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Seth Dixon's insight:
Last year, Julie and I wrote this article for Maps 101 (which was also created into a podcast) about the historical and geographic significance of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King fought racial segregation, which, if you think about it, is a geographic system of oppression that uses space and place to control populations. Derek Alderman and Jerry Mitchell, excellent educators and researchers, produced lesson plans to help students investigate the politics behind place naming, specifically using the case study of the many streets named after Martin Luther King.
Questions to Ponder: Why are streets named after Martin Luther King found in certain places and not in others? What forces and decisions likely drive these patterns? What is the historical legacy of Martin Luther King and how is it a part of certain cultural landscapes?
"Violence has a geography and for this reason, geography lies at the center of discussions of violence. Within the United States a myriad of taken for granted assumptions about identity, place, power, and memory undergird the nation’s psyche. These normative interpretations intersect with a particular kind of geographic formulation that places persons of color in general, but black men most specifically, at the center of the violent structures of the nation."
Seth Dixon's insight:
This isn't merely commentary about social upheaval or some musing about the social inequities (I think we've all read a ton of those articles). This is a geographic analysis that discusses the interactions, interconnections and implications of a social and spatial conflict between citizens and the institutions of the state. Ferguson, MO is undoubtedly a lightning rod today and some might prefer to avoid discussing it in a classroom setting; I find that as long as we put analysis before ideology, issues such as these show students the relevance and importance of geographic principles to their lives.
Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address.
Seth Dixon's insight:
This hour-long podcast addresses some has key issues in urban geography by exploring the history of redlining, the Fair Housing Act and other fair housing initiatives. The urban cultural mosaic of the United States and the neighborhoods of our cities have been greatly shaped by these issues. Currently gentrification is reshaping many U.S. cities and fits into the wider scope of the issues raised in the podcast.
|Suggested by Allison Anthony|
An exodus of African-Americans from struggling industrial cities such as Detroit and the growth of Sunbelt states have pushed racial segregation in U.S. metropolitan areas to its lowest level in a century, according to a new study.
Fifty years ago, nearly half the black population lived in a ghetto, the study said, while today that proportion has shrunk to 20%. All-white neighborhoods in U.S. cities are effectively extinct, according to the report. While the urban geography of North America is not post-racial, many of the glaringly institutionalized problems (e.g.-redlining) have lessened.
"The Manhattan Institute just released a new study by economists Ed Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor called 'The End of the Segregated Century.' It cheerfully notes that segregation is at its lowest level since 1910 and that all-white neighborhoods 'are virtually extinct.'
Their report seems accurate enough in describing the changes and is consistent, in many respects, with other research. Yet, in focusing exclusively on change, the report fails to convey that segregation is still quite high throughout much of America. Moreover, the summary and discussion are misleading in their insinuation that “the end of segregation” has failed as a 'driving force' behind increasing socio-economic equality between races."
"Americans' understanding of who counts as 'white' has changed dramatically throughout the country's history and even over the last century alone. This map — which covers a decade of immigration to the US, from 1892 to 1903 — is a dramatic illustration of what it looked like when 'white' wasn't the same thing as European. Mouse over any part of the map to magnify it."
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated,"A man who won't die for something is not fit to live." Arrested over twenty times, stabbed in the chest, his house firebombed and, ultimately shot and killed, King embodied the idea that equality and the African American Civil Rights Movement were worth dying for.He was a husband and father to four children as persecution and death threats filled his days, yet his example was one of nonviolent, civil disobedience.Had he not been assassinated, King would have celebrated his 85th birthday on January 15th."
Dr. Martin Luther King fought racial segregation (which, if you think about it, is a geographic system of oppression that uses space and place to control populations). Dr. King has been described as a critical geographer for some of his insights. In 1967, MLK stated, "The expansion of suburbia and migration from the South has worsened big-city segregation. The suburbs are a white noose around the black necks of cities… suburbs expand with little regard for what happens to the rest of America.” If you are a Maps 101 subscriber, please read the rest of this article that I co-authored with Julie Dixon. You can also sign up for a free trial subscription or listen to the article as a free podcast on Stitcher Radio.
"Portland is a city that some residents praise as a kind of eden: full of bike paths, independently-owned small businesses, great public transportation and abundant microbreweries and coffeeshops. And then there’s a whole other city. It’s the city where whole stretches of busy road are missing sidewalks, and you can see folks in wheelchairs rolling themselves down the street right next to traffic. It’s the city where some longtime African-American residents feel as if decades of institutional racism still have not been fully addressed."
Portland, Oregon is often discussed as a magnet for a young demographic that wants to be part of a sustainable city that supports local businesses and agriculture. This podcast looks behind that image (which has a measure of truth to it) to see another story. Relining, gentrification, poverty, governance and urban planning are all prominent topics in this 50 minute podcast that provides as fascinating glimpse into the poorer neighborhoods of this intriguing West Coast city. When in cities, we often use the term sustainability to refer to the urban ecology, but here we see a strong concern for the social sustainability of their historic neighborhoods as well.
"American tragedies occur where middle America frequents every day: airplanes, business offices, marathons. Where there persists a tangible fear that this could happen to any of us. And rightfully so. Deaths and mayhem anywhere are tragic. That should always be the case. The story here is where American tragedies don't occur. American tragedies don't occur on the southside of Chicago or the New Orleans 9th Ward."
This is a controversial Op-Ed article that discusses how place and the major axes of identity (race, class and gender) shape and intersect with the the national memory of violence and the media portrayal of violence. According the David Dennis, "The media seems to forget about New Orleans and any place that the middle class can't easily relate to."
Is there racism and discrimination in Japan? I was surprised to find out that almost all of my high school students (about 1000 students) were not aware of t...
This YouTube video has caused a tremendous amount of controversy in Japan, where most see discrimination as a problem in other societies. For some more context on the controversy, read this great Washington Post article on the subject.
Aboriginal leaders threaten to ban tourists from a top Australian landmark in protest at "racist" government policies.
This is an old article, but a fascinating topic that cuts across many geographic issues. Uluru, the landform that that European explorers named Ayers Rock, was the key place that is at the center of a struggle between indigenous people and the government. Many feel that the government's course of action in the mid 2000's was paternalistic and racist. They banned alcohol and pornography in over 70 indigenous communities in an attempt to lower the rates of child sex abuse. Sex Abuse is high (and often hidden) in aboriginal communities where a child is 7 times more likely to be abused than in the rest of the Australian population.
Questions to Ponder: Would the government impose such measures on other populations within Australia? When crimes have a racial component, does a government have the right to limit a particular groups' actions? Why or why not?
A teaser trailer for the MLK Streets Project, a documentary film examining the state of the many avenues, boulevards and thoroughfares named after the slain ...
This video echoes much of what the authors of the fantastic book "Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory" say (in fact one of the authors is shown in this video). Throughout America, streets that are named after Martin Luther King Jr. frequently are in poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods. This video highlights the irony between the historical memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and places of memorialization that bear his name.
Questions to ponder: If Matin Luther King Jr. represents non-violence, then why are streets bearing his name often in 'violent' neighborhoods? Where should Martin Luther King be memorialized in the United States? Only in the South? Only in predominantly African-American communities? Do the geography of the spaces where he is memorialized say something about the United States?
|Suggested by k.vig|
KV: Development of a high end apartment complex in a low income area would force pre-gentrification people out of the neighborhood. The taxes would get raised to amounts that make it difficult for these people to afford. However, the people in charge of this project are ignoring the consequences and focusing on the 5 million dollars tax break.
SD: This sign went up in to 2006 protest the mills-to-condo developments in Providence, Rhode Island. Click here to see the photographer's work.
This chilling documentary outlines the historical genocide of Tutsi people predominantly by Hutu's in Rwanda during 1994. So often, students who have always lived within a society with effective political institutions are unable to see how such atrocities could even happen. This video lays the groundwork for understanding the disintegration of political institution within Rwanda, reasons the international community underestimated the threat, why the UN in 1994 (after Somalia) was not prepared to use forceful action and why westerners fled. In this state of lawlessness, the cultural tensions and colonial legacy lead to horrific killings. This genocide has no one reason, but a complex set of geographic contexts. This would be a powerful video to show students. WARNING: considering the content, there are necessarily depictions of death. To learn more about the documentary, see: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ghosts/
http://www.thegreatrepublican.com Illinois' Rep. Bobby Rush (D) was removed from the House floor Wednesday morning after donning the hood of his sweater — an...
The 'rules' about clothing, place and social context are culturally and politically institutionalized. Where can you wear what clothes, and when does that change? Should it change? The clothes literally made this particular speech, since it was about the criminalization of cultural clothing norms within racial and economic groups. Should he have been thrown off the floor? What would you have done?
|Suggested by Luke Walker|
These are great images that shows the can build historical and geographical empathy for those that were discriminated against during the era of redlining. These maps from the Home Owners' Loan Corporation mapped and shaped regions of urban disinvestment (but the maps were NOT widely circulated). This example of redlining in 1936 Philadelphia, links you to primary source documents if you click on the map. The documents are reports on the property values, resident demographics and descriptions of the residential zones. For more on the Philadelphia redlining research project, visit: http://cml.upenn.edu/redlining/intro.html