Sociospatial Environment

Rhetorical Analysis #4: Fleming Chapter 8

Throughout the book, author David Fleming constantly argues that our built environment, along with civic public discourse and education, continually shape who we are. In this specific chapter, the first of section 3, Fleming examines the scenes he has talked about in previous chapters such as the ghettos, white suburbs, and mixed-income neighborhoods, as well as the overall built environment in the Chicago area.

As Fleming re-caps what he has mentioned in the past 7 chapters, he concludes that “we have failed, in other words, to help our young people appreciate and deal with the inevitable conflicts of living together in concrete space with people unlike themselves” (180). Referring to the teaching of politics in our country, teenagers are the most susceptible to learn and change our future than any other generation is at this point in time. And for Fleming to say our country, as a whole, has failed to teach the millennial generation life, growing up, and all the baggage that comes with it puts our future in a hold. And this is where the term commonplace comes to play because it could create a balance of a more unified and amalgamated public sphere.

By now it is obvious that Chicago is not the only one at fault here for segregating their people by race and class. The public housing was meant to provide shelter to the poor but instead completely separated the city. Chicago is not the only city that has done this, in fact, “Americans have not done a good job of making space for diverse peoples to come together, openly and fairly, to determine together their shared destiny” (181).Because of the economic divide in our country, it has become difficult for people of different classes to relate, especially on a political level. And it’s not the low-income citizens living there, it’s their environment. It wasn’t a voluntary choice to grow up poor or to be uneducated because the school system is bad, it’s the poor environment in which they grew up. Where they were constantly in fear because of crime, violence, and drugs that surrounded them. Which lead to poor education systems and joblessness. Their environment was toxic, sucking them in, and allowing them no opportunity to escape.

The one exception was 1230 North Burling Street located in Cabrini Green. The citizens created their own rules, security, and jobs in hope for a brighter future. They were successful for a period of time but “the only way to build a self-governing community in our society, a culture of argument that brings people together to work actively and discursively on common projects, is to make sure that they are all relatively similar in background and goals” (183). Because of America’s past, similar background means similar class which means similar race. The continuation of sticking with similarity will only create disconnections with the rest of the world. Diverse communities learn from one another and therefore grow from one another.

Work Cited

Fleming, David. “City of Rhetoric” SUNY Press, 2009.

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