In his “Part Two: Suburbia”, Fleming begins to touch on more of the ethical issue found with the housing authorities. Initially, he states, “We can solve a housing problem, or we can try to solve a racial problem. But we cannot combine the two” (91). Here, Fleming offers the audience a beginning strategy to solving this larger issue. However, a group of public housing residents combined the two and sued the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for violating their constitutional right of equal protection clause (91). The claim was, “that the few projects located in white neighborhoods were 100 percent white” (Rubinowitz and Rosenbaum 23). Due to the fact the projects are funded by the government, this was, by proxy, the government supporting concentrating and segregation of blacks. After losing the case, HUD was now required to have residential racial integration and add houses to the white neighborhoods.
This new and forward thinking is very interesting, especially in relation to his past chapter on social isolation (rhetorical analysis found below).
Governmental Institutionalization of the Ghetto
Housing voucher programs ideally is a perfect fix. The resident finds their own housing unit and comes to an agreement with the landlord. They sign the lease and pays 30 percent of their family’s monthly income directly to the owner and federal funds pay the difference between that and the standard payment for rent (94). This allows individuals to get assistance from the government but not take advantage of the system. They are able to get houses in different locations allowing these lower-class families to mix with middle and upper-class families and help integrate them into the mainstream population. Rather than be surrounded by other struggling families in an isolated community they are able to be fully immersed in the mainstream society which should minimize the gap. Ideally, it works. However, the program was extremely underfunded and ended up only increasing the supply of lower cost housing in the country, making those cheaper houses affordable.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, the legislators tried to fix this problem. They created districts for public schools that mixed kids of all classes. Integrating different individuals in schools can help diminish the gap between lower-income families and mainstream. Using school districting works without having to worry about moving housing around.
Fleming, “David. City of Rhetoric.” Part Two. Suburbia, SUNY Press, 2008.