"Just Walk on by" - Brent Staples

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Morgan Allen
Ms. Mayo
ENG 101-1035
30 October 2012
Just Walk on By
In Brent Staples’ essay, “Just Walk on By” the author describes his experiences, feelings, and reactions towards the discrimination he has faced throughout his life as a black man. Staples describes several different personal experiences of when he felt that he had been judged or discriminated against by other people based on the color of his skin and how that contributed to his overall appearance. Staples has continuously been perceived as a danger or criminal simply because of his skin color, leading him to have to deal with many uncomfortable situations. The author has even gone so far as to take precautions when he is on the street just so that he will not be misjudged or thought of as dangerous by the people that surround him in these circumstances. Throughout Brent Staples’ essay, he illustrates how discrimination has affected him personally and uses various literary devices to elaborate on his points.

Staples position on discrimination is clearly portrayed throughout the essay; he has been misjudged based on the color of his skin and his physical appearance and for that reason alone. Although the topic of discrimination may be one that people do not like to talk about and something that people often avoid discussing, Staples displays a light tone and many different humorous remarks to get his point across. Staples uses a lot of irony in his work and uses a friendly approach to the more serious matters, which makes it a little easier to take in. He begins by referring to a woman he had met as his victim, which of course it not at all what he means. She immediately has misjudged him as a mugger and he was left with an embarrassed and shamed feeling. He also illustrates himself as a more timid character by saying that he could scarcely bare laying a knife across chicken, let alone a human throat. Staples humorous approach makes the topic a lot easier for people to take in and sets a...
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