Just Walk On By Brent Staples Essay

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In the essay “Just Walk on By” written by Brent Staples, the author uses a mixture of exaggeration, quoting, and word choice to grasp the attention of his readers and further his point that racial profiling is an unfortunate circumstance that impacts African American men in negative ways. One can witness very early on in the piece that exaggeration is used, particularly with the way Staples describes his actions. By referring to the first woman to run from him as “My first victim”, two effects are created. The harshness of the word “Victim” draws in attention, and causes one to crave a further investigation into the story. When reading further, the exaggeration is put into place once the reader realises that he committed no crime, and was simply walking down the street. The contrast of a weak action and the severe association of “victim” creates an emphasis Staples’ innocence, as the tension built up is quickly dissipated upon the mention of there being no crime, merely prejudice. An appeal to pathos is created as the reader empathises with innocence being…show more content…
For example, Staples focuses on the work “My Negro Problem-And Ours”. When quoting another man that has the same problem that he struggles with, Staples’ readers are given a clear sense that this is not an isolated case, and the sprinkle of logos given in an otherwise pathos-filled writing lends the circumstance needed to give the emotions real meaning. Because of this, the reader is allowed to focus on the idea that all of the examples given, even those from other sources, happen to an entire race of people, and not Staples alone. Having scope of the issue revealed as nationwide, rather than an issue following one person as the comic book-esque opening suggests, nearly leads the reader to an epiphany as their empathy is expanded, from a single person to a
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