Limited by Perceptions of Masculinity

Over this past weekend, I came in contact with the type of person I had never met before. My friends and I hosted boy from a small town, who was visiting American University with his friend. This boy had a connection to one of my friends which lead to his visit. Over the course of his visit, I was dumbfounded when one of his white friends used the derogatory word for a black person that begins with an ‘N’. I did not grow up with this word, nor have I come accustomed to hearing it. I was so shocked by the use of the word that I did not confront the situation, instead mentioned it the next day to the boy staying with us. His reaction to my uncomfortability was simply, “Well yeah, we aren’t like the type of guys you hang out with here we are just regular guys’ guys”. I was unaware of the origin of the initial disgust I had for this reaction until much later.

Our guests use of the words “guys’ guys” linked serious racism, dehumanization and cruelty with the idea of masculinity. This harmful link permeates our society, evident in many’s subconscious categorization of words like ‘strong’, ‘harsh’, or even ‘uncaring’ with the word manly. This correlation is not an excuse for this one boy’s behavior, rather an epidemic that needs to be addressed. After understanding this unhealthy strain masculinity, I also began to realize that I had met boys like his before, not any overtly racist, but many affected by negative masculinity complex’s.

Utopian Discourse

In chapter 9 of David Flemings “City of Rhetoric” Fleming emphasized the need for a public, shared area that is to act as an environment where citizens with many differences can coexist long term. Fleming sees this place as an area in which those living in it do not deny their differences or similarities in hopes of coexistence, rather, find common ground within their similarities, and discuss their differences positively. Fleming states that before the construction of these places is possible, people today must rethink the ways in which their environments are made up today. Things such as public access to necessities like grocery stores and laundromats. This example of the physical changes that must be done in order to achieve Flemings ideal, adds to the idea of greater equality that Fleming leads to.

This chapter ties back to Fleming’s position on homogeneity in his book’s earlier chapters. Fleming states previously that homogeneity in an area, he uses the example of a neighborhood, births low or weak real political discourse. Naturally, one would think that the opposite of homogeneity, diversity, would birth a more intense or strong political discourse scene. Fleming combines these to idea in his last chapters, combining healthy diversity in an environment with positive but palpable political discourse within said environment. Fleming manages to tie together main themes of his work, while not coming to a simple ‘blank+blank=a combination of blank’, but rather fusing his ideas into his version of the most progressive, positive environment.

Annotated Bibliography 7 & 8

Crothers, Lane. “American Culture, American Influence.” TheEuropean, The European, 19 Sept. 2011,–2/6201-american-culture-american-influence. Accessed 20 Apr. 2017

In the article “The Hegemony of Pop” written by Lane Crothers, Crothers details the ways in which the American influence over global popular culture is not only strong, but will likely outlast the power of our military and politics. Lane goes on to explain how American cultural influence has been the leading global influencer for decades. He then goes on to analyze the fluctuation of the american economic system in relation to the cultural influence of the United States. Brothers comes to the conclusion that though America is not the only economic powerhouse in the world, our cultural influence will likely remain supreme even if other countries surpass us economically.

I will likely use Crothers’ analysis of American international influence on a smaller level, relating it to the layered domestic→ international→ domestic layout of Lafayette Square. I intend to use the article as as supplement to my other research. This document is less factual and more open-ended, which will be useful in my project as far as varied sources go.


Ron. “US Slave.” Lafayette Park Slave Market, 1 Jan. 1970, Accessed 24 Apr. 2017.


Blog post, “Lafayette Park Slave Market” written by author that goes by the user name Ron, illustrates the park/Square’s horrific past as a hotspot of the slave trade. Ron mentions the use of certain areas of the park as grave sites for the slaves, these same sites that stare at the White House today. The blog post includes a photograph of the view of the White House from the area used centuries ago as a grave for numerous slaves. This photograph chosen by Ron is incredibly impactful and important to his message. By including not only words to describe the proximity of slavery to our nation’s core, but photographic evidence as well, Ron sheds real light on the horrendous events of our nation’s past. Ron does this while unveiling even more so the government’s perpetration of these acts both physically and lawfully.

I will be able to use this blog post by Ron to illustrate the type of American history and values that are inadvertently preserved in the Square in the attempts to limit the influence of foreign influence. I plan on illustrating the dark side of the history that is represented through the monuments of the square, and how this dark history is so well preserved due to the fact that it physically stands at the core and peripheral of the park. With the slave graves located in the outskirts of the park and Andrew Jackson on horseback located directly in the center, this article will help me prove yet another layered dimension in the park.


The Real Modernism

In Suzanne Tick’s article “His & Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society”, Tick notes today’s “gender revolution”, stating that the traditional definitions and roles of the male and female are being challenged in industry today. Tick goes on to explain the male-dominated ways in which the professional world has been shaped over many decades. Modernism, the author mentions, is a large root of the male dominated professional society of today, as the movement was largely founded in male ideals and by men. This founding both inadvertently and advertently helped shape the gender roles and the strength of these gender roles today.

Tick goes on to unveil the new wave of feminism in society that, she believes, is helping to dismantle the patriarchal hierarchy previously mentioned. By pulling in evidence such as Emma Watson’s recent speech to the UN about the importance of gender equality as well as Alexander Wang’s new clothing line for females with stronger, more angular accents, Tick highlights a hopeful future of a less binary, man over woman complex in society.

Algerian Disconnect

Recently, while on a facetime call with three Algerian students for a cross cultural communications project, the importance of word choice was brought to my mind. During a conversation regarding the traditional sequence of events in an Algerian wedding, the cultural gaps and misunderstandings I was experiencing were made entirely more dramatic though maybe not the BEST choice of words used by both parties involved.

As the Algerian team tentatively broached the topic of virginity in their culture, myself as well as the other two members of the American team, immediately put our guards up. We had expected this clash in cultural ideals and were able to keep a good poker face through most of the conversation. There was one piece of the conversation, however, in which this was particularly difficult. Ssaad, usual ringleader of the group, had the task of explaining the nitty, gritty wedding night details to the group. In trying to explain that the new husband is to leave the wife alone in her room overnight after the marriage is consummated, Ssaad said, “After the blood the man leaves so that the woman can reflect upon her new fate”. This left our team shocked. We had not prepared for the stark, even depressing description of the event and we found ourselves having to recover very quickly.

While I attribute some of our shock at Ssaad’s statement relating to the culture shock, looking back I think a lot of the shock came from Ssaad’s word choice. While he speaks textbook english and is able to hold intelligent conversations in the language, he lacks the environmental lingo that someone growing up in the United States would have. Like we have talked about in class, definitions of words change based on one’s environment, as do modes of speaking. Ssaad’s form of speech, while appropriate for other topics in our environment, was not appropriate for the topic of virginity to us, in our environment.

The Scandal of American History

The Lafayette Square Tour of Scandal, Assassination and Intrigue!”, is run every spring to fall, it’s tour focusing on the “scandalous” past of the Square. While the rich history of the area can be seen as patriotic or worthy of a national landmark, others like to see the space as an area of intrigue, similar to that of a haunted house with spooky ghost stories. The tour highlights include the mysterious “assassination of a president” as well as, “The sex scandal that wiped out an entire cabinet”. The absence of specificity or context within the highlights of the tour give the square a theme-park tone, not stressing the overarching historical relevance to these acts, simple the mysterious, short-term ripples. This tour, while i’m sure is an okay time, denies the square of its historical integrity in my mind.

Annotated Bibliography 5 & 6

This article posted to the Washington Post in January of 1990, follows the national broadcast in which President George W. bush held up a bag of crack cocaine in the oval Office. The president did this in a bid to reach the public and explain the epidemic that was crack cocaine in Washington DC. The sample of the drug  was purchased by undercover officers just across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park. The article, “Subject of Lafayette Square Crack sale Guilty in Other Cases” written by Tracy Thompson made headlines due to its connection to the president of the United States. The article details the legal proceedings of the drug dealer who sold crack to the undercover officer. The article’s main points of interest are the fact that the dealer in question sold drugs that would appear on a presidential broadcast, as well as the fact that the perpetrator was only 19 at the time. The author also focuses on the familias impact of the dealer, Keith Jackson’s, dealing.

Tracy Thompson focuses less on the legal proceedings of the case and more on the impact of both the accused, as well as the unique circumstances of the accused. The use of the authors emphasis on his age and the fact that Jackson was still a senior in high school while contributing the a lethal drug epidemic is incredible important. In my writing, I can use this in order to dissect the systematic drug cycle in American, specifically in a large city like Washington DC only a few decades ago.



CASES.” The Washington Post, 1990, pp. 1–1.


The article posted to the GW Hatchet, written by Meredith Roatan caled, Thousands Storm Lafayette Square to Oppose Immigration Order, explains the events of January, 2017 in Lafayette Square. Roatan reports that nearly 2,000 passionate protesters stormed the square in response to President Donald Trump’s impending immigration law, which would disallow for the citizens of several, primarily Muslim countries, from entering the United States legally. Roatan reports that many of the protesters who rallied at Lafayette Square came to the sport from all over the country. The significance of the area in relation to the White House and central mode of power, drew the crowd together in this area. Roatan goes on explain in more detail the international effects of the President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban

Roatan’s article regarding this singular protest in Lafayette Square gives me an idea of the democratic scene in the square on a larger level. This information will be useful to me while writing my essay as I will be able to relate the larger scene/rhetoric of the square with a singular, specific event. The international tone to the protest is also helpful to me, as I am heavily focusing on the well contained international rhetoric in the area. The fact that American’s have protested for the right of both American’s as well as citizens of other countries in the square adds to my paradoxical claim that the square is a layered, domestic and international scene.


Newsroom Blog By Meredith Roaten Jan 29, 2017 7:27 PM, Meredith Roaten, et al. “Thousands

Storm Lafayette Square to Oppose Immigration Order.” The GW Hatchet, Hatchet

Publications, 29 Jan. 2017. Accessed 10 Apr. 2017.


Gender Inclusivity and Economic System Failure

This notice posted on a bathroom door of American University indicates the inclusive nature of this specific bathroom, allowing anyone, no matter what their gender identity is, to utilize the facility. While this poster is very inclusive, the word choice of the poster indicates that this inclusivity is not a widespread ideal. The creators of this poster dedicated an entire one third of the page to detail the bathrooms locked door procedure. The emphasis put on locking the door to this “inclusive” bathroom, automatically takes the idea of positive inclusivity that the message begins with, and transforms it into a message of optional, preferred isolation.

The wording of the bottom third of this flier gives the user all of the information they need to know regarding the taboo act of identifying as a non-binary gender as well as the general public’s reactions towards this act. The act of locking the door, physically putting a barrier between yourself and the outside world, is an act of admittance that the bathroom user does not feel completely comfortable being their authentic selves in front of, or even in close proximity, to the general public.


“Shall property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?”


Root of Sentence:  “continue to be exempt from taxation”

Key Words: “Continue”, “Exempt”, “Shall”, “Providers”, “Taxation”, “Affordable”


The Insinuation within this sentence that something being taxed is no longer affordable to the general public is telling in itself. This statement mentions the practice of taxation, something that almost every government that has ever existed has done in some shape or form. This taxation is not meant to harshly impair the lifestyle of the citizen being taxed, simply provide the government with funds for services provided to that citizen. The fact that this taxation can not occur while keeping key elements of the citizens life “affordable” is interesting. In the quote above, it is clear that if the University System was not exempt from taxation, housing would become unaffordable to many. With a human requirement so basic as housing, the question of taxation becomes null to many. Though, the structure of the American economy on a federal and state level disallow for an annulment, and allow for basic needs to become privileges that are up for change at any given moment.