Final Chapter of City of Rhetoric- Reading Analysis 5

In his last chapter of City of Rhetoric, David Fleming concludes his analysis of the built American environment. He accurately describes the flaws that still are ever present within these various communities. Continuously and throughout the book, the majority population illustrated a lack of care for the minority and continuously finds different methods to keep them in the same systems. Fleming makes a point of noting that we throw around the word “community” carelessly but in reality, “We continue, that is, to be afraid of our diversity and to imagine that the most progressive response to social alienation is its opposite— a melding of disparate experiences into unity.” We fail to actually include those who look different than us into our built environments which leave room for disparities between each other. This also causes us to view each other as different even though we have no actual knowledge of the way we live our lives.

Fleming emphasizes that we should not be looking at this book from a global perspective, but instead, look within our own built spaces and figure out how we can improve it. He uses the example of Hurricane Katrina and the poor response from our own former President, George Bush Jr. There seems to be a stigma that if a catastrophic event occurs only the elite are of concern and those who are the urban poor minority are left out of the conversation. This is reminiscent of Kanye West’s rant: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Although this seems comedic there is a sense of truth to this statement. As a community, we fail one another if we do not pick up the minority from their oppressive state. It is wrongful to blame them for their living conditions if they have always remained in these conditions and never given the opportunity or a ladder to climb out of these environments.


A picture of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It is important to not that the response to this crises was extremely poor. Questions arise as to was this because the majority of the population was people of color? Do they not matter?
I found this picture especially captivating because as an American it should have been expected that these individuals would be taken care of after their homes were destroyed, but they were not looked at as a priority. But at the same time, black Americans are expected to serve this country with respect and dignity when clearly they are not even thought about.
While it might seem funny now, there are levels of truth to Kanye’s statement. There seems to be a lack of empathy related to the black community and it was clearly illustrated in Hurricane Katrina and also throughout Fleming’s book with his descriptions of the ever-changing Chicago.


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