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Writing the Urban Discourse into the Black Ghetto Imaginary: Louise Meriwether's Daddy Was A Number Runner

Writing the Urban Discourse into the Black Ghetto Imaginary: Louise Meriwether's Daddy Was A... Writing the Urban Discourse into the Black Ghetto Imaginary: Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was A Number Runner by E. Lâle Demirtürk Starting with the Great Migration in the early twentieth cen- tury, the city has emerged as a site of racial geography that constructs blackness and whiteness in terms of spatial defi nitions. The racialized urban space introduced a cognitive map of the predominantly white city where the ghetto became “an ideological construct” (Sugrue 229) even more than a physical one. Since the 1960s black ghettos have become the subject of serious sociological research that analyzes inner-city com- munities in close scrutiny. The sociopolitical and ideological constructs that caused the spatial isolation of black Americans were achieved by “a conjunction of racist attitudes, private behaviors, and institutional prac- tices that disenfranchised blacks from urban housing markets and led to the creation of the ghetto” (Massey & Denton 83). Since the histori- cal frame of reference of the term “ghetto” signifi es a spatialized term, it also signifi es, as the Kerner Report of 1968 suggests, that “white soci- ety is deeply implicated in the ghetto” (qtd. in Bernasconi 345). The fact that blacks are confi ned to the black ghetto http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Writing the Urban Discourse into the Black Ghetto Imaginary: Louise Meriwether's Daddy Was A Number Runner

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Writing the Urban Discourse into the Black Ghetto Imaginary: Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was A Number Runner by E. Lâle Demirtürk Starting with the Great Migration in the early twentieth cen- tury, the city has emerged as a site of racial geography that constructs blackness and whiteness in terms of spatial defi nitions. The racialized urban space introduced a cognitive map of the predominantly white city where the ghetto became “an ideological construct” (Sugrue 229) even more than a physical one. Since the 1960s black ghettos have become the subject of serious sociological research that analyzes inner-city com- munities in close scrutiny. The sociopolitical and ideological constructs that caused the spatial isolation of black Americans were achieved by “a conjunction of racist attitudes, private behaviors, and institutional prac- tices that disenfranchised blacks from urban housing markets and led to the creation of the ghetto” (Massey & Denton 83). Since the histori- cal frame of reference of the term “ghetto” signifi es a spatialized term, it also signifi es, as the Kerner Report of 1968 suggests, that “white soci- ety is deeply implicated in the ghetto” (qtd. in Bernasconi 345). The fact that blacks are confi ned to the black ghetto

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 8, 2007

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