Racism In Brent Staples's 'Just Walk On By'

Decent Essays

In the essay, "Just Walk on By," Brent Staples succeeds greatly in demonstrating the current negative view of black men in America and the fact that racism is still alive today. He narrates a personal anecdote about the path he takes to understand the effect his appearance can have on his environment. Staples describes his extreme frustration at the fact that racism plays such a large role in his life. The essay illustrates that prejudice and racism are still prevalent by using many examples, his intended audience, imagery, and comparisons. In this essay, Staples describes how he has always been discriminated against for being a black journalist in a white area of work. He first realizes this as a graduate student when he takes a walk late at night and frightens a white woman who believed he was following her. He agrees that the world is violent and that the woman had a right to be fearful of him, but it perturbs him that he cannot change the fact that he was the cause of the fear. He begins to understand that he has a quality to change the environment around him solely because of the color of his skin. However, he does not become angry but maintains a sense of calamity throughout the essay. His newfound understanding causes him to begin actively trying to make himself look less intimidating to others around him. Accordingly, Staples uses many examples to express the racial stereotype he acquires to his intended audience, which are white women and black men in general. He

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