Brent staples essay just walk on by

They were babies, really- a teenage cousin, a brother of twenty-two, a childhood friend in his mid-twenties- all gone down in episodes of bravado played out in the streets. By this point, the audience wants to help.

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Brent Staples Essay Examples

However, since it is such a complex issue, Staples ends the essay with ways in which he has changed his own lifestyle to adjust to the corrupt views of society because there is no easy fix. This becomes the call to action at the end without Staples having to directly state it. But, leaving his home, he had to learn the ways of the world.


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He had to prove himself to others which is impossible if his skin color prohibits him before he even gets a chance. Memory : The author uses memory in the first few sentences to invoke guilt in the reader. The reader, especially women can recall a time when we felt threatened by a black man near us in a public space. We, too, can recall a time we crossed the street to get away from him, or clutched our handbags a little closer, or pulled out our phones to dial if needed.

We automatically assume that the author is a criminal because our own experiences labeling innocent black men as criminals. The author skillfully highlights the subconscious racism in all of us right at the beginning. This sets the stage for the rest of the essay. Diction : The author uses a lot of poetic language to make the essay interesting, and also perhaps to frame himself as the gentle, intelligent person he is and not the thug society has labeled him as.

The psychological impact of literally repelling people to cross the street has to be extremely detrimental to all black men. Staples personifies fear to really emphasize just how set apart from the rest of the world he was. After this, Staples recounts examples of when people visibly and audibly took precautions when he was around. People would lock their doors and he had trouble with doormen and police officers, or people who were supposed to stop trouble before it happened.

This essay evokes a lot of pathos in the reader because it is a narrative. If Brent Staples wrote from a different point of view or simply wrote a different essay, the intention would not be as powerful. Because Staples tells his own story, readers sympathize with him. Specifically when Staples gives actual examples of prejudice against him, readers feel the most emotion and can try to understand what Staples has gone through.

Staples calls upon a lot of memory which also makes him more effective in evoking emotion. A lot of readers have either been one to lock their doors when someone shady has walked by, or have been the one to walk by when someone locks their doors.

Black Men and Public Space, by Brent Staples (Analysis & Interpretation)

By acknowledging the other side of the argument, Staples validates his own point that being alienated by complete strangers is a terrible experience. Women are particularly vulnerable to street violence, and young black males are drastically overrepresented among the perpetrators of that violence. However, he states that being set apart from the crowd as a possible threat is heartbreaking. He seems to assume that the audience has prejudice against African American people.


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He challenges that thinking with his side of the story and how it makes him feel to see people basically run away from him. His intent is to hook the reader to want to know more, makes them wonder if he's dangerous, etc. Staples mentions Podhoretz to have more credibility and support. Podhoretz grew up in fear of black men, which enforces Staples' point that most Americans are prejudice.

Just Walk on By essays

It was the best introduction, I don't see how it could've been better. Since there are twenty or more examples, all direct in what he's trying to say and making a solid point for him, there is enough support.


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  6. Some examples that could be more convincing would be some studies, or statistics. His order was perfect for presenting his argument, and even if the examples had been in a different order, the paper still would've been just as effective. Assassin, bandit, bully, mobster, criminal, gangster, goon, gunman, hooligan, murderer, rioter, rowdy, troublemaker, delinquent, gorilla, hood, killer, punk, ruffian, gang member, hired killer, professional killer.

    They absolutely differ in connotation.

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    Journal Entry: Nora Hixson: In my experience, there was a time when I was in the mountains with my family for Christmas break. I was injured at the time, so when my family went out to ski, I stayed in the lodge by myself. While sitting there, an older man came up to me while getting ready to ski himself, and began asking me personal questions, such as where my family was, why I wasn't skiing, and if he could see my injury which I had told him was my knee. He got uncomfortably close to me during his questions, but I do not know if that was just my paranoia.

    After reading Staples' essay, I do not think I would've reacted any differently. Amin Halimovic: When I was traveling back from Bosnia, at the London airport my family and I were boarding the airplane. My family is Muslim and my brother had a moon and star pendent dangling from his neck. We were waiting in line to board the plane as we got closer and closer to enter the plane my brother was randomly pulled aside so that they could search his carry on.