Monday, August 8, 2011
Here's my thoughts on both perspectives:
Against using any reference to the "Black Bottom"
- If some people in our class think that there is a racially negative connotation associated with Black Bottom, it's very likely that some portion of our "audience" will make that association as well.
- I generally think it's important to avoid making any group of people (grouped by gender, race, geographic location, etc) seem inferior in any way. Is "the bottom" a pejorative word? Does is imply inferiority, even if in the context of our project, we mean nothing negative by the title?
For using a reference to the "Black Bottom"
- I agree that it really isn't our place to assign a racial stigma to a term that people proudly accept for themselves
- I don't think the term is inherently discriminatory. I think WE are making it out to be so, which means we are the ones creating this potential racial tension, not the term itself.
Here are some websites/articles that reference the area called the Black Bottom. From everything I've read, The Black Bottom is just a very blunt recognition of a geographic area and what was once a racial majority in the area. It doesn't seem like there is any association of shame involved.
From the last link I just posted:
In 1976, six people from the neighborhood founded the Black Bottom Association. In September of that same year, the Association held a dinner party to celebrate their first “family reunion.” More than 100 people attended the affair.
The first Black Bottom Association annual picnic was held during the summer of 1984 at Belmont and Parkside Avenues. Two hundred people, contacted simply by word of mouth, attended the gathering. Many of the families had not seen each other since 1976. To this day, the Black Bottom Association has an annual picnic on the last Sunday of July.
In addition, On March 25th, 1999, the Council of the City of Philadelphia designated the last Sunday of August as Black Bottom Day in Philadelphia, “in fitting tribute to the great history and legacy of this great and historic community.”
Though the families may have been physically displaced, spiritually the former residents of the Black Bottom remain united.
To me it really seems like "The Bottom" is something that is very matter of fact, very rooted in the history of the area, and is celebrated for what it is and what it means to the people here.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
A name is a descriptive marker used to identify a person place or thing and is usually I feel supported by the common collective, meaning that if a name, which is not official but a term such as a neighborhood moniker the appropriate use is based on the people using the term. Based on my discussions with Bishop Barnes and pastor Nichols the name was derived from the geographical location of the neighborhood in relationship to the river and the neighborhoods west of 50th. If an individual was traveling in the direction of 50th they were going up yonder and if they were do the opposite they were going to the bottom, lowest point next to the river. The term Black is an identifier to the racial majority of the neighbor that once used to be predominately Jewish. Both the Bishop and the pastor describe the term as a very proud descriptor, this is who we are and what we are and felt the term is not negative, unless the context of the statement spoken by the individual is negative. As for myself, to not recognize the name is disingenuous to the character and spirit of the neighborhood and ultimately our project. It is not up to us as non residents to alter or characterize a neighborhood based on our own outside perception but to report and discussed in neighborhood an open positive manor while not hiding the positive or the negative, let the words of the individuals profiled to speak for themselves and I don’t believe the name will be taken out of context.
36/42 Lancaster: Stories of the Black Bottom – I like this better
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I was looking at the map that James gave us and it describes Lancaster Ave as a "gateway." I thought that might be an idea, The Gateway.
Anyways feel free to post some ideas, hopefully we can come up with something we all feel invested in and that will represent our project well :)
Monday, July 25, 2011
I hope that nothing is “lost in translation,” so to speak. I will be interpreting parts of this subject’s life... and the viewers of this project will be interpreting my interpretations. This duality will either mend or be extremely uneven. It will be interesting to say which way it goes.
Regarless of what one is observing, it is important to not forget one’s individual epistemological constraints, especially since sensory ethnography is a fairly new phenomenon. This begs the question of to what extent someone can actually have an experience without touch and smell, two very important senses that will not be explored through this project.
The success of this project will be greatly determined by how deeply I will be allowed into the subject’s life. Since this is a bottom-up form of context awareness, the power is in the hands of the subject.
The accessibility of the project is important, especially if it is only on the street. The gallery will make it more accessible, but there is still the obstacle of not having a smart phone.
I also hope my schedule and the subject's schedule match up so I can get this started!