Reaction Paper 2
October 21st 2015
I decided to do a critical synthesis of the two readings from October 14th – 16th. ‘There Goes The Neighborhood’ by Mark Atlas and ‘The Education of an Organizer’ by Saul Alinsky.
When reading the two articles, Alinsky and Atlas I didn’t really understand how they correlated or if they did at all. But after listening to the discussion we had in class I understand how the two can relate. In the Alinsky article, he is talking about what a good community organizer looks like. What traits an organizer has, what things essentially make a good organizer. He argues that a movement will not really be successful if the organizer isn’t a good community organizer. He is arguing that community organizers can’t just appeal to one group. They have to appeal to all groups. In the reading Alinsky said that qualities such as a good sense of humor, an open mind, curiosity and many more are good qualities to have to be a good organizer.
In the Atlas reading on hazardous waste and the placement of TSDF’s, we understand that communities didn’t want these hazardous waste facilities in or near their neighborhoods because of the obvious, they’re hazardous. He argues on environmental equity and the problems that brings to the table in relation to the TSDF placement. The article talks about how upper class neighborhoods, higher income neighborhoods don’t have the TSDF’s near them and that they are placed more commonly in the lower income neighborhoods that are composed of mostly minorities. The article goes to say that this is not actually true and that the TSDFs are placed in the areas in which the residents didn’t have a lot of input on whether they should be placed there or not. Those who did make a big deal and said, no that they didn’t want the TSDF’s near or in their communities, didn’t have them in or near their communities.
After having a good understanding of both of the readings, I was able to relate them in the sense that, in the Atlas reading, if there is a good community organizer saying “Hey no we don’t want these hazardous waste facilities near our community for pollution purposes” then they are more likely to be heard and not have the facilities near their communities. Those communities who have a good organizer in them and that fight against having the TSDF’s, are less likely to have them.
Throughout the studies demonstrated in Atlas’ argument and throughout the studies Atlas did, we can see that the placement of these facilities has nothing to do with income or race or any other factor like that. We can see that the placement of the facilities is based off of community input. So while the two readings talked about somewhat different things and it was difficult to relate the two at first, I can see how they relate now. Good community organizers lead and fight with the community for the things that they do want and for the things that they do not want, such as the TSDF’s.
Atlas, Mark. “There Goes the Neighborhood: Environmental Equity and the Location of New Hazardous Waste Management Facilities.” Policy Studies Journal (2002): 171-192.
Alinsky, Saul. “The Education of an Organizer.” Alinsky, Saul. Rules for Radicals. 1971. 63-80.