Essay on The Worst Of White Folks
One hundred and four unarmed black people were killed by the police in 2015 (Mapping Police Violence). Not surprisingly, the most recent killings of unarmed blacks by police have black people protesting and rioting across the country. At this critical time of racial unrest, words imploring racial harmony must be found. Searching for an author seeking racial togetherness, I analyzed Kiese Laymon’s essay, “The Worst of White Folks,” from his book How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: Essays and Claude Steele’s essay, “At the Root of Identity,” from his book Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us. As my analysis will show, although Laymon’s essay and Steele’s essay bear technical similarities, the differences between them are pronounced; one preaches racial divisiveness while the other implores togetherness.
At the most superficial level, the two essays appeared almost identical. Both Laymon and Steele were popular black authors and college professors. In addition, Laymon’s essay was about growing up black in America during the 1980s, while Steele’s essay was about growing up black during the 1960s.
Utilizing similar writing techniques, both Laymon and Steele began their essays with narratives written in the first person. The first paragraph of Laymon’s essay opened with a narrative about his goofing-off during mass at a black Catholic school.…