Essay Just Walk On By : A Black Man Ponders

1167 Words Sep 15th, 2015 null Page
Oppressed people need to set themselves apart from the rest - they need to realize that being different does not make them any less of a human being, or less fortunate. When oppressed people come to terms with this, they will be able to reflect this to others and not settle for what “has always been”, but rather pride themselves in their distinction, and take steps towards making a difference. In “Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders”, Brent Staples shares a personal experience on how he had to conform, to everyone’s perception of a black man, instead of standing up for himself. He had to put on a façade to make others feel comfortable so as to avoid grave risks to himself and the community. Brent Staples was oblivious of the fact that he was able to tap into people’s emotions and trigger fear until the age of twenty-two when he realized his structure and the color of his skin had an effect on people. He became “thoroughly familiar with the language of fear” (Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders) when his presence caused women to increase their pace when walking, give a nervous glance and also cause people to lock their car doors. Attracting the cops was so effortless for Staples - all he had to do was hover over a frightened person. Basically, being perceived as a threat because of his demeanor was peril on his part. Staples made reference to Norman Podhoretz’ “My Negro Problem—And Ours” when he explained how the stereotype of a black man being dangerous…

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