Prof. Caleb Das
English Comp. 101
12 October 2011
A city known for its crime rate, or a city known for its improvement, the debate about the metropolis of Newark, New Jersey is a heated one. For years, Newark has been fighting to justify its reputation as more than just a city known for murder and poverty.
As Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, says, “Newark is already setting standards for excellence in America.” He says this in response to an article written by Scott Raab, in which Raab discreetly attacks Newark and reveals only its flaws. In “The Battle of
Newark”, Scott Raab strategically points out all the wrong things about Newark and implies that Cory Booker is the only hero of this “depraved” city. While Raab does not say anything negative about Booker, other than the fact that he wears cheap suits, his tactics used to portray Newark as “racked by decades of ruin, a town known only for murder, blight, and feckless negritude” insults Booker more than any negative comments directed towards him could have.
Raab initially gives off a tone in the article that illustrates Newark as a bad place.
He describes Newark as a city of violence and crime, drugs and murder. His tone in the article makes the readers of Esquire, which are typically middleclass white males, want to avoid Newark at all costs. Using unconstructive personal opinions and only pessimistic
facts about the city, he confirms the negative stereotypes about black people in both
Newark and America. Cory Booker’s tone, however, is angry in his response letter,
“Angry Letter to Esquire”, as he defends his beloved city and it’s inhabitants. His tone is also accusing when he states that Scott Raab is being willfully malicious.
Raab compares Mayor Booker to actor Will Smith in the movie
I Am Legend
. He compares Cory Booker to Will Smith as the “savior” and compares the citizens of
Newark to the citizens in the movie as “zombies” and the “Zulus tribe” which are known to be treated as savages. The fact that he’s calling a mostly black populated city as savages portrays racism on his part. In Booker’s response to the insinuation that he is
Newark’s savior, he uses a strategy of ethics and authority in sharing credit with others and saying that he is not the only hero of Newark, but one of many heroes.
Scott Raab calls Newark a “small third world nation” and implies that trying to save Newark is a hopeless cause. Cory Booker negates the notion of the city being utterly hopeless with statistics that obviously state otherwise. Using facts such as how Newark was recognized by the National Police Executive Research Forum as the top city in
America for violent crime reduction confirms Booker’s view that Newark is indeed improving. In the article, “The Battle of Newark”, Cory Booker’s credibility is questioned, as well as the concept of his being “black enough.” Booker’s credibility is doubted when
Raab mentions the incident that occurred with a drug dealer named TBone who tried to kill Booker but