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Reading Analysis 3: Home 1230 North Burling Street

        In Chapter Seven, “Home”, in  City of Rhetoric author David Fleming synthesizes his two previous chapters which discuss blacks’ political participation as subordinate to whites. In history, political initiatives or movements have occurred through political coalitions and for groups of homogeneous intellect or phenotypes to unite and gain political moment. However, the way the black community is scattered throughout the metropolitan region does not provide a conducive environment for (Fleming, 149).  In chapter seven Fleming explores the Cabrini Green neighborhood where he notes the external perceptions of inner-city public housing in the neighborhood and their insufficient political representations. The political representation of the area is nearly non-existent, which in turns allows for the area to be readily demolished and gentrified. The lack of representation is significant because Fleming stresses the empowerment of the black community who want to leave public housing and who want to stay in public housing and rehabilitate the area. Fleming proposes a way to empower the community is to be civically and politically engaged. However, the negative perception outsiders have of public housing residents are barriers to participate, and perhaps the reason residents struggle with voicing their opinions on how they should live, which explains why “public housing residents consistently ask to be seen and treated not as poor, black, or anything else, but as full and normal human beings” (151).

        It is this form of dehumanization is accomplished through rhetorical strategies which Fleming exposes in Chapter 7. For instance, the diction of how outsiders describe the ghetto or public housing neighborhoods presents a narrative that inhibits the growth of the black community through word choice, because every word carries a positive or negative connotation. Fleming argues, the negative language that describes public housing neighborhoods is the very reason why it is easy to easily demolish public housing units and exclude the black community from voicing their opinions about their living conditions. Another contributor to civic disengagement is the placement of public housing and the disunity of black residents.  The rhetoric that surrounds public housing residents is a negative one, and is why Fleming argues the importance of the empowerment of the black community. In order to improve the black community and to no longer dehumanize or view them as inferior is to understand the complexity of these areas, and the importance to empower them to rehabilitate their communities or provide opportunities to leave. The argument matters because a collective homogeneous environment is dangerous because it disregards minorities in society, which endangers the democracy of a state because the tyranny of the majority is not a democratic society. The democracy of America is being endangered by single narratives and skewed rhetoric.


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