“Going to Meet the Man”; the Black Man Inside the Redneck

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In “Going to Meet the Man” by James Baldwin the reader opens up with a scene that is considered one of the most horrific torture and murder scenes in history; or of the 1940’s. The story is so graphic that it takes you away from the main idea of racism, hatred and murder. Nevertheless, the theme of the story is a transformation of a young child into a stereotypical Black Southern-American hating bigot. Through dramatic detail Baldwin explains the mindset of a white southern police officer and how he came to hate Black-Americans. This was representative of the racial, violent black South because this exemplified what happens to most white-Americans and how they are brained washed unknowingly to hate anyone that does not resemble the same skin color of them.

“Jesse hated them. He hated those black stinking coons. Jesse put the cattle prod to the young man. You make them stop that singing; Jesse said to the prisoner, you hear me? Jesse put the prod to him again−once, twice, a third time but the prisoner would not stop the singing.” Baldwin uses this specific instance to show how the feeling of over-powering and ecstasy that a white person can experience when an event occurs that is oddly connected to a past experience. This particular incident from Jesse’s past within this short story is an extremely graphic idea of torture and murder of a Black-American accused of “singing” in public. Though this depiction of abuse and torture may seem long lasting and self-chosen Baldwin also gives an example of how white Americans continue the cycle from community to individual, society to children and this instance father to son. “He had a black friend his age; eight, who lived nearby. His name was Otis. They wrestled together in the dirt.” This shows that Jesse was not always the way he is, there was a point were innocence prevailed over existence of race. Nevertheless, this feeling of friendship was only temporary because soon “the thought of Otis made him sick, he began...
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