Brent Staples, “Just walk on By”
First of all, this guy is a jerk. He intentionally tried to scare other people by intimidating them in a game he called “Scatter the Pigeons”, where he would stalk white female pedestrians until they ran away from him. (http://www.answers.com/topic/brent-staples). He would dress and act in an intimidating manner to create fear in other people, then blame the fear on their racial prejudice because he is black. Overall the initial question or issue seems to be, “Should people alienate others because of their race.” This is misleading because the author has baited the subjects in his story and misrepresented himself as a victim of racial stereotyping, where the reality appears to be that the first woman he describes as a “victim”, in quotation marks, really was a victim who should have run from this creep. He doesn’t go on to speculate about what kind of emotional trauma his game may have had on his victim. This raised other questions: Does placing the term “victim” in quotation marks give it the appearance to the reader that she wasn’t a victim? Is this intended to give the reader the impression that her fears weren’t real? That she didn’t really suffer any emotional trauma from the experience? Did his game cause an exacerbation of the problem, (racial stereotyping), that he was claiming that he was himself the victim of? Is the problem racial in nature, or was the young lady, all alone late at night walking down the street justifiably wary of this big guy with billowing hair and hands in the pocket of his bulky military jacket, who was stalking her, was she right to be fearful of the guy stalking her? My thought is absolutely yes. She should have been concerned for her safety with anyone acting the way he did, regardless of how he is dressed or what his racial heritage might be. This story was published 23 years ago, describing a series of incidents that occurred near the end of the Viet-nam war (1973) and within a decade...
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