“Just Walk on By”
Alex Haley, an American writer in the late 1900s, once said “racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics” Although he was famous for his literature, Haley still faced racism for being black. In his quote, he briefly explains why racism is still around, and why people discourage minorities. Similar to another black writer, Brent Staples, a journalist, wrote several essays trailing his life growing up black. One of the essays Staples wrote, “Just Walk on By”, was a reflection of how his mere presence on the street was enough to frighten a woman. Staples conveys his message of being misjudged by reflecting on his issues with race and gender in the United States through the use of strong diction and figurative language.
In introducing his purpose, Staples use of emotion helps create his message by having consistent, powerful language in discussing his experience. The author’s use of phrases such as “My first victim” and “stalking sleep” serves to establish the use of connotation diction (542). Given that these words typically indicate negative denotations, it concludes that here it is contrary to what his audience perceives; for example, “victim” implies he is the perpetrator. This misrepresentation echoes throughout the essay as it exhibits irony; Brent Staples is the victim. Furthermore, the author lays out the bare facts that black men are dangerous. After
Amara Crook Harmon—L202 Major Paper 3 Clever Title Countee Cullen’s “Incident” explores the concept of unprovoked and unwarranted racism through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy. In his short yet powerful poem, Cullen uses a single incident in which a young boy “riding through old Baltimore” (1) is singled out and called the N-word by another very small child, despite having done or said nothing to offend the boy. Although this incident is clearly hurtful, why is this incident in particular so important?
In his essay entitled Black Men and Public Space (1987), Brent Staples talks about how people will have a common misconception on the black community by thinking that they are all mugger ,rapist or thugs. Staples supports his claim by telling the reader events/ stories that occured to him and talks about how people will assume that he is a danger to society when in reality he isnt. The authors purpose is to inform the reader that his experiences of being stereotyped is to show the reader his point of view when it comes to these types of situations. Staples writes in a formal tone for an intelligent or free minded person.
Synthesis Research Paper Everyday growing up as a young black male we have a target on our back. Society was set out for black males not to succeed in life. I would always hear my dad talk about how police in his younger days would roam around the town looking for people to arrest or get into an altercation with. As a young boy growing up I couldn’t believe some of the things he said was happening. However as I got older I would frequently hear about someone getting killed by the police force.
Society in today’s world is very alike to society years ago, with different social classes and stereotypes. In “Just walk on by” by Brent staples, a variety of rhetorical devices are used in order to convey the message of how a black man is trying to show society that he is so much more than the color of his skin. The author explains how the character was characterized as violent and dangerous because he was black. Staples continues on a sort of journey with the character to show how he overcomes that stereotype, by whistling classical music to give the idea that he is mature and less threatening. Throughout the piece, Staples uses devices that will help the reader better understand the struggles that the character has to face on a daily basis.
Racism and racial inequality was extremely prevalent in America during the 1950’s and 1960’s. James Baldwin shows how racism can poison and make a person bitter in his essay “Notes of a Native Son”. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “A Letter from Birmingham Jail” also exposes the negative effects of racism, but he also writes about how to combat racism. Both texts show that the violence and hatred caused from racism form a cycle that never ends because hatred and violence keeps being fed into it. The actions of the characters in “Notes of a Native Son” can be explain by “A Letter from Birmingham Jail”, and when the two texts are paired together the racism that is shown in James Baldwin’s essay can be solved by the plan Dr. King proposes in his
“Black Men and Public Spaces” Diagnostic Essay Brent Staples in “Black Men and Public Spaces,” illustrates the inescapable prejudices and stereotyping that African-American men face in America. He does this by relating to his audience through his personal experiences with stereotyping, and sharing his malcontent on how these events have made him alter his way of living. From “victimizing” woman, watching people lock themselves away, and having to whistle classical music to calm the nerves of people around him; Staples builds a picture to help people better sympathize and understand his frustration. Although Staples describes himself as a college graduate, a journalist, and a softy in the face of violence, he details that the overall public deems him a dangerous criminal.
It Bites Back In The End In the novel, The Hate U Give, a memorable quote states,“Listen!, The Hate U--the letter U--Give Little Infants F*** Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F -E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the a** when we wild out,”(Thomas, 32).
In his essay “Black Men and Public Spaces,” Brent Staples explains that people often find him intimidating because he is tall and black. Staples shares his account of a number of personal encounters, arguing that in each situation, he was misinterpreted as being dangerous because of his daunting physical appearance. Staples asserts that as a result of this misinterpretation, he was continually mistreated. Staples begins his article by describing the events leading up to his life-changing realization that he has inherited “the ability to alter public space in ugly ways (183).” When he was twenty-two years old, Staples found himself one evening, walking behind a well-dressed white woman on a deserted street in a rather wealthy neighborhood.
In his essay, “Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space”, Brent Staples uses the rhetorical strategies of anecdote and diction in order to convey his message that due to racial discrimination black people (mainly men) have to change the way they naturally conduct themselves in public for they run the risk of something terrible happening to them. Staples uses anecdotes to bring in the personal side of the message to the audience. Staples creates a persona of innocence and almost alienation in his writing. Anecdotes such as his both instances in which he accidently scared women on walks and the time in which he and another reporter were mistaken for murder suspects or robbers are used to show real life proof of his message.
The message that Brent Staples is trying to convey to the audience in his essay Just Walk On By, is that as a society we have positive and negative preconceived thoughts of other people who are of either the same or different race and gender. For Staples, this means that as a tall black man he has to deal with being seen as deadly and threatening to people who don’t know him. These people let their fear of biased opinions of black men think that all tall, black, and athletic men are going to attack them. Brent uses his stories of people’s fear and judgement of him, to allow the reader to both understand what the people were feeling and how he felt being judged. Brent Staples’ persona helps the message through the use of strong diction.
Author and editorial writer, Brent Staples acknowledges this issue as well as experience many situations in which people distinguish him from others. Brent Staples message in his essay titled “Just Walk On By” is conveyed to the audience through many rhetorical devices in which he suggests that stereotypes of race and gender can impact someone 's life in the easiest ways. Brent Staples use of pathos creates an emotional connection and pulls the reader into his essay, through his anecdotes and diction. His intro paragraph tells an interesting story, in a way that readers often forget what type of passage they are reading. Staples uses of phrases such as “my first victim”, “seemed menacingly close” “picked up her pace” and notably “running in earnest” (1-2).
Stereotypes have the power to label someone and rob them of all their hard work or strike fear into others. One such stereotype is that of black men being more dangerous;yet, one black writer voices his opinion on such a stereotype. In the essay “Just Walk On By” by Brent Staples, Staples describes his experience of being a large black man and how it affects the people around him. From people locking their doors to pedestrians crossing the street to avoid a confrontation, people seem to be afraid of Staples just from a glance. Yet Staples does nothing to cause this fear, rather his stereotype is to blame.
He conveys this through his powerful use of diction, even in the first sentence he says “My first victim was a woman-white” (Staples 1). The word victim gives a very dark and scary tone as if something horrible is bound to happen, but as the reader reads along the whole scenario is just the narrator walking through a park at night and the white woman feels threatened and progressively runs away from the man. The narrator is a college student. The main message is that people are still so quick to judge and feel like they are in danger when they are around african american people they’ll in this case run away. It's also a proven statistic by Havard University states that women are in fact scared of men.
In his essay, "Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power To Alter Public Space" Brent Staples demonstrates the negative views and stereotypes of black men. He narrates a personal story about the path he takes to understand the effects of his appearance and how it also affects his environment around him. In the essay, Staples describes how he has always been discriminated. This was first realized as a young graduate student when he takes a walk one evening and frightens a white woman who believed he was following her.
Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space by Brent Staples discusses the relevant issues of racial bias and how prejudice against people of color has embedded minds, as it demonstrates the importance of being aware of how we conceive others. Staples uses a contrasting element of race by introducing a white female and a black male. He uses his experiences and other people of colour to display the struggles of racism they face everyday. Staples reveals how people are prejudice against appearance, despite the importance of individuality of people and being impartial regardless of someone 's skin or looks. The story begins with Staples describing his first experience frightening a white women due to the colour of his skin.