed in 6th Street).
  532. Moreover, even if the area that is known as 6th Street is in the border of the |        Jand
  533. ___|§___|| sections of Philadelphia (as there is reason to believe it is), and even if you add in the murders in the p^^fcy-%j| section a few blocks away, a person would have to have attended funerals for all persons killed by gunfire over considerably more than a dozen-block-radius area (or 24-block area) for it to add up to ten deaths by gunfire. Since that number of blocks is a huge expanse (do you know everyone living in the 24 blocks surrounding you?), one containing thousands of people, including the 4th Street guys who were at war with the 6th Street guys, unless she is stalking funerals one is left not knowing what to believe. What I do know is that in this vicinity there is no five-block area where nine people are killed by gunfire. The following two figures show the murder rates by gunfire between 2002 and 2008. The first figure shows the entire expansive _^j__i__&__| section of Philadelphia, which spans the vertical boundary drawn in black, over seven years from 2002-2008. | ______£_____ lived just to the
  534. right of that boundary in _^^g___J- 'n tne second figure below, of the I jv Bisection of Philadelphia, ■^^^^1^1 appears as one of the red dots just along |i,i_^_J__^^£=|^3_:j ^.A-^-y^jj andp^j|__t[. In the website, it is possible to click on that red dot and find his data.
  535.  
  536. [These figures were supplied to
  537. being shared with the public and have been deleted from this document/
  538. but are not
  539.  
  540. An investigation into Ms. Goffman's claims should shed light on what is going on here. An investigative authority should ask Ms. Goffman to identify the five or four blocks called 6l Street. It may well confirm that she did or at least could have attended nine funerals for guys killed on 6th Street by gunfire, but it may also confirm that she has falsified data about the number of funerals for young men from 6th Street killed by gunfire whose funerals she says she attended. An investigative authority should ascertain what five blocks (or four blocks) she is referring to and use the website link above (the one used for the figures) to see how many persons were killed by
  541.  
  542. 50
  543.  
  544. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz2XVtCAbqg
  545.  
  546. 45
  547.  
  548. firearms in that five-block (or four-block) area. It should also cross-check this five-block or four-block area against deaths by police-involved-shootings in 2013 to see if anyone died in that area who matches Anthony's general description, and it should cross-check that same area to see if someone matching Chuck's general description was murdered there in the summer of 2007. This site either will provide evidence that supports Ms. Goffman's claims of 9 or 19 deaths by firearms in the five blocks (or four blocks) called 6th Street or will clearly demonstrate that Ms. Goffman is falsifying her ethnographic research data.
  549. Problems 41-45: Ms. Goffman claims to have done a deeply immersive study of the area known as 6th Street for six years, spending between two and seven days a week there. However, the details in her book demonstrate a three-year on-again, off-again study. The problem is not that she didn't spend enough time doing field work in order to write a book. The problem is that she has been praised for doing an amazingly large amount of deeply immersive field work, no less than six years, making her work stand out above all others. This misperception comes not only from her direct statements about spending six years on 6* Street—between two and seven days a week there—but also from the confusing and ambiguous, perhaps deliberately confusing and ambiguous, way she talks about the chronology of her research. Below is a painstakingly detailed reconstruction of that chronology. It took me a lot of time and effort to comb through the fine details of her writing to put it together. But it appears to show, based on the details she provides, that Ms. Goffman misrepresents her field work duration and intensity by perhaps double. Put differently, she seems to exaggerate by three or more years. In a work of social science research meant to be precise about its years of study and level of immersion in research collection, this is an extremely serious problem. Let me observe again that this is supposed to be a work of science. Anyone in the natural or biological sciences misrepresenting the research they actually did by perhaps double, three years in this case, would be in serious jeopardy of being fired.
  550. Let's preface Problems 41-45 by delineating Ms. Goffman's two research timeframes of 6th Street. As an undergraduate she says she spent eighteen months studying 6th Street on a near-daily basis. Then as a graduate student she claims an additional four-year study of 6X Street, spending between two and six days a week there. She claims an overall six-year study of6l Street, between two and seven days a week there, by adding her undergraduate and graduate school time together. As anyone reading this can easily tell, four plus one-and-a-half (eighteen months) does not add up to six; more on this later. It is also worth repeating here that Ms. Goffman defines 6th Street as a five-block (or four-block) field site where she is doing her research. It is worth repeating as well that she has repeatedly claimed a six-year immersive study of 6th Street. Problems 41, 42, and 43 address the first eighteen months. Problem 44 addresses the next four years. Problem 45 (literally) sums up.
  551. Problem 41: Ms. Goffman seems to exaggerate the amount of time she spent on 6th Street as an undergraduate, both in terms of the total length of eighteen months and in terms of her near-daily immersion claim. (In Problem 44, I'll discuss the amount of time Ms. Goffman spent on 6th Street as a graduate student.)
  552. 46
  553.  
  554.  
  555.  
  556.  
  557.  
  558. In Ms. Goffman's article, book, and interviews/talks, she repeatedly claims an intensive "near daily" study of 6th Street for eighteen months (when she was an undergraduate at Penn). She writes, "Fourteen times during my eighteen months of near daily [emphasis mine] observation, I watched police choke, stomp on, or beat young men with night sticks" (pg. 4). Again claiming daily study, she notes: "In the eighteen months of daily [emphasis mine] fieldwork, there were only five days in which I observed no activity" (Note 14, pg. 265).
  559. She continues to present numbers from this "near daily" study of 6th Street. However, the details in her account suggest she did not study 6th Street for eighteen months and the details also suggest she was not there on a near-daily basis. Since her chapters are subject matter based and many of the same examples are repeated throughout the book with various details, her organizational style obscures the timeline. By piecing together the details of events into a timeline, we see that Ms. Goffman possibly was being misleading in her narrations about the amount of time she spent studying 6th Street the first eighteen months.
  560. Let's examine her timeline:
  561. September 2002 - Ms. Goffman says that she began to tutor Aisha and Ray during the beginning of her sophomore year, September 2002 (pg. 214).
  562. December 2002 - Ms. Goffman meets Aisha's cousin Ronny and first visits 6th Street in
  563. dating Tommy at the time. Ms. Goffman writes: "[Aisha] began taking the bus over to 6th Street
  564. December of 2002. Then Ms. Goffman goes to 6th Street about twice a week with Aisha, who is dating Tommy at the time. Ms. Goffman writes: "[Aisha one or two afternoons a week. I came along" (pg. 218).
  565. January 2003-Ms. Goffman is set up on a blind date with Mike from 6th Street: "When Ronny introduced us in January of 2003, Mike was a thin young man of twenty-two" (pg. 219).
  566. February 2003 - During January and February Ms. Goffman and Mike talk on the phone. She writes, "To my great surprise, [Mike] occasionally called me in the weeks that followed" (pg. 221). Then after a few weeks of talking on the phone they started hanging out (pg. 223).
  567. So let's pause here to say that it is around March 2003 before she is hanging out with Mike, based upon the above. Before that, she says she is going to 6th Street with Aisha about twice a week. From the above, we know that during this time frame she is not on 6th Street daily.
  568. March 2003 -- She gets permission to study Mike "in late March" (pg. 223).
  569. April 2003 -- Police raid Mike's uncle's house where Mike is living on 6th Street, looking for him. Then "[Mike] spent the next few weeks hiding in houses of friends and relatives" (pg. xiii). After a few weeks of hiding out he turns himself in.
  570. Corroborating this timeline and idea that she is not able to spend every day on 6th Street until around April is that from December 2002 to April 2003 Ms. Goffman claims to have spent every day in Aisha's neighborhood (which is to say, Ms. Goffman's own neighborhood). She writes, "Between November of 2002 and April of 2003,1 spent a large part of every day with Aisha and her friends and relatives, who lived about 15 blocks away from 6th Street" (pg. 71).
  571. 47
  572.  
  573.  
  574. May 2003 - Now Mike is in jail for a month until his mother finally bails him out (pg. 224). So again, how much time could she be spending on 6th Street?
  575. June 2003 - Since Mike was in jail for a month it is around June when he moves in with his mother (who does not live on 6th Street, but "across town" far away in North Philly) (pg. 224).
  576. Fall-Winter 2003 - Mike starts staying at Ms. Goffman's. This is the time she says they become "roommates." In her The New York Times Op-Ed piece she says that she, Mike, and Chuck became roommates in her junior year. "My junior year, Mike, Chuck and I became roommates."51 Her junior year starts in the Fall semester of 2003.
  577. March 2004- Mike goes to jail. Ms. Goffman says she has no reason to be on 6th Street, having not forged independent relationships with persons on 6th Street. She writes: "In March of 2004, Mike got sentenced to one to three years in state prison....Having not yet independent relationships with his friends and neighbors, I had no reason to hang out on 6th Street in Mike's absence. As I tried to figure out how to return..." (pg. 164).
  578. From the details above, we can put together a timeline that demonstrates that instead of spending eighteen months of near-daily observation on 6th Street she spent approximately eleven months on 6th Street. Let me repeat: eleven months. It appears she spent between March/April of 2003 and March 2004 studying 6th Street, ending when Mike went to jail in March 2004. We also learn that Mike was in jail for at least one month during this time, around May 2003.
  579. Also, from the details of her account it is highly questionable if there was "near daily" observation. Visiting 6th Street twice a week with Aisha, because Aisha was dating Tommy, is not the same thing as "near daily" observation. Adding to the evidence that she was not spending every day there is that once Mike was taken to jail for three years she says she had no reason to be on 6th Street, having not forged independent relationships with people there. This statement implies that she was mostly spending time on 6th Street when Mike was with her. Since she did not forge independent relationships with anyone on 6th Street other than Mike, one gets the distinct impression that her hours on 6th Street were largely limited by Mike's availability. Otherwise, she would not have made the statement that after Mike is taken into prison she was trying "to figure out a way to return" to 6th Street (pg. 154). In addition, Chuck was not released from jail until the spring of 2003 when they first met, so she was not spending time with him until then. Also, during this time period, Chuck got a job at McDonalds. Also during this time period, Mike was in jail, living at his mother's in North Philly, and staying at his girlfriend's. Also during this time period, Mike was ducking and dodging police by staying at multiple people's places. Also during this time period, Ronny went back to jail shortly after the movie blind date (pg. 222). Also during this time period, Ms. Goffman claims to have been spending most weekday afternoons at Ms. Deena's house, where Ms. Goffman was tutoring Ms. Deena's son Ray and niece Aisha. "In my two years of spending most weekday afternoons [emphasis mine] at [Ms. Deena's] place, I observed..." (pg. 216). It is hard to imagine with all
  580. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/alice-goffman/?_r=0
  581. 48
  582.  
  583. this going on that Ms. Goffman was on 6th Street on a near-daily basis, "spending most of [her] waking hours [there], hanging out on Chuck's back porch steps, or along the alley way between his block and Mike's block, or on the corner across from the convenience store" as well as other locations on 6th Street as she claims (American Sociological Review, pg. 342).
  584. Ms. Goffman's details thus provide evidence that her claims of "near-daily observation" on 6th Street, spending almost all of her "waking hours" there, for eighteen months are not supported by her data. Since her data suggest she is not spending most of her waking hours on 6th Street, it seems that at least for the first eighteen months, her claimed immersion sociology is not the "daily every waking hour" level that she has led everyone into thinking it was.
  585. Problem 42: Given that it appears Ms. Goffman did not spend eighteen months on 6th Street as an undergraduate, and given that it appears she was not there on a near-daily basis, can we really believe she personally witnessed such large numbers of events, such as instances of police brutality, car and foot chases, arrests, and so forth, as reported in her ethnography ("111 occasions"; "at least once a day" for eighteen months [i.e., roughly 550 times]; "fifty-two times"; "nine times"; "seventeen times"; "fourteen times"; "41 separate occasions"; "24 instances"; "every single day except five" out of a "year and a half" [i.e., roughly 545 times])? The precise counts she offers of many such events, all said to have been witnessed directly by her ("I saw," "I observed," "I noted"), strain believability.
  586. Ms. Goffman presents the reader with lists of counts of various events she says she observed during her eighteen months of near-daily observation. However, as I have demonstrated above in Problem 41, the details of her accounts show she did not spend eighteen months on 6th Street and perhaps even more importantly show there is every reason to believe she was not there on a daily basis, but rather intermittently at best.
  587. First, let's outline all the things she says she witnessed her first eighteen months on 6th Street. It's a remarkable list.
  588. •     "During the first year and a half I spent on 6th Street, I watched young men running and hiding from police on 111 occasions, an average of more than once every five days" (pg. 25).
  589. •     "In the first 18 months that I spent in the neighborhood, at least once a day I watched police stop pedestrians or people in cars, search them, run their names for warrants, ask them to come in for questioning or make an arrest" (pg. 4). At least once a day for eighteen months means roughly 550 times.
  590. •     "In that same eighteen-month period, I watched police break down doors, search houses, and question, arrest, or chase people through houses fifty-two times" (pg. 4).
  591. •     "Nine times, police helicopters circled overhead and beamed searchlights onto local streets" (pg. 4).
  592. •     "I noted blocks taped off and traffic redirected as police searched for evidence—or, in police language, secured a crime scene—seventeen times" (pg. 4).
  593. •     "Fourteen times during my eighteen months of near daily observation, I watched police choke, stomp on, or beat young men with night sticks" (pg 4).
  594. 49
  595.  
  596. •     "I observed a young man running after he had been stopped on 41 different occasions. Of these, 8 involved men fleeing their houses during raids; 23 involved men running after being stopped while on foot (including running after the police had approached a group whom the man was part); 6 involved car chases; and 2 involved a combination of car and foot chases...In 24 of these cases, the man got away. In 17 of the 24, the police didn't appear to know who the man was and couldn't bring any charges against him after he fled" (pg. 25).
  597. •     "During my first year and a half on 6th Street, I noticed 24 instances of men contacting the police when they were injured, robbed, or threatened" (pg. 32).
  598. •     "The first year and a half that I was there, I saw police stop pedestrians or people in cars, run people's names, search people, ask people to come in for questioning, or make an arrest every single day except five" (New School, minute 20:30-20:55).52 This is roughly 545 times.
  599. As a reader, I ask myself, if I don't believe she was there with near-daily frequency over an eighteen month period, then do I believe the number counts above from that time period? Do I believe she saw all of this with her "own eyes" as she claims?
  600. Adding to the things that are not replicated that Ms. Goffman has found is the number of men who had warrants in the 6th Street area. Mr. Forman notes: "When she conducts a door-to-door- survey of 6th Street, she finds that about half of the men there were wanted on warrants of a three year period. This is astounding: no previous researcher has reported such a high concentration of fugitives living in one community."53
  601. Problem 43: Adding to the above, Ms. Goffman in her article and book has different time frames for the first eighteen-month study of 6th Street. In her article, she seems to include her time studying Aisha (whom she was tutoring) as part of this time frame, even though this occurred before she ever went to 6th Street.
  602. In her article, Ms. Goffman claims an eighteen-month study on 6th Street. This is different than the time frame indicated in the book. She writes: "Between January 2002 and August of 2003 [emphasis mine], I conducted an intensive observation 'on the block,' spending most of my waking hours hanging out on Chuck's back porch steps, or along the alley way between his block and Mike's block...By 2004, some of the young men were in county jails and state prison; for the next four years I spent between two and six days a week on 6th Street" (American Sociological Review, pg. 342). What is strange is that, just one page before this statement, she details how, "in the fall of 2002, [she] moved into an apartment in the poor to working-class Black neighborhood in which she [Aisha] lived" and then goes on to explain being introduced to Mike through Ronny shortly after her move into that apartment in Fall 2002 (American Sociological Review, pg. 341). So this January 2002 to August 2003 time frame claimed in her article includes almost a year during which, by her own account literally one page earlier, she
  603. 52      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcsoXnVxkDU
  604. 53      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/the-society-of-fugitives/379328
  605. 50
  606.  
  607. had never been to 6th Street. How is it possible for her to have been "conducting]" from January 2002 onward "an intensive observation 'on the block,' spending most of my waking hours hanging out on Chuck's back porch steps, or along the alley way between his block and Mike's block," if she had not even met these people yet, and would not be meeting them for the better part of 2002? It is hard to know what accounts for these various problems, but they are similar to many of Ms. Goffman's other problems in not presenting a believable and organized study.
  608. Problem 44: Ms. Goffman's narrations (or framings) in her book, articles, and interviews all claim a four-year continued study of 6th Street during her graduate student years, after her initial eighteen-month study which was supposedly during her undergraduate years, adding up to a purported six-year total study. But comparing details in Ms. Goffman's American Sociological Review article to details in her book also yields inconsistencies even in the time she says she spent as a graduate student researching 6th Street. The mismatch between her book and article is a matter of around two years! In her article she says she spent between two and six days a week on 6th Street in 2004-2008, whereas the details of the book demonstrate she did not study 6th Street from March 2004 until around August 2006. Repeat: she did not really study 6th Street between March 2004 and around August 2006. That's around a two-year difference.
  609. By organizing the details of events that Ms. Goffman supplies into two timelines, I realized that the details (her data) do not match Ms. Goffman's narrations about the amount of time she spent studying 6th Street during 2004-2008. Evidence of around a two-year discrepancy is provided by comparing Ms. Goffman's American Sociological Review account, her book's detailed accounts about her research time on 6th Street, and her book's narrations.
  610. The evidence below in timeline form shows that in her article she says she spends between two and six days a week in 2004-2008 studying 6th Street, but the timeline from the details in her book shows she was not studying 6th Street from March 2004 to around August 2006 but only from around August 2006 to sometime in 2008. Adding to the confusion, her book narrations (versus the details) claim, like her article, that she spent four years of graduate school (in her book, this time period is from 2004 to 2008) spending time on 6th Street. She writes: "through four years of graduate school I continued to live in Aisha's neighborhood, commuting to school and spending many of the remaining hours hanging out around 6th Street with whichever 6th Street Boys were home" (pg. xiv). Below I present the two timelines: her article's timeline and a timeline of her book's details. A comparison of the two timelines is very revealing.
  611. Below is the Graduate School timeline as laid out in her American Sociological Review article:
  612. August 2004-2008 - In Ms. Goffman's American Sociological Review article she claims that she was spending between two and six days a week on 6th Street her first four years in graduate school. She writes: "By 2004, some of the young men were in county jails and state prisons; for the next four years I spent between two and six days a week on 6th Street [emphasis added]" (American Sociological Review, pg. 342).
  613. Therefore, in her article she is spending her first four years of graduate school studying 6t
  614. 51
  615.  
  616. Street between two and six days a week, in August 2004-2008.
  617. Below is the timeline taken from details in her book. It implies far less time studying 6th Street.
  618. March 2004 - In her book, by March 2004 Mike is in jail and she is no longer studying 6th Street. She writes: "In March of 2004, Mike got sentenced to one to three years in state prison....Having not yet formed independent relationships with his friends and neighbors, I had no reason to hang out on 6th Street in Mike's absence. As I tried to figure out how to return, I met a group of guys who lived in an adjacent neighborhood, roughly 15 blocks away" (pg. 164).
  619. So in March, she stops studying 6th Street and says she starts studying people fifteen blocks away. Fifteen blocks away is no longer 6th Street, since fifteen blocks is more than five or four blocks. Ms. Goffman is clearly not spending between two and six days a week on 6th Street, as she confesses she had no reason to hang out on 6th Street in Mike's absence. Spending time with completely different, unrelated people in a different area is not the same as studying 6th Street. Yet, she leads everyone to believe she studied 6th Street for six straight years. This is not the 6th Street six-year immersion she has led people to believe.
  620. August 2004-Mav 2005 - In her book Ms. Goffman elaborates that she continued to study this other group in her first year of graduate school (2004-2005). She considers this a welcome break from spending time with the 6th Street guys who were in trouble with the law. She writes, "By the spring of my first year of graduate school, I was visiting Mike in state prison on the weekends and spending my evenings in Philadelphia with the group of guys I'd met shortly before I left Penn—the ones who were working regular jobs....I welcomed the calm and safety of men whose only connection to guns, drugs, or the police came in the form of video games" (pg. 249, pg. 246). Ms. Goffman is away from 6th Street for at least her first year in graduate school, according to her book, and, as we will see just below, very likely her second year in graduate school as well. Whereas according to her article, during this same time frame, she spends between two and six days a week on 6th Street.
  621. June 2005-around August 2006 - As you just read, during her first year in graduate school Ms. Goffman was studying another group of guys "who were working regular jobs" (pg. 249). However, she does not tell us what she was doing during her second year of graduate school, from August 2005 to May 2006. Was she studying these guys or not studying anyone at all? (She has hardly any anecdotes or fieldnotes from that period, just a single fieldnote [pg. 230] strangely illustrating an experience from years earlier when she had first started hanging out on 6th St.; see Problem 28.) Then Ms. Goffman returns to 6th Street around August 2006. We can date this return to around this time since, in her fieldnotes from September 2006 (pg. 26-27), she says it was one month earlier that Chuck had taken a bullet to his neck in a revenge shooting for Jay-Jay's death. If you recall, it is Jay-Jay's death that got Ms. Goffman invited back to 6th Street. We can also date her return by reference to the fact that Reggie is now nearly 18 in her account. She writes, "Reggie, now nearly eighteen, phoned to tell me that a man loosely associated with the 6th Street boys had killed a man from 4th Street during a botched robbery at a dice game. He insisted that I come immediately to his uncle's basement, where the guys were assembling to work out what to do next. I sat on top of the washing machine for four hours and
  622.  
  623.  
  624.  
  625. 52
  626.  
  627. listened while five men berated the shooter for his thoughtless actions [and] discussed what the fallout would be from this death...Through this emergency, it seemed I'd somehow been asked to come back to 6th Street—not as someone connected to Mike, but on my own steam
  628. [emphasis mine]" (pg. 250). Moreover, according to Ms. Goffman, Mike serves his full sentence, approximately 3 years, in state prison before he is released. She explains, "After serving his full sentence in state prison, Mike returned to 6th Street in 2007" (pg. 251). Also seeming to corroborate this time frame is her account of Mike being released from prison a month before "Chuck" is murdered in 2007 (pg. 252).
  629. 2008 - Ms. Goffman says she stops spending time on 6th Street around 2008. She writes, "By then it didn't feel like I was leaving 6th Street Boys as much as the 6th Street Boys left me...By 2008 Chuck was gone, along with two other members we'd also lost to shootings. Steve committed suicide...Mike went to federal prison" (pg. 205).
  630. In summary, the details in her book suggest Ms. Goffman was not spending between two and six days a week on 6th Street from March 2004 until around August 2006, but rather was spending her time with another group of men fifteen blocks away. (As I remarked above in Problem 34 it is odd that she only provides in her book six pages from that entire two-year time frame she was supposedly studying these other guys.) However, in her article she is spending between two and six days a week studying 6th Street in 2004-2008. In her book, she says she has no reason to be on 6th Street as of March 2004, supported by her claim to have spent the first year of graduate school studying men from a different neighborhood, having not formed separate relationships with the other guys on 6th Street. According to the details in her book, she starts studying 6th Street again around August 2006, prompted by Jay-Jay's murder. Therefore, in her book, she is only studying 6th Street from around August 2006 until sometime in 2008. Studying another group of guys, in a different neighborhood, is not the same as spending between two and six days week in the 6th Street neighborhood. Such a two-year discrepancy between her accounts is not insignificant. What if a biologist claimed to study the effects of a drug in bunnies for six years, when they really only measured the effects in bunnies for four years, and instead studied the effects of the drug in frogs for the other two years?
  631. Problem 45: By Ms. Goffman's own accounting, she can have spent only five and a half years studying 6th Street, since 18 months as an undergraduate and 4 years as a graduate student add up to that number. But as I have shown, the actual research time on 6th Street seems even less—closer to around three years, based on her own details.
  632. Since her narrations (or framings) in her book, article, and interviews all claim a four-year study of 6th Street through graduate school and a six-year total study, Ms. Goffman is creating an impression of deep immersion which the details (the data) in her book do not confirm. She could have said she spent eleven months as an undergraduate and two years as a graduate student studying 6th Street, but instead she claims a six-year study. A picture emerges of a possible three-year study of 6th Street from the details in her book. But since I was led to believe it was six years, why should I believe it was even three years? In a work of social science research, meant to be explicit and accurate about its research collection time frames, this is an extremely serious problem. Even if she changed the dates by a few months to protect the
  633. 53
  634.  
  635.  
  636.  
  637.  
  638.  
  639.  
  640.  
  641. identity of her subjects, there is no reason to have a roughly three-year time difference between her details and her narrations. Let me observe again that this is supposed to be a work of science. Anyone in the natural or biological sciences misrepresenting the research they actually did by double, three years in this case, would be in serious jeopardy of being fired.
  642. -- IN CLOSING -
  643. In case you are wondering, I spent the time to put this together because as her book gains momentum Ms. Goffman is impacting policy and potentially lives. I care deeply for those who have been and will potentially be impacted by this seemingly fraudulent work, so much so that I felt an ethical responsibility to bring these problems I noticed to others' attention. This book has so many problems that it feels like a bad parody of ethnographic research. Multiple facts that don't match reality. Multiple internal accounts that contradict each other to such an extent that many stories are flawed and others impossible. But this book apparently is not a farce. And it may well end up damaging perceptions of Sociology and Ethnography. All the attention Ms. Goffman's work has received has been terrific for Sociology, Ethnography, and especially Ms. Goffman herself—but what if it comes crashing down, if it has been all along nothing but a study built on lies?
  644. If it is true that Ms. Goffman committed academic misconduct involving Alex's quotes, if it is true that she exaggerated her level of immersion sociology, if it is true that she failed to preserve data and destroyed non-incriminating data, if it is true that she fabricated accounts as in the Juvenile Court problem, if it is true that the many (literally dozens) of other questionable, contradictory, or impossible details she provides are false, if even a portion of the Problems discussed above are proved to be actually problematic, then not only has she been dishonest, but her research dishonesty has left a whole host of victims in its wake. The person who came in second for her job at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. The person who came in second for the American Sociological Association Best Dissertation Award, which Ms. Goffman won a few years ago. The person who came in second for her Robert Wood Johnson dissertation writing fellowship. The person who was next in line to be chosen for The New York Times notable book award, but didn't get it. The person who didn't get their article published in the American Sociological Review because her article got in and there was no more space. The person(s) who didn't get their book published, because the University of Chicago Press published her book instead. The people who did not get invited to paid speaking engagements because she was invited. The people who paid her to speak and may now find that her work is falsified and fabricated. The book companies that paid her large sums of money for her book and that spent a lot to bring this book to publication and beyond. The audiences left with false impressions based on fake research and accounts, such as the age 19 barrier to readmission to high school. The Philadelphia school system. Other people's books that were not reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and numerous other, prestigious publications. The people of the community she exploits to her own gain by making up data. The police. The University of Pennsylvania's reputation, especially given past criticisms of their taking advantage of the local community. Her dissertation committee's reputation. Customers who bought the book, believing it was a scientific non-fiction work, and spent their time reading it (myself included).
  645.  
  646.  
  647.  
  648. 54
  649.  
  650. I imagine Ms. Goffman may have reasonable explanations for some of the problems listed above. The best-case scenario is that she will be able to genuinely and convincingly demonstrate that all the problems I have discussed are not actual problems. Persons should hear her explanations before passing final judgment. However, I certainly would not have taken the time to write this if I thought Ms. Goffman could easily explain away everything here. Even a clever liar would have a somewhat difficult time. I hope the broader community will share with The University of Wisconsin-Madison and with the American Sociological Association any further evidence that you might have also suggestive of academic misconduct. I also hope the reviewers I have sent this to might reconsider their reviews and work towards helping the broader public to have a more balanced understanding of this work, including problematic aspects of her study.
  651. -- AFTERWORD --
  652. At the beginning of this document, I explained that its purpose was to document problems suggestive of academic dishonesty on the part of Ms. Goffman. I have held true to that assertion for more than four dozen pages. However, there are a few things that troubled me about this work that are of a different nature than the above, which is why I have put them into an Afterword.
  653. There is something disturbing about Ms. Goffman's presentation of multiple racial stereotypes in her book. I am not quite sure what to make of these things I will mention below. I don't know what is going on and whether these things happened as she said, or are projections of her imagination, or something else.
  654. First, a small point. One racial stereotype about black people centers on the kinds of food associated with them. A few years ago, the golf world was rocked by the racist comments that Tiger Woods would want fried chicken as his special meal for winning the Masters. Ms. Goffman mentions black folks eating chicken numerous times in the book. She does mention a few other food items, but the many times she mentions chicken jumped out at me. She mentions chicken six times.
  655. I also couldn't help but get stuck on Ms. Goffman's description of why she thought the men on 6th Street did not find her attractive. She writes, "I couldn't live up to the 6th Street community's ideals of femininity: I wasn't 'thick' enough, I didn't dress the right way, I couldn't dance. I was not black" (pg. 248). First off, not all black people are "thick." There are black people of all shapes and sizes. And there are black people who like all shapes and sizes. Second, she says she didn't dress the right way (implying in a black way). But not all black people dress the same way. Moreover, she implies the 6th Street guys don't like her because she can't dance (again implying that black people can dance). However, not all black people can dance. And many black people don't care if their partner or sexual interest can dance. She also says they did not find her attractive because she was not black. However, plenty of black people find people of other races attractive. All of these are stereotypes that a student would learn are offensive in a Race 101 class.
  656. Moreover, other than her style of dress her comments are not reflective of what Mike told her
  657. 55
  658.  
  659.  
  660. about her attractiveness to guys in his neighborhood. She says that Mike said she has a "nice lil body," so he wasn't telling her she was not thick enough. Also Mike suggests that a change of clothes into more stylish and matching clothes would help, styling her hair, not offering to pay for everything, and learning how to act better. Although Ms. Goffman says that she felt asexual because she didn't fit black stereotypes, that was not what Mike was telling her. He, as a regular guy, was more racially in touch than Ms. Goffman, who is supposed to be a scholar of race. I don't know if this is in her imagination, but such racial stereotypes about black people without any reflection so many years later is troubling, as she is considered a scholar of race.
  661. I am also deeply troubled by the following. Ms. Goffman writes when going into Center City54 (where her family lives and she was raised) that, "Often, people would be so thrown off when Mike and I showed up together that we learned to walk some distance apart on the sidewalk, so that passersby wouldn't necessary know we were together. We'd often enter a store or bar or restaurant separately, so that clerks and hostesses and security guards wouldn't have to address us simultaneously" (pg. 234). So much social progress occurred because whites, blacks, and people of other races stood together against racism and segregation. Integration, equality, and unity, not separation, are the spirit of civil rights. Ms. Goffman in her book talks about how she read and learned a lot about race relations in her courses at Penn. Yet, at least to this reader, she has somehow missed understanding the lessons from these works. I am worried about how students (and especially students of color) might feel sitting in her class, knowing their Professor has acted in this way, social-distancing herself from her black friends when in her own part of town.
  662. I'd like to leave the readers of this document with one last general impression that I have about Ms. Goffman's work. She may occasionally be less than racially progressive herself, or seem to be from some of the things she writes, but If there is one common thread that seems to weave through many of the problems above, one common feature, it is that this work seems to pander to the progressive, largely white, upper-middle-class academic world that does not have enough firsthand experience with the lives of poor blacks and criminals to see through her exaggerated and self-aggrandizing claims. Pandering to such people occurs all throughout the work. Not only are there all the claims about the extreme surveillance and policing to be found in poor black areas (arrests on the maternity room floor, etc.). All those seem calculated to form a deep, almost implicit bond with progressive white readers, so that they will embrace the study and (especially) its author. There also are dramatic accounts like this one: After eighteen months (or even less, as I have shown) living around young black men, she feels such discomfort at being back in a privileged white setting that she is downright disoriented. "The students and even wealthier townies spoke strangely; their bodies moved in ways that I didn't recognize. They smelled funny and laughed at jokes I didn't understand" (pg 247). What makes this particularly hard to believe is that Ms. Goffman is a well-to-do young lady, whose parents are noted Professors, and who spent most of her life around the same people she now claims to be so terribly different from. Or this: When she got to Princeton she "feared the hordes of white people [there]. They crowded around me and moved in groups. I skipped the graduate
  663. 54 Center City is an area of Philadelphia filled with people of all colors and backgrounds. It is not an area where multi-racial couples would need to walk apart from fear or other concerns.
  664. 56
  665.  
  666.  
  667.  
  668. college's orientation to avoid what I expected would be large numbers of white people...[and] search[ed] for the few Black people present [to] sit near them, feeling my heart slow down and my shoulders relax after I did...Above everything, I feared white men" (pg. 247). After just eighteen months? We are already familiar with still other accounts, such as this one: She needed a "black person" to help her rent an apartment in what turns out to have been a diverse student area with many white residents, since real estate agents were so racially biased they couldn't imagine a nice white girl like her, who was "too good for the apartments" there (pg. 275), actually wanting to be in that neighborhood. And then there's this comment: "The first day [at Princeton, again], I caught myself casing the classrooms in the sociology department, making a mental note of the TVs and computers I could steal if I ever needed cash in a hurry" (p. 247). So many other statements and narratives like these are scattered all across the book and article.
  669. I invite readers of this document to go back over all the points I've covered in this document and to ask themselves honestly if now, having seen the counter-evidence I've provided, they too can understand the work as self-serving. I wrote this document because this is what I felt, in an overwhelming way, from the very first time I read it. I found the pandering nature of the work profoundly offensive. Perhaps after considering all of this, you will too.
  670. 57
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