Reading Analysis One: Schindler Part One

In her Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment, author Sarah Schindler explores discrimination amongst people of different ethnic and class groups. Ultimately, Schindler argues that laws and regulations placed within certain communities restrict minorities from moving forward. Not only do laws and regulations enact as barriers, but architectural buildings and structures are key influences to setbacks within these communities. Thus, alluding to the idea of systematic and manipulation oppression.   

Throughout this article, Schindler tries to convince the reader that architecture is a major influence when pertaining to negative societal environments. Schindler argues this with examples such as Robert Moses’ Long Island bridges. Moses is known for building and designing low rise bridges designated for overpasses, which initially make buses and large vehicles challenging to pass. Schindler states, “Moses’s  biographer  suggests  that  his  decision  to  favor  upper-and middle-class white people who owned cars at the expense of the poor and African-Americans was due to his “social-class bias and racial prejudice” (1953). The low rise bridges were originally designated to create racial and lower income minorities limited access.

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One of Robert Moses’ Long Island Bridges

Moses’ bridge is a clear example of how not only systematic oppression and manipulation is within laws and regulations, but buildings and architecture can also create negative societal influences and oppression. Minorities are clearly the target within societal physical structures such as basic bridge structures, which are creating limited access among communities. Architectural influence is far more influential than one might think. Schindler’s argument is important, because societal environment and architectural influence is physically more present amongst communities compared to systematic laws in placed. Moss was able to manipulate the system and create a divide between races and classes and lawmakers limited efforts dismantling this form of discrimination. Thus, these limited efforts created division and oppression amongst minorities.    


Sarah Schindler. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” The Yale Law Review, 2015, 1937–2023.

Commonpace 3: Beni-Amer Boy

Who is this boy? If you are an American, you probably wouldn’t know who this young man is. However, if you are Habesha (Eritrean or Ethiopian), you might know the famous “Beni-Amer Boy”. This photo, taken during the 1965 tipping point of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, caused a lot of controversy within the Eritrean and Ethiopian community. This boy famous for his bright smile and mud-stiffed ends is Eritrean and came from the Tesseney city of Eritrea. However, during the war, representatives from both Eritrea and Ethiopia debated whether this youth resides in either country. Since Ethiopia annexed Eritrea during the Early 60s, National Geographic introduced the youth as an Ethiopian, which did not sit well with the Eritrean community. This photo was used to promote Ethiopian propaganda and tourism. After decades of war fighting between both East African countries, Eritrea finally gained independence from Ethiopia. As well, a border agreement was developed and the Beni-Amer boy finally gained the proper recognition as an Eritrean from the Beni-Amer ethnic group. This is important to me, especially as an Eritrean living in diaspora. I understand the importance of my Eritrean roots and the difficulties my people have faced, especially during the struggle for independence. Every time I look at this photo, I am reminded of how important my identity is and even claiming the Eritrean identity was difficult at some point in time.

Commonplace 2

“Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough”, were Karl Marx’s last words. Ironic isn’t it? Karl Marx, known for being a renowned 19th century philosopher, left the world with an interesting statement. As a philosopher, you would think Marx would leave the world with an uplifting or deep last thought. Well, Marx did in an uncanny way. I interpreted this statement as Marx leaving the world a reminder, that we shouldn’t wait until our end to express ourselves. Why wait until the final minute to do or say something extraordinary? I wonder why were Karl Marx’s infamous last words “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough”. Is he calling the quiet ones foolish according to Marx? I have so many questions and I am very curious to explore possible theories or interpretations for why Marx left the world with this last statement. I feel like Marx could also be reminding society to leave your “mark” before time ends. Is it more memorable during life or leading up to death?