Reading Analysis 4 – David Fleming “Toward a New Sociospatial Dialectic”


David Fleming City of Rhetoric: Toward a New SocioSpatial Dialectic  

In his Toward a New Socio Spatial Dialectic chapter of his book City of Rhetoric, David Fleming explains the importance of having such a book as City of Rhetoric. Fleming introduces all these aspects of built in environments such as the “African American ghetto,” “affluent white suburbs” and “mixed-income urban village” (179) to speak of the importance of public discourse. As part of public discourse of Fleming he mentions the important questions that need to be asked and answered through a civil conversation such as, “What are the effects of these differents kinds of social space on the ways we render and resolve conflict, on our attitudes toward public argument and our habits of political language?” (180)

Throughout this chapter rings importance for public discourse such as socio-spatial, language, politics, education and collective equality on page 180 all to ask the important question of finding alternatives of how things are being executed to secure the happiness of parties involved. What Fleming seems to be calling out is the need to break the pattern of the dominant using their voice and not letting the voice of the rest of their community be heard. The pattern of ostracizing certain group to one part of the community that then has the stigma of “unappealing” need to be changed. What Fleming attempts to suggest is not to “rehash old academic complaints” (181) but rather looking into how accepting an area is to diverse people and how willing the dominant group is able to give the minority group a voice. Fleming uses the word “disattach” (185)  where he explains that it is true that an individual or group of people with more resources can easily remove themselves from issues that might seem hard but at the end of the day does not concern them. However, Fleming argues that such an action can affect the “rhetorical habit” (188) of an individual where they are not able to understand the opposing side’s point of view. Hence, there needs to be the “alternative” that Fleming brings to light, where the happiness, education and overall welfare of the minority group is taken into consideration.

Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY Press, 2008.


Annotated Bibliography 3 & 4


Annotated Bibliography 3 

Falcon, Elizabeth. “Cooperative Housing Thrives in DC.” Accessed March 25, 2017.

In her Cooperative Housing Thrives in DC Elizabeth Falcon uses the method of background to inform the reader of the “benefits” of cooperative housing. Falcon presents the creation and background story of cooperative housing to show how “stability” and “empowerment” that assistant housing brings to their residents.Also mentioning how these co-ops are a “gateway to ownership for the residents” hence, Section 8 housing according to Falcon have nothing but positive outcome.  Falcon describes co-op homes as being “tucked away”  neighborhoods around the city a certain  language that shows that these communities are not at the center stage of their neighborhood, which makes one question why?

As I read this article and immediately connected it with walking around 5th & O neighborhood and seeing the Second Northwest Cooperative Homes tucked away in the newly renovated  intersection. Falcon truly tries to persuade the reader that there is no real stigma on these co-op homes however, the fact that it is tucked away just shows what I had discussed in the first essay with Cameron Logan’s Beyond a Boundary: Washington’s Historic Districts and Their Racial Contents essay; the history of the people that have been living there for generations are being looked over like it never mattered for at least one group of people. What is then ironic is that the group of people being looked over are the ones that were put into these isolated areas as the dominant group are attempting to “enhance community control.” I plan to use this article to explain that the African American community has always been put at a disadvantage. The co-op homes are still being controlled by the dominant groups, the fact that it then being advertised as such a great financial opportunity but in the same token being said that it is “tucked away” is why the minority group feels there history is being erased.

Annotated Bibliography 4

Kwak, Chaney. “The Washington, D.C. Neighborhood You Need to Know About.” CNT. Accessed March 25, 2017.

In his The Washington, D.C. Neighborhood You Need to Know About Chaney Kwak used the  method of exhibit to advertise the “new shaw area” that everyone must go and see. Kwak explains how the Shaw area (Where 5th & O St NW is located) has finally “come into its own” and here are a the list of things to see in the “up and coming Shaw neighborhood” which then followed a list of small business yet very modern restaurants and shops. How this article is constructed primarily focuses on the improvement of the Shaw area. In the same sense disregarding that Shaw has been a part of the D.C. area for generations before, and was not always the go to for millennials as advertise by Kwak. Better yet, not even 10 years ago, the “millennials” that business owners are trying to attract in the Shaw area would have never imagined stepping foot there if it was not for Howard University being near by.

My intention for this article was to connect it to the interior of the restaurant I will be using for my Digital Archives called HalfSmoke. Kwak’s article though intended to promote Shaw Area and invite newcomers to the area to enjoy is overlooking the history of Shaw. Better yet, it is not letting the voices of the natives that were there and now displaced share their stories and allow the readers and possible newcomers of the Shaw area understand the full story and get to know the “before and after” of their neighborhood. As I did research all I could see was consumers of the products distributed by such restaurants and shops rave about the quality but then say “pricy” but it was always worth. When then leads to to ask where are the old businesses such as the family owned liquor and the beauty supply store owners, where have they gone? What is the story about their either progress or downfall? Who is telling their story? Yes it is good to have Urban Renewal but where are the natives supposed to go when their homes are being “tucked away” in a corner and there shopping areas are being replaced by “pricy but worth it” businesses?


College Student Blues (commonplace 9)


As a college student, I sometimes struggle with the stress and pressure that I get from wanting to make my family proud and be successful in life. Knowing the second semester of my freshman year of college is coming to an end gives me major anxiety. With the closing of my first year of college I feel and know that more responsibility and even more pressure to do the best that I can be is inevitable. We are in an institution where for the most part everyone is on the same playing field, we are all smart students that got into this university based on our skills and knowledge, which in return means we have to work twice as hard then we were before. For the longest time, I didn’t think that was possible for me, from my perspective I always thought I worked pretty hard and I have the accomplishment of being accepted to this university to prove it. I always knew that part of the college life would involve a competitive nature with my peers, a lack of sleep and a couple bumps in the road. I have dealt with that to a greater severity that I had ever imagined. I don’t say this to discourage anyone or myself as I am writing this but instead I write this, to be honest with myself and understand that college will honestly only get harder and more stressful but because of the passion I know I have and the drive and determination that is in me I know I will get through it.

Yeezus Mommy and me (commonplace 8)

I was listening to this song with my mother over spring break. It was a regular (or so I thought) driving to run errands with her since I was in town for the week. As we were listening to the Life of Pablo album the song FML came on and per usual we were quiet listening to the song since we are both Kanye West fans. As he was rapping the first verse of the song West sang stating, “I been feeling all I’ve given, For my Children, I will die for those I love.” After that line, my mother stopped the song and finally said something to break the silence. She looked at me and said, “I connect to that… when you have children, you will do everything in your power, even die to make sure that they are alright in the end.” My first reaction was shock my mother all 19 years that I have known her has never talked in such a serious tone with me. The way she was talking to me was both as a daughter and a woman that would in the future feel the same way about her children and loved ones. It seemed to me that this was one of the first of many moments where my mother and I would truly understand one another and the role we played in each other’s lives

Reading Analysis 3 – David Fleming “Ghetto”


David Fleming City of Rhetoric: Ghetto

In his Ghetto: Chicago 1995 chapter of his book City of Rhetoric, David Fleming uses what he calls the “egregious example” of Chicago (65) to explain a recurring problem in cities across North America of Ghettos and their true political and social meaning in this country. Throughout this chapter, Fleming goes into detail concerning the tactful planning by whites to keep the separation between them and blacks in both public and private means such as schools, jobs, neighborhood government services and housing. Fleming confirms the “socioeconomic subjugations of African Americans” (65) have been going through which though it has improved over time it has not disappeared by any means. Fleming explains the “the spatial manifestation of that subjugation” (65) is the Ghetto which is still a prevalent word with such powerful meaning today.

Fleming uses the 1968 Kerner Commission definition of Ghetto as seen on page 65 writing that a ghetto is an area “characterized” by poverty and a specific racial and ethnic groups. In the definition, there are other negative words such as “disorganized” and an “involuntary segregation” meaning that these specific ethnic and racial groups are not put in a certain area of the city by choice or willingness. Instead, their families standing back from generations before were forced and isolated into a certain area that was then deemed by the public as unappealing, unwanted. When there is such a stigma on a space and the occupants of that space, there is no great importance or value and as a result, enthusiasm or real eagerness to improve such place.

For Fleming, using the specific example of Chicago is due to what he states as a “recurrent juxtaposition of oppression with opportunity, confinement with freedom, disaster with hope” (65). Meaning, for the oppressed group their space, their “home” was once a symbol of freedom, somewhere the severe oppression that they were once going through, hence the “great migration” to Chicago in the 1800s. However, for their oppressors, there seems to be a conflict of what Fleming explains as the stereotypical “racial residential segregation” but with that, there is this contradiction of “urban renewal” (66). What is meant by “urban renewals” was the whites of Chicago “formulating” (77) plans of their own to “deal” with the black ghetto. There was no idea or approach of compromise, rather using intimidation to keep them out of their desired spaces. Hence, when the groups are not wanted one place, they are moved and put into another without having a say of exactly where to be put. Such tactful planning is part of the reason why such things as public housing are put into place, public housing is the ghetto’s home. Ethnic minority groups are dealt with and put into ghettos that metaphorically and literally show their circumstances.

Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY Press, 2008.


Failure is a gain not a loss (commonplace 7)

In Worstward Ho!, Samuel Beckett writes the following:  

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

From how I interpreted this particular quote,  what Beckett is saying about failure is that if you are doing something with purpose, something worth your while, something people will learn from and be impacted by  – succeeding will not be the only reason you are doing it. It is more than the “if you fail, try try again” it’s about the progress and what is learned from the failure. What truly matter with failure is the knowledge and experience gained from that, not the fact that you did not accomplish the goal. The form of the sentence is simple, straight to the point the idea of, it is an IC, DC cause, and effect comma structure. This sentence though written by one of the world’s greatest writers is simple because it is a simple idea that can be interpreted in so many different ways. It a concept that does not need a complex structure to have a powerful message and Beckett is aware of that. Even if it was a DC, IC form and the beginning started with “Fail better…” the power of the sentence would still be there. The context and purpose of the word are still the same. If there was a question it would be a phrase that would automatically stimulate an internal conversation. If it were to end as an exclamation point the tone of it would be one of excitement, one where the is determination and enthusiasm when it comes to the gains of failure, it would introduce the concept as not a negative thing.

Essay 1 BED DigiDoc Textual Analysis: Historical Preservation or Control?


Shaw Area (5th & O St)  – Gentrification

Street sign for 5th & O intersection in Shaw.

In his Beyond a Boundary: Washington’s Historic Districts and Their Racial Contents, Cameron Logan complicates the notion that we have on privileging a group with the ability to preserve and revitalize areas that they deem fit, and as a result, the negative impacts it has on the story of the opposing side. Cameron does this by both arguing and presenting the impact of the 1978 act for preservation control of the historic streets of Washington D.C. In this article, Logan tries to explain the reasons for why there was opposition in the African American community specifically when it came to the expansion of “historic areas” (57). Logan presents the view of the Dupont Circle Conservancy, a predominately white organization on their practices and efforts to not gentrify or “colonize” (64) the areas such as Shaw Area where 5th & O St lie but “enhance community control” (64) of what they deemed as historic assets of the D.C. experience. Logan presents the idea of a non-equal playing field when it came to the opposing preservation communities; Dupont Circle Conservancy  (predominately White) and 14th and U Street Coalition (predominately Black) that because of race and the political influence (or lack thereof) certain groups have the power to control what happens to the neighborhood, the people and the history

House sign showing appreciation to Shaw.

Dr. Cameron Logan’s background as Director of Heritage of Conservation in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney, gives him the authority to complicate this narrative and idea of the history of a space and impact of erasing such thing. Cameron is a historian in Urban and Architectural where he focuses mainly on the how heritage conservation shapes cities. Focusing mainly Washington D.C. and the evolution of certain areas such as Shaw. His interest are mostly in places that are deliberately chosen to be kept in their current state (or completely transformed) and in the process why and who decides such changes. Most of Cameron’s research involve the ways in which regimes of cultural value of an area or place can inform or delimit property value. Cameron also touches base on how the social politics influences whether or not a place will be protected. He has personal connection with the D.C. area being that he got his PhD from George Washington University, as a result,  he has been given the ability  a lot of areas evolve from what it once was to what it is now and what it can be in the future.

Given his authority, Logan works through the logos lens. Logan presents and defends his argument to the audience (which we will discuss in the next paragraph) in a logical manner through the use of evidence to back up his claim. It is not a persuasive piece more so an informative one. Through visuals, such as the map on page 58 and an old 1960s pamphlet on  page 59 Logan tells a story of the evolution of D.C. mostly African American areas such as Shaw through the perspectives of two opposing groups. Through logos Cameron intends for this piece inform the reader about the “history”and “historical significance” of the Shaw area. These keywords together are used approximately 50 times throughout the 14 page piece. As a result, this proves to be a major hint for the purpose of this piece. Cameron looks into the theory of what one group might see as gentrifying but the other sees as enhancing and preserving.

Pamphlet advocating for the restoration and renovation of Georgetown (1924) and Capitol Hill (1963)
Washington D.C. maps showing “historic districts” (2012)

Concerning the context of text, the main point of the article argues the reasoning behind why places such as the Shaw Area are now all of a sudden so profitable. Based on the title Beyond a Boundary: Washington’s Historic Districts and Their Racial Contents what seem to be discussed race and specifically, “racial tension” (59) centered around this constant need for urban revival. Logan discusses this idea of groups such as the predominately white Dupont Circle Conservancy coming into an area who they deem has an “urban crisis” whether it be because of gang violence, drug trafficking among other things here are places that are in need of a “revival” (59). Logan’s position on the paper is very similar to David Fleming in his City of Rhetoric. Similarly to Fleming, Cameron notes the fact that most of these organization that are coming in to revamp are part of the same group of people that designated the area for what it was. For example, a place such as 5th & O just 10 years ago was labeled as a danger zone of drugs, and gang violence against 9th & O. Nowadays 5th & O and the Shaw Area in general is filled with new family owned restaurants, newly renovated row homes and successful young professionals and families.

Construction under way in 5th & O on houses
Renovated home in 5th & ) (Shaw) that can now be estimated to be worth around 1 million dollars

What is then looked over is the history of the people that have been living in the area dignified as going through an “urban crisis.” As a result, it is most likely that there will be some sort of an opposition and racial tension. Individuals that are connected to the 14th & U Street Coalition are that of African American/Black descent do have a problem with strangers invading their space. Within their labeled boundary, there is cultural liberation, self-expression and though it might not be as appealing for certain groups of people it is their space.  It doesn’t make it their neighborhood, not a community. As Cameron states, the opposition then lies with such groups mostly because the oppressed groups know the influence through politics and finance to do such things and label it as an enhancement. It seems as if it is an invasion of space. The more that is edited, renovated or revamped in any shape or manner that causes the original group of people to feel as if they cannot stay or are financially unable to stay will be seen as a threat.

To continue the discussion of context and the specific purpose that Cameron’s Beyond a Boundary: Washington’s Historic Districts and Their Racial Contents presents, one aspect that can be brought up is ideology. The ideology of an area like Shaw was once a dangerous narrative. Now it is family friendly, welcoming and small business owned area. This “urban” area is turning just suburban with all the successful (predominately) white families. The same streets that had a shooting or strawberries walking around in the 90s and early 2000s, is now under construction to be transformed to a  controlled environment.

As for the audience of Cameron’s piece, this scholarly article is written by an Australian PhD holder and the abstract is translated into French about D.C. areas. In the literal sense,  we can say that this article does not have a specific type of audience. Because of no specific audience, the various types might have different interpretations of what exactly this piece is saying. For one, individuals that might be on the side of the Dupont Circle Conservancy (DCC)  might have no realize the exact reason for the 14th & U Street Coalition Opposition. The audiences of the side of the DCC might have never gotten the opportunity to get the perspective of 14th & U Street African American group. Because this is an informative piece and not persuasive or satirical what such groups can collect is the history that they might be overlooking and erasing from these areas such as Shaw. For individuals such on the side of 14th & U they might have the material and understand that they are not the only groups going through the same identity struggle under the control of someone else with more power than them.

All in all, Cameron’s piece was that of revelations. It speaks of the importance and value of history of an area and the people. Now more than ever there seems to be a major shift in the areas of D.C. The nation’s capitol there seems to be a picture being painted as thing luxurious elite middle-upper-class culture pool. It’s attainable only if an individual work really, really hard for it. There seems to be this constant needing to renovate, readjust and enhance everything about the nation’s capitol. In the process, the people that are native to that area are being overlooked, kicked out and acted as their homes and neighborhoods are nothing. It’s unfair, unjust and a way to continue to have control oppressed groups of people and individual. Where is the justice in that?

Works Consulted

Logan, Cameron. “Beyond a Boundary: Washington’s Historic Districts and  Their Racial Contents.” Urban History Review; Toronto 41, no. 1 (Fall 2012): 57–69.

Sydney, The University of. “Dr Cameron Logan – The University of Sydney.” Accessed February 26, 2017.


From Poverty to Oscar Gold! (commonplace 6)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Actor Viola Davis, winner of the Best Supporting Actress award for ‘Fences’ poses in the press room during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

There is deep inspiration and gratitude in my heart seeing this picture of Viola Davis. Here is a woman who mainstream media love to put on spotlight on the fact that she went from “poverty to Oscar gold.” The first African American/Black woman to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony. And the reason why she has such awards if because of her talent, her hard work to become in the place she and in the process remembering who she was, acknowledging herself as a black woman in an industry that doesn’t necessarily appreciate or pay attention to people that look like her or me and other black boys and girls of the world. This picture is so powerful for the to see, for me personally, though I don’t want to be an actress I want my voice and my hard work to be recognize. Ms. Davis worked decades in the industry to just finally be recognized and appreciate and be seen as an accomplished actress that can play more than these stereotypical people of color roles. I am in awe of her and all the people of color, both men and women that continue to pursue their dreams and be recognized for that. So to Viola I say….YES!

Practice makes Perfect (commonplace 5)

Part 1: Template

We often walk around without giving the things around us much thoughts. For example, people my age are more invested in their social media or their social status with their friends to take a step back and notice the societal issues we are putting ourselves in. However, if they did notice their slight selfishness, they most likely wouldn’t think it was a big deal. Furthermore, it seems to me that my age group doesn’t prioritize the current events and how it will affect our daily lives in the near future. What is more important is a number of likes, views, and popularity. Whether they notice it or not, however, every decision and action made can easily influence the stereotypes put on our group. As a result, by being so caught up with our own personal validations we lack empathy with the problems going on around us, we think we only have to think and fend for ourselves when that is not the case at all. Thus, it seems that our group lives in this cloud of nativity and self-righteousness, to no fault of our, it’s simply because we don’t have any real obligations to anyone else. As this essay will detail, although many scholars of generation Y have addressed the idea of this learned selfishness due to having no real responsibility set on us, these ideas have rarely been discussed in the eyes of individuals that our part of this very generation.


Part 2: Rhetorical Analysis AU

In their main website page, American University’s main goal is to attract prospective students and their families through visuals. By taking a minimalist approach focusing more on pictures to AU’s website portrays this institution as one that is all about helping their prospective and current transform into successful career driven individuals. As a political school in the heart of Washington D.C American made sure to choose particular things such former President Obama speaking to well-dressed students and staff. A lot of visuals of students studying in several of the building on campus and of course a backdrop of the nation’s capitol. Visually appealing American’s website consciously picks information and visuals that bring the attention of an audience with a political and social justice interest. As one scrolls down the page such words as “Top Employer” being international and political organizations such as the  Peace Corps and Teach for America and Deloitte. Such organizations are world renown and well-recognized companies and organizations. Their names are purposely placed right next to big font percentage of 91 and 89% showcasing the success that someone will receive if they were to come to this school with the internships, school, and work. The creators of this website made sure to motivate, inspire and showcase their students and their family. It seems to be made by the students and staff for their students and staff. There are very welcoming pictures of students lounging in their dorm rooms. There are two videos of students sharing their experience not only in this institutions but their experience in the capitol. Overall American University gets her job done.

Part 3: Common Splices (not sure how to do this, still a little confused)

“The sun (IC) came up a baleful(DC)  smear in the sky, not quite shapeless, in fact able to assume the appearance of a device immediately recognizable yet unnameable, so widely familiar that the inability to name it passed from simple frustration to a felt dread, whose intricacy deepened almost moment to moment . . . its name a word of power, not to be spoken aloud, not even to be remembered in silence.”

The sentence, not a comma splice because all these clauses are dependent.

Annotated Bibliography 1 & 2

Annotated Bibliography 1

Johnson, Jenna. “Warring Gangs in District’s Shaw Neighborhood Declare Truce.” The Washington Post, June 9, 2007, sec. Metro.

In this article, Johnson’s main argument pertains to commenting on the two infamous gang in the 5th and O and 7th and O intersection of the Shaw Area. Though they are intersecting the crew’s rivalries are one with long history and tension going back to the beginning of the cocaine epidemic in the nation’s district if not earlier. With such background information, what Johnson brings to presents is the result of the warring gang violence between the 5th and 7th that has been going on for decades, the older members of opposing crews with the help of their community leaders are trying to find a truce. Johnson interviews a crewmember with the name of Rufus Youngblood that describes such atmosphere of the area when entering it as a “war zone.” Johnson shares the heartwarming shift of feelings on both sides, where what is more important to them at this point is keeping the “peace” and as a result the safety of everyone in the area. As the veteran crew members state in the article, “As much as people want to blame the youth, it really is us taking the lead and steering them in the right direction..”

This article gave me an entryway to think about this upcoming essay to go into the 5th and O area and look at this intersection as more than just a “war zone” as Castaneda and some veteran crew members described. At the end of it all, Shaw is an area with families full of children running around during the Spring and Summer enjoying themselves and walking to the nearby library during the school year for their afterschool programs. The ideology of the Shaw Area being a ghetto with gang violence is just one side of the story. The only way to break such stereotypes that individuals have fed into for so many years and as a result has inclined them to stay away from is to first-hand experience it and ask questions.

Annotated Bibliography 2

Samuelson, Ruth. “Truce and Consequences.” Washington City Paper. Accessed February 17, 2017.

In this article, Samuelson’s doesn’t necessarily have an argument. Moreso it humanizes the individuals seen on the news about another killing in Shaw in the process shedding light on the experience of a crew member among others, in the 5th and O intersecting area. Specifically, Samuelson shares the story of Deon Peoples a young man that was murdered in 2007 by gang-related violence. One of his acquaintances, a man called Ben Barringer, Barringer gives voice to the issues at hand in the O st intersections and tells the readers about a man whose life was taken too soon but was a man with a family, friends, and life nonetheless. Samuelson gives Barringer the platform to explain and shed light on the fact that even crew members and their families have a life besides what is shown in their neighborhood on mainstream media. Something that Samuelson put in her article about People’s and his family is this, ““They are very nice,” says one woman familiar with the relatives. “They’ll give you whatever they have. But they’re close. Their family is very close. If you’re in their circle, you got to stay in their circle and don’t try to cross them.”

This article gave me an entryway to think about this essay as the ability to humanize what Castaneda among other authors and media branches stereotype 5th and O as. By focusing on the individuals and their stories, it recreates the narrative of such places. It adds dimensions to the ideology of the area, though this is not a happily ever after’ story that ended in a positive way it sheds light that though there are major issues in this neighborhood it these “thugs” and “gangsters” have a life that should be valued and respected like everyone else’s. For me personally, I connected with it because coming from my background (native of Haiti) I know that the impact of negative stereotypes of where an individual comes from, and how misunderstood an area and the groups of people that live there can feel.