“Just Walk On By”
February 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
In the essay “Just Walk on By,” Brent Staples portrays problems that sadly most black men face on a regular basis. This essay reminded me of “White Privilege” and the “Invisible Knapsack.” Black men are judged by their color even doing simple things in everyday life that are usually taken for granted by whites. White people walk down streets, rush late into work, shop at jewelry stores, and report to their jobs without being mistaken for a criminal.
I have received three speeding tickets since age sixteen, and every time I was pulled over by only one cop. In my hometown, almost every time a black person is pulled over they have two cops behind them, assuming that they will act out with violence. It is sad to think that Brent Staples has to walk a certain way, step to the side while people pass him, and whistle just to appease those around him. He could not even go into work without being questioned by security for being a robber, while whites can basically do anything without a hassle. What a fair and just world we live in. NOT.
Another issue I discovered while reading this essay was how gender roles even play into how black teens think they should be portrayed. Many men think that power, fright, and intimidation are in their job description. They are supposed to face hostile situations being tough and ready to fight. The author talks about how he buried several young friends to these troubles. Does our world raise teenage black boys to think they have to act this way? Does society even give them a chance? Do they think that since the world portrays them as criminals, why not just act like one? Will it ever get better?