Monday, April 9, 2018

Does T-Mobile Redline Newark, NJ?

This class was interesting because we discussed an unfamiliar concept: redlining. Redlining is the practice of marking an area to call it out, usually as a place to avoid. The concept was introduced with a discussion of undesirable neighborhoods, and we were shown a redlined map of Newark, NJ from 1939. I was interested to learn that even in 1939, areas in Newark were considered undesirable places to live, and I would love to understand why in more depth. From what I know of this area, Newark has always been mainly immigrant neighborhoods and, from what history indicates, immigrants have often been on the outskirts of society. This led me to wonder which groups were causing issues in 1939.

Redlining can be tricky because it can be hard to tell why it is done. For example, I live in a great neighborhood in a city that has a bad reputation. My neighborhood is perfectly safe, but for a while Amazon Prime would not leave packages for fear that they would be stolen. Although this practice has been rescinded, it was quite annoying and totally unnecessary, as I do not remember the last time something was stolen off of our doorstep. However, I understand why this was done in my city-- Elizabeth has a dangerous reputation, and the dangerous parts are quite bad. If redlining is done for general safety and security, is it a problem? I suppose I don't know enough to say.

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I chose to look at T-Mobile cell phone towers in Newark, NJ, and T-Mobile does not shy away from Newark:


As I mentioned in my write-up, I have learned in the past (actually, from New Media Studies with Dr. Zamora) that T-Mobile was formed to be a lower cost option in urban areas, which is the opposite redlining! The map proves that this is still the case, with tons of towers in the urban area. I think it is really cool that such an excellent company purposefully targeted underprivileged areas, and is now one of the biggest cell phone providers.

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I really think that I have learned a lot about Audacity this semester, which is so exciting! I was dreading the sound editing assignments the most, but I finally feel comfortable enough to edit audio, I guess practice really is the key! I think that with more work, I could be decent at audio editing. This is something to add to my skills :)

I chose to talk about a game created by a student named Merna, in Professor Maha Bali's class in Cairo, Egypt. Merna's game is about single motherhood in Arab societies, and how single mothers are often treated poorly by their peers. Merna dedicated her game to her own mother, who raised Merna and her sibling as a single woman. I appreciated how personal this issue is to her.

The background sound in my audio clip is a mixture of two sounds, light piano music and people talking. I wanted a cafe vibe, because I wanted the final piece to sound like a casual conversation. I'm very disappointed that Merna did not answer my questions, but I did my best to draw conclusions. I'm quite proud of the final result, I didn't think I could possibly piece together a valid-sounding podcast clip, but I think it came together well!



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