While, yes, The Wire can appear to some viewers as though the writers have lost hope for the inner city African Americans the show attempts to portray, and yes, there are some great things coming out of those same low-income neighborhoods, we need to keep in mind the point of this series. Simon has stated that he wanted to show how the system is broken and how that affects certain individuals. In my opinion, he also does a great job of pointing out the actual thoughts and motivations behind these so-called "thugs" and why they do the things they continue to do. The Wire showed how these characters are simply a product of their environment, yet their true innocence and naivety comes out quite often, especially with the young drug dealers in the pit.. These glimpses of curiosity and morals that we see in characters such as Wallace make me, personal, hopeful, not hopeless. There are real people out there just like each and every one of these characters, and while some cannot be reached out to (in the show and in reality), there are some who can.
The Wire is a series that amazes me with its close attention to detail and plot lines that draw the viewer in. While it would be nice for the writers to have included the amazing work done by Baltimore groups such as BUILD and ACORN, I don't believe that there was any more room in the show considering the 60+ characters they were already working with, that their contribution in the show would have been as interesting (for dramatic purposes) as the violence and the corruption.
To read more about the debate on the shows reality and "hopelessness," read "Is the Wire Too Cynical?" on Dissent Magazine