New Sociospatial Dialect

In Chapter 8 of section 3 of his book The City of Rhetoric, David Fleming describes how segregation and the location of specific demographics of populations matter in the realm of public discourse. Earlier in the text the author breaks down exactly how rhetoric functions in public discourse, human landscape, and what environments mean to the residents; in this part of the text Fleming analyze’s what specific populations’ interact mean to the public discourse as well as how they are treated in the metropolitan environment.

Fleming poses the thought to the reader that there are alternatives to the current state of these populations in cities that would encourage a healthier relationship, better interaction, and equality among everyone in these cities. Fleming addresses the way to these alternatives by discussing in detail three concepts, the first being the  contingency in a variety of factors that rhetoric has on its environment and the development of the space it is in. Secondly, the way civic power and habits are going to effected by a place is going to matter most at the extremes of a space, so the most favored groups and least favored group in the environment. Thirdly, the effects of an environment change throughout am individual’s lifetime. For these three reasons, Fleming suggests leaving behind the idea that manipulation of our environment is what needs to be done to improve the non linear treatment and inequality but rather address the responsibility and requirement of cultural competency that comes with design and architecture  in sociospatial aspects and how this effects human behavior. Fleming provides the example of poverty, it is not caused by poor people themselves but the environments in which they live lead to terrible grades of  schools and housing, poor job opportunities and ridiculously high crime rates. These places are neglected and devalued and the citizens of this environment mirror such a space in their behavior and Fleming refers to this as Gunnar Myrdal’s phrase of “cumulative causation”, the environment is internalized and further displayed in social norms of the environment and civic behavior, i.e.,  the problems that kids in these areas come to school with make school a troubled place, and a troubled school contributes to the issue of the environment. (Fleming,  194) Fleming acknowledges that the environments in which we live, learn and grow up in effect human behavior and these environments are non-linear and dynamic to specific groups of people such people in poverty or area’s of Chicago like Cabrini Green.

Evidently so our perspective, interpretation and behavior to our environment is heavily determined on how we encounter the things and our environment as well as the relationship we have with our environment, this is what varies between people based upon socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexuality, and other identities. In this section Fleming is challenging us to not try to manipulate our environment but address the way our environment influences our behavior and particularly behavior of the those that are not favored nor supported by the environment even if we are.

NMAAHC: Designed for Greatness

I have been to the National Museum of African American History and Culture twice now. I spent hours there each visit and I still haven’t gotten through the whole museum it seemed never ending. Just like African American culture….its never ending. The way the museum is set up for the viewers is to start on the bottom floor in the basement and work ones way all the way up to the top floor; being that there exhibits on every floor. Starting out theres an elevator that leads you the basement, the starting point of the museum. It was dark. It was so dark and quiet; it was eerie. The quietness….the silence was so telling; and ironically, it was in the part of the museum that no one likes to talk about,many people don’t like to acknowledge America’s treatment towards African American in the past and present. This was the ugly side, and the silence was deafening. It was so quiet on the basement level of the museum one could hear a pin drop. The walls were black and there was very little low lighting just enough to see the displays and enough to see in front of  and around one self. The basement floor of the museum broke my heart. Throughout parts of the exhibit you can hear voice recordings of different slave narratives of when slaves were being beaten and drug onto the slave ships from their home countries. I tried so hard to fight back tears walking through the exhibit so I could still enjoy the museum; the crazy part is, I knew a lot about this history and it still hurt me so deeply as if I was learning it for the first time.The thing I did appreciate most about this floor was that they did not start the exhibit with slavery because our history did not start with slavery; we’re more than slavery and the museum displayed that this is not and was not the being of my people. It started with maps and images  of the islands and the continent of Africa and regions of Latin America. Slavery definitely  wasn’t the end of our story and nor was it the beginning.

Original slave block where slaves stood during auctions

As we made our way up to the middle and upper floors we saw the successes and accomplishments by so many black Americans that contribute to our daily lives. So many black Americans are responsible for the technology, culture, styles, trends, products and structures that we know today. Even though I felt sorry and pain at times asking though the exhibit to whole time I can say that I felt pride, I am so proud of my people and I am so proud of my ancestors. I think its important for people to know that black people are strong, anyone living in America back then and today that is black, is incredibly strong.

Nat Turner’s Bible

More importantly, I want other people to know that along with our resilience we are a kind, loving, talented, intelligent, creative, daring, progressive, determined, and IMPORTANT. I think about the museum and I think about what were it to be like if nothing in that museum existed, if  everything in that museum vanished from American history.    America would have absolutely nothing. Nothing, zilch, nada. America would have absolutely nothing. This was highlighted in a major way on the top floor of the museum, all of the accomplishments, success and groundbreaking moments for African Americans in politics, pop culture, in the nation, filled top floor. I had such an overwhelming feeling of pride. At one point on the floor you end up in the center and the exhibit it literally surrounding you, see it here. This nation was built on the backs of black people, from our blood, sweat and tears, our sorrows and our joys.

Tupac Shakur’s Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of design its only appropriate that we start from the basement work our way up ascending to the top floor; pointed directly towards the sky that houses Heaven, overseen by the God that made us, protects us, loves us and provides for us. The design of this entire museum, parallels the journey of black people in America. We’re ascending and continuously getting better, growing, achieving, succeeding and progressing in a nation that put us at the bottom, below ground level and expected us to stay there. I think Maya Angelou said it best, “You may write me down in history. With your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”  The people that kidnapped us and forced us here tried to bury us, time after time; but what they didn’t realize was that they were burying a seed. We’re still rising.

Annotated Bib 7 +8: Chocolate City turns to Latte City

Dvorak, Petula. “From Chocolate City to Latte City: Being Black in the New D.C.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 15 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

In her news article Petula Dvorak starts off her article with the cold hard facts about that decreasing number of black people that once made up the famous District of Columbia; what was once known as Chocolate City is now Latte City. What was once a majority african american city is a majority white city, she highlights the things that are driving African American people out of the nations capital. The racial profiling and discrimination is at an all time high; she details the story of Jason Goolsby and young black college student that was forced to the ground in handcuffs for simply using the local ATM. She addresses the disappearance of affordable housing that is forcing a lot of people in black neighborhoods to relocate entirely, due to the “rebuilding” in many areas of DC that cause the price of housing to skyrocket. So many of this things that DC knows and love was created and upheld by the black residents of DC.

I plan on using this article in a way that adds the support of local voices and journalism to my research. In the article, examples and stories of local black people  that are affected by the changing race relations in DC, would be very helpful for my paper when looking at the reinvention of the Lincoln Theatre in a systematic approach.

 

Hopkinson, Natalie. “Farewell to Chocolate City.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 June 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

 

In this New York Times article, Natalie Hopkinson, interviews local born and raised DC resident Donna, and African American woman in her late 40s. Donna’s family has own having in DC for the past three generations of people and she has watched city full of people that look liked her, speak and move, and act like turn into a city that she doesn’t even recognize. Hopkinson highlights how easy it is for local black DC residents to feel like a stranger in their own homes when the familiar neighborhoods, people and places are being removed and leaving and being replaced with entities unfamiliar to them. Hopkinson briefly touches on the long history of Washington DC dating back to 1791, and what it meant at the time as one of the only safe cities for African American people. The reader is reminded of all of the iconic African American people such as Zora Neale Hurston and Duke Ellington that helped make DC home for a lot of black people. Natalie Hopkinson closes that article with addressing Donna’s feelings of “hopelessness” and “worthlessness” when she feels like the City that has given everything to her,  is now pushing her farther away than ever.

This journal news article is very helpful for me in a way that the previous article from the Washington Post was helpful to me in the fact that, these are first hand accounts of local black people young, old and middle age telling their story and what the city was like in their eyes and how they city it now. This article goes into exactly what changes have occurred in black neighborhoods the touches on the upsetting reality for so many black residents such as the woman featured in this article.

PINK

https://10301995.tumblr.com/post/150429997430/curtisdondeano-stop-policing-our-masculinity

“Its a beautiful world and be apart of what keeps the beauty. Don’t be the ugly part. Nobody remembers the ugly part.”

I’ve watched this clip more times than I can count; its incredibly emboldening in my eyes. Im so proud of Curtis and I don’t even know him personally; but what I do know is that he’s from Baltimore, an area where black men are constantly being challenged on their masculinity and adhering to masculine  gender stereotypes are a matter of life or death and he’s walking around in all pink with flowers on his shoes and balloons. Like he said in the video…..pink use to be a “masculine” color anyway. The fact that society decided to assign gender and gender roles to nearly everything in the world to include colors is insane to me. Especially given the fact that there aren’t just two genders as many people would think, its a spectrum and everyone can be gender fluid at some point or another.

Our society has always been ridiculously harsh about what it means to be feminine and what it means to be masculine and Curtis constantly puts our content on his Tumblr page that challenges these ideas. He’s comfortable in his own energy and in his own body and that in itself is inspiring to me. We are all loved parts of this universe so I agree with him when he says to be apart of what keeps the beauty, thats what matters most.

 

 

COMMON sense

” You have a Creator that loves you; a Creator that will always provide for you. Keep your eyes on the prize and your faith high.”

Photo by Marguerite Tucker, Shotbyencore.com

These are the words of wisdom that stuck with me the most from Common’s address to American University last night. I was lucky enough to photograph the event as press. I’ve photographed many “cool” people and celebrities before ( go to shotbyencore.com ) but never have I ever photographed someone this wholesome. Yes, wholesome is the perfect word to describe Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known to the word as rapper, filmmaker, actor, and philanthropist Common. His energy is nearly contagious, its rare that you get to meet someone as genuine and as compassionate as him, someone that is comfortable in living their truth, acknowledging where they have fell short, constantly humbled by the presence of God and keeps a level head in the times of challenge. In speaking with him, I saw the goodness in his heart, he smiled with such authenticity and I couldn’t that I was standing their talking to one of my biggest artistic inspirations, I was talking to hip-hop history and culture; he was standing there right in front of me.

Last night, his speech also touched  on having faith in your higher power and your purpose and what exactly that means to each and everyone of us. He spoke about passion, love, dignity and not falling to despair and violence in a time where it may seem likes thats the only thing surrounding us. He talked about his trials and tribulations what it meant for him to leave college after two years, be a black man in America and do something that everyone wanted to do….rap. The thing I understand about Common from being such a fan of his art (music and film wise) he’s not just a rapper, he’s a poet. He does everything  poetically; with such passion, honesty, grace, and determination. It comes out even in his grittiest lyrics, his best love songs, the most complex characters he plays on screen. Wherever life takes me, I hope to do whatever I’m doing with passion, faith, authenticity, and grace; I hope to do it with COMMONsense.

Photo by Marguerite Tucker, Shotbyencore.com

Afros, Stretch Marks, and Hip-Hop

King Kendrick did it again. This video had me shook from a number of standpoints. The videography and graphics were absolutely incredible, this brought the music video together into a phenomenal, entertaining and unique visual for his new single HUMBLE. Additionally, I’m a fan of Kendrick’s irony, despite the fact that the song is titled ‘HUMBLE’ he is dressed as a king the majority of the music video or in some scenes he even depicts himself as Jesus Christ surrounded by the 12 disciples. The part that stood our to me the most was his nod he gave to black women in this video. In one scene he had a heavy-set girl, thats all made up in make up and nice clothes with her hair done. Then he says, “Im so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop. Show me something natural like afro like Richard Pryor. Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks. Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch”. The girl changes scenes and is shown with a completely bare face, a plain white shirt, and her big natural afro hair; she turns around in her underwear showing the stretch marks all over her thighs and butt. This scene as a young black woman meant a lot to me. Black women are alway berated for their appearance, they’re put down for the way they choose to wear their hair, they’re put down for their body types and complexions. The appearance of a black woman as a whole is under attack daily, from social media, from our classmates, our teachers, our co-workers, and complete strangers. As a black girl that loves to rock her natural fro and has a ton of stretch marks, this video touched me. To hear if from a black man, in hip-hop, it touched me. It didn’t touch me because I’m looking for validation or because i need to felt desired by a man, but it touched me because Kendrick Lamar said what needed to be said so long ago. I’ve been known that my ‘fro is fly and my stretch marks are fierce, Im just so glad he’s getting with the program finally.