The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race And Diversity In Everyday Life

Powerful Essays
Public space is unavoidable. Whether one comes from a small, quaint town such as Sedona, Arizona or a city over-flowing with people such as Los Angeles, California, public space is an inescapable requirement that comes with the choice of living. Roads, sidewalks, parks, and even beaches qualify as public domain. Citizens use the streets and sidewalks to accomplish everyday life tasks; even simple chores such as buying groceries necessitates crossing through public space. With something so obligatory, it is concerning that so many people do not desire to use it. Power is fundamental to the usage of public space. Supremacy often determines who will occupy the space, how enjoyable the space will be, and how accessible the space will be to different…show more content…
Although present-day America advocates equality, this desire does not always translate into public domain. In Elijah Anderson’s novel, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Diversity in Everyday Life, he highlights the dysfunctional relationship between power and public space in the urban city of Philadelphia. Through outlets such as the government, the police, and the wealthy, power has the ability to hinder or enhance the experience of a citizen in a public space. As an entity of power, it is only natural that the government contributes heavily to the creation and the function of a public space. The government’s power also allows them to establish the level of diversity and different demographics in an area. Government agencies have taken profound steps to incorporate all cultures equally into society. A noteworthy illustration of this is their expansion of affirmative action, a policy that services those who were historically segregated. Anderson recognizes the increase in “visible diversity in American institutional and cultural life” (Anderson, xiv) due to the extension of the policy. Admittedly, the inclusion of all ethnicities in public spaces has enabled public domains to be…show more content…
As one flicks through the news, he or she may be startled or shocked to discover the sheer amount of police cruelty occurring in public space. As an extension of government, the police inherit the same powers involving public space. Although they cannot create new policies, they act to enforce the policies designed by the government. Police are often mistakenly advertised as a source of protection for citizens. However, Anderson refuses to neglect the truth: they are the villains. Slamming any pre-existing admirable outlook readers may have had, Anderson inquires, based on his observations, “the authorities, particularly the police, paid scant attention and sometimes abused the victims themselves” (Anderson, 27). Philadelphia is notorious for its high crime rate, marking the police as almost a necessity to the function of everyday life. However, due to the mistreatment of citizens, people began to refer to the police as “ineffective” and “unworthy of trust.” The safeness of an area is key to the number of individuals using that public space, ultimately deeming the police a negative factor. In addition to the negative safety element, policemen also partake in plain acts of racism. Racism among the police force is a huge factor in the atmosphere of a public space. Anderson mentions the
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