Campus Shooting: Georgia State University’s Rhetoric as an Inner City Institution Analysis

The moon Illuminating Piedmont North Dorms on the night of the shooting.

The moon Illuminating Piedmont North Dorms on the night of the shooting.

When I first received my acceptance letter to Georgia State, I was tentative about attending school here this being due to the fact that safety concerns are a huge part of the spacial rhetoric for Downtown Atlanta and subsequently- Georgia State has. With the biased lens of a 18 year old girl who grew up in a predominantly upper class, white suburb section of Los Angeles county, Georgia State seemed scary. In what ways does a city with: “a violent crime rate of 1,433 per 100,000” (Forbes) really manipulate the rhetoric behind a leading research university located in it’s heart? An example of this manipulation can be easily found- stemming from a drug related shooting that occurred on campus- just days ago. It was nine o’clock at night when I was walking back into my dorm. Earphones in and desperately wanting a shower after doing my hour and a half at the gym I rushed upstairs- completely unaware of what was occurring in the parking lot directly behind me. At 9:00 on Monday night, March 21st 2016, Georgia State Freshman, Bryan Rhoden and Shelton Torance Flournoy (who does not attend GSU) got into a drug related altercation in the parking lot of the Piedmont North Dorm building that resulted with both Rhoden, and Flournoy shot in the chest and rushed to Grady Hospital.

Police in Piedmont Dorm parking lot the night of shooting.

Police in Piedmont Dorm parking lot the night of shooting.

As I observed the aftermath of the shooting (consisting mostly of bewildered residents of the dorm and policemen with blue lights flashing in the parking lot below) from the balcony of Piedmont North’s sixth floor balcony over the parking lot and past to Piedmont Avenue NorthEast. I began to see and hear something very similar from each individual who pulled out their phone to record what was happening or between people having a conversation. “Only at Georgia State would something like this happen.” Different renditions of this same exclamation began to pour out of people’s mouths and just as quickly onto different modes of social media like Twitter or Snapchat. Hashtags like #RatchetSchool and #GetItTogetherGSU became associated with the shooting, the city of Atlanta- and Georgia State as a whole. It seemed to me like Georgia States location had an unspoken and irreversible rhetoric of being a school were violent crimes or drug related crimes were to be expected because of its location in the heart of Downtown Atlanta. Linked with words like “ratchet” and “ghetto” Georgia State began to receive even more flack when news outlets like 11 Alive News alerted the masses to the details of the shooting before the university did. Analyzing the unspoken rhetoric can be extremely useful when the connotations of the area surrounding can turn to be problematic. It seems like Georgia State University, although a highly accredited school, will always be “guilty by association” – possessing the spacial rhetoric of the city it calls home.

Digital Environment Description: Noisey Atlanta Episode 1

Opening Scene of Noisey Atlanta Video

Opening Scene of Noisey Atlanta Video

When Noisey Atlanta Episode 1 is typed into the YouTube search bar, a gray screen with a frowning box prompts the viewer to “sign into your account to confirm age- some of the content in this video may be inappropriate for children under 18.” When I sign into my account confirming me to be age 18 or over, YouTube automatically redirects me to the Noisey Atlanta-Welcome to the Trap- Episode 1 page. All along the right hand side of the page, the following episodes in the Noisey Atlanta Series are displayed for choosing, along with some other Noisey series and other videos from similar modern publications such as After some buffering, the video plays and the mise-en-scène (a French term that means “placing on stage, in film meaning the arrangement of everything that appears in the framing – actors, lighting, décor, props, costume) is instantly set. Noisey journalist Thomas Morton stands superimposed in front of a highway connector with Downtown Atlanta slightly out of focus in the background. The video cuts away to an birds eye view of “Spaghetti Junction” ,the series of interconnected and overlapping interstates and highways Atlanta is known for, with a heavy trap beat playing in the background. Thomas Morton is shown walking into a house with yellow tinged plaster on the outside and iron bars covering the doors and the windows. A black man decorated with chains and a black baseball cap on his head is stirring a pot on an electric stove. White lettering in the bottom left hand corner of the video gives a name to the space Morton just entered-  The Trap. The camera leaves the kitchen area occupied by Morton and the man cooking dope of the stove and pans out to reveal the front of the yellow tinged house, the theme song and title fade in, superimposed in front of the yellow house: “Noisey Atlanta” Appears. Morton speaks on the

Journalist Thomas Morton and dope cooker, Curtis Snow sitting on the porch of a "Trap."

Journalist Thomas Morton and dope cooker, Curtis Snow sitting on the porch of a “Trap.”

history of Atlanta as a travel stop or major destination- connecting Atlanta’s abundance of highways, interstates, and airline stops to its prevalence in drug trafficking- all while cars pass behind and underneath him from his spot on a highway overpass. Trap music continues to play as the camera’s 180-degree line is expanded to include a birds eye view of dilapidated houses in the “ghetto” suburbs of Atlanta. Morton and the dope cooking man now identified to be Curtis Snow sit on a porch smoking blunts and drinking vodka out of a miniature handle, start to discuss what Trap is and what it means against the backdrop of the yellow tinged house. As Morton and Snow delineate the origin and meaning of Trap the scene cuts away to a strip club, women’s butts gyrate in the air while cash is being thrown and toted around in bags by “thick” women of color wearing very minimalistic sparkly outfits. Morton reappears in the frame, synth machines, headphones, sound boards, microphones, and a glass window separating all of the music technology from a room with two mics and stools in it prove the space to be a recording studio. A man in a blue hat, blue printed shirt, two diamond chains, and blue shoes speaks casually to Morton who leans against a sound table biting his nails with one arm folded across his body. As the two get into a conversation on Black Mafia Family and how they played a major part in the introduction of Trap in relation to drug trafficking and the music scene, the camera shows scenes of police lights flickering and Atlanta as if to solidify its status as the origin of Trap. Morton is playing pool with Bleu DaVinci (the man in the blue hat, shirt and shoes) when a picture is requested. DaVinci places a huge diamond and gold chain around horn-rimmed glasses wearing, caucasian, and skinny Morton who is prompted to lift a middle finger directed at the camera. Morton, Bleu DaVinci, and his crew get into a vehicle.  A Fast forwarded video of a car driving through the city of Atlanta stops abruptly to show scenes of Bleu DaVinci and Morton at a strip club, women’s scantily clothed bodies gyrating with the trap beat bumping through speakers. The theme song begins to filter in drowning out the trap music. The screen fades to black and “Noisey Atlanta” appears on the screen signifying the end of this episode.

End of Episode 1- Noisey Atlanta.

End of Episode 1- Noisey Atlanta.



Atlanta Built Environment Project: Race and Segregation

Claim #1: Overall, Atlanta’s exterior built environment encourages and sustains racism in the city.



SCHINDLER, SARAH. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1934-2024. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Hankins, Katherine B., Robert Cochran, and Kate Driscoll Derickson. “Making Space, Making Race: Reconstituting White Privilege In Buckhead, Atlanta.” Social & Cultural Geography 13.4 (2012): 379-397.

Even noting the titles of the articles you will see the clear racial elements that must be discussed in each of them. With keywords such as “discrimination”, “segregation”, and “white privilege” a connotation of race relations is present due to the society we live in- The United States of America where race relations and themes of binary racial tensions specifically between Blacks and Whites is a fundamental part of our social makeup now and in history.  Architectural Exclusion by Sarah Schindler illuminates the ways built environments and certain spaces promote racial inequities, while Making Space, Making Race: Reconstituting White Privilege In Buckhead, Atlanta  highlights the after effects of this institutionalized racial divide.



This popular source article explains and provides a good amount of statistical data on Gentrification. Gentrification is the relocation of inhabitants and rebuilding of an area, in such a way that property value is increased. Because of the fact that caucasians on average make up the greatest percent of those in the economical upper and middle class tiers, gentrification subsequently is a form of racism and segregation. The statistical information in the article provides good ethos.  



SCHINDLER, SARAH. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1934-2024. Academic Search Complete. Web.


Apex Museum

Apex Museum

Claim #2: Atlanta’s interior environments reflect an unspoken, ongoing segregation.



This article highlights White Privilege in places of residency with higher socio economic status. White Privilege is a direct result of institutionalized racism in America, this ties into the issue of institunalized classism (building ethos) as Caucasians make up the majority of those ranked higher in the American classist system, thus subsequently causing segregation based on race in Atlanta.

This article highlights segregation in a socio economic sense. Occupy Atlanta protesters gathered at Woodruff Park refuse to leave, demanding answers due to the huge fiscal stratification within the American classist system keeping the elitist, high earning 1% segregated from the remaining 99% living as middle class to below the poverty line. Illuminates another form of institutionalized systematic segregation typical to the United States apart from race.







Built Environment Description: Goat Farm

Its 4:30 when I walk onto Goat Farms grounds, the sun is beginning to set in the sky creating an dusky lighting over the art center. Buildings are dilapidated, shattered windows catch my immediate attention. Made of redbrick, clearly an old converted warehouse. A small farm is located in the front of the establishment right before the building. Goats graze in a containment in a building that is reminiscent of a traditional barn. Sparse patches of grass dotting the grounds as I continue to wander I run into more redbrick walls this time decorated with a mural of a cows skeleton. As I continue on I run into industrial lofts that house the resident artists apart of the art residency program there. I exit the building on my way to go back home, the grounds occupied by Goat Farm are very large and as it got dark it became apparent more daylight hours were needed to experience the whole of the art center. The last thing I notice on my way out is a raised platform- or gazebo of sorts that doubles as a stage on which concerts are preformed at the “Farm” in addition to the visual art pieces.Dilapidated Warehouse- Goat Farm

Exterior Engaging Encounters: Built Environment Description of Cabbage Town

An alley in the very eclectic Cabbage Town Atlanta.

Its 2:30 in the afternoon and the sun is shining down on the concrete road. Cars drive up and down the two way street separating the shops, boutiques, and old ward Atlanta housing from the Oakland cemeteries brick walls. The sound of birds calling, the indiscernible chatter of humans. I walk past a coffee shop called octane, boutiques and technology companies line the streets, the entrances to each of the shops not facing out towards the streets but in a partially shaded alleyway. Streets are cracked and worn, and the paint discerning left from right lane are faded. The buildings lining Memorial Ave are all some sort of business offering a service and architecturally are urban contemporary save for the refurbished brick buildings.Directly behind these buildings housing businesses or offices, old, A-frame houses line the streets, met at the end by a chain fence separating the homes from a very loud freeway. Some of these old homes are remodeled, keeping the same air of the traditional, wrap around porch home, but painted over and refurbished. Other homes are visibly original in build as well as landscaping upkeep. Cabbage town houses a mixture of businesses and residential area.