Power: Summit- University neighborhood

Power is an import force that influences the interaction, communication, and existence of every community. It is often hidden, but dynamic and it is always changing.  The power dictates what history to be told how to be told and who will tell it. Power also determines what to be taught at school, what language will be taught or spoken in a particular community. Power sets and defines the rules and the laws.

But the degree, in which this power is exercised, is different for every community and within any community. This power difference could exist at ethnic, race, gender, and socioeconomic, or age levels and it always creates dominants, those who have the power and control, and sub-ordinates, the less powered ones.  As martin and Nakayama ,the authors of a book called “Intercultural communication In Context” stated, the dominant try to remain their power whatever it takes, the subordinates try to challenge this power (martin and Nakayama 1997).

As every community, the Summit-University neighborhood, the 8th district in St. Paul, Minnesota, is influenced the power (www.mnhs.or). Through the history and culture, we can understand the power dynamics of this community.   The power, culture and history go hand by hand and influence each other.  In early 1850, the majority of the people who settled in this neighborhood European immigrants, thus the most dominant community that existed at that time were Caucasians (http://ramseyhill.org).  Since they were the dominant ethics at this neighborhood, they were the ones that had the dominant culture and the power.   Since the power dictates almost every aspect of the community, the official language spoken in this community also became the English language.

As we mention earlier, power and identity also coexisted. Thus, not all white people had power, but because of their gender differences, the white men also had power over the white women.  The power difference of this community can be seen their ways of life, for example the houses they were lived. Today some of these houses are still standing and became some historical sites (Minnesota Historical Society).

As we also look at the contemporary live of this community, we can see how the white people still have some the power although it is changing.  The white women are getting more power than ever.    As we mention earlier, the power is dynamic and changing.  There were two factors that were driving this change.  One was the immigration flow. The other one was that the      sub-ordinates were challenging the power.

In late 1900, there were many different immigrants that were settled in this neighborhood such us Asians, and recent ones are East Africans. These new ethnic groups brought their culture and languages with them. Since the diversity of this neighborhood increased, the challenge of the dominant power also increased.

Today, the Caucasians still are dominant and powerful ones in this neighborhood.  This explains what we observe during our visit of this neighborhood.  The people that we saw in the east of this neighborhood were white, and live in big houses (mansions) with different styles.  And the people we mostly saw in the western part were people of color and live in small and old houses. As the census on 2000 indicated, the 40% of the community live there are white the minority groups.

The power and socioeconomics also influence each other.  The most minorities that live in this community are low income  and immigrant  and  Few of them are working classes. Thus, they tend to have less involvement with government and political positions.  While the upper and working class and upper calls people tend to have power and they are the ones who control the political. The quality of the schools also depend the amount of the tax that the particular community pays. The schools that are located in the low income community are given less funding while the schools that located in upper and middle classes are well funded.  This has some ting to do whit the power and socioeconomic

Power also determines what to be taught at school and what languages are used.  Although that there are so many diverse language in this community, the English language is the official language that are taught at schools spoken at government offices.  In summary, we can say that the power is dynamic and it is changing due to the increasing diversity of the community, and power challenges from minority and sub-ordinates.

Reference:

  1. Ramsey Hill Association. http://ramseyhill.org.
  2.  Summit University planning Council. http://.summit-u.com
  3. Minnesota historical societywww.mnhs.org/wwww.mnhs.org/
  4. Martin and Nakayama. “Intercultural communication In Context” 1997.pages 110-133
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