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New Rhetoric,

Same White Supremacy

Modern Oklahoma City has been shaped through the 20th and 21st century by a fierce drive to segregate urban areas and keep African American people in an inferior position by controlling and limiting their access to land and dismantling their communities through white flight, urban renewal, and gentrification. As society changed in the 20th century, it was no longer permissible to openly enforce discrimination and segregation on an official level. Creative change of language and action by White supremacists allowed the same racist meanings to be expressed and the same racist goals to be achieved in new subtle, acceptable ways.

America's history of weaponizing land to divide and destroy Black communities calls into question how originally Black spaces, like Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce district, are historically preserved.

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Downtown Oklahoma City

OK SPACE

The goal of this project is to bring racism back into the conversation when talking about changes in the urban landscape. Rhetorical analysis of local interviews, news articles, social media, and scholarship around these topics reveal:

Erasure of racism from history and education has caused America to forget the role white supremacy played in shaping modern cities.

Oklahoma City's rhetoric refers to urban change as "revitalization," yet it continues to repeat history by neglecting the Black community living on the Eastside.

Historic preservation of African American neighborhoods in OKC values restoration of buildings and objects, but fails to authentically preserve or respect the original culture by actively excluding the Black community from Deep Deuce.

The government uses language about "individual choice" to claim they can't control the choices of White communities. This allows them to avoid taking responsibility for their major role in ingraining white supremacy and segregation into American cities.

EXPLORE URBAN CHANGE

explore the history

The invisible lines of Deep Deuce, OKC were drawn in the early 20th century through newly created residential segregation laws. Restricting African American residents to this area, it grew into a thriving, self-sustained community. Due to urban renewal, the construction of a highway through the middle of the land, effects of desegregation (and other factors), the area declined until almost nothing remained. Though it is now marketed as being historically preserved, gentrification of the area has excluded Black people from the actual preservation process and community itself.

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COMMUNITY INTERVIEWS

Business owners, real estate agents, farmers, educators, and more discuss their experiences, goals, and

perspectives as residents of OKC.

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