The Chicago Heat Wave : A Social Earthquake Essay examples

829 Words Mar 11th, 2015 4 Pages
In this paper I will discuss whether the Chicago Heat Wave as written about in Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago by Eric Klinenberg, is best defined as a social or natural disaster. Klinenberg talks about each as a possible explanation for the Chicago Heat Wave. Like Klinenberg I believe that the Chicago Heat Wave was a natural disaster, there were record temperatures and the city could do little in defense when faced with situations like this. However, this explanation does not account for why so many people died or why some areas or sorts of people had higher rates than others, for this reason I believe the Heat Wave is better defined as a social disaster. The Chicago Heat Wave was a social disaster due to the city’s structure, who was dying and why, as well as how city officials and the media handled the situation. During and after the disaster experts analyzed where and why people were dying, they looked at neighborhoods, age, race, etc. They found that elderly people were more at risk than young people as well as many of the people who died, died alone; most common were those living in single room occupancy (SRO) housing. They also found that the neighborhoods, people lived in played a difference. Age related death rates show that African-Americans overall were one and a half times more likely to die than Non-Hispanic Whites and that less than two percent of the victims were Latino (Klinenberg 19). Klinenberg believes this is due to the areas in which…

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