Residents of the inner city are often portrayed as poor, unskilled, and ignorant through the media, literature, and the rhetoric of organizations that aim for the enhancement of that community. In my analysis, I offer new techniques that enable service organizations to describe inner city communities and their members realistically, but not tragically. Using the rhetoric of tragedy and conservative behaviorists, I analyze how STRIVE NextStep DC describes their youth mentees, who live with sickle cell disease, and their background within impoverished and minority based neighborhoods within the District’s inner city. In order to effectively examine the rhetoric of this organization, I take a closer look at their website, flyer, and program overview document. STRIVE NextStep DC strides toward empowering their mentees to debunk many of these stereotypes, yet the rhetoric they use sometimes contradicts this goal. I present an alternate rhetoric for STRIVE NextStep DC to use, and encourage other service organizations to evaluate the rhetoric utilized to describe the communities that are served.
This research project was published in Penn State Berks’ Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research on January 27, 2016.
Access the article here!