The Trials and Tribulations of Being Judged
Both Brent Staples and Malcolm X’s essays touch on the subject of racism. The authors are similar in the sense that they discuss the problems they face as African Americans living in America, where white people are often considered “superior” and African Americans are often considered to be “inferior.” This is a strong subject that has existed for hundreds of year and has caused several African Americans to be forced into facing hardships. They often use trial and error to figure out how to overcome their uncertainties. Because of this both Staples and Malcolm X use different types of strategies to change their appearance in order to fit in with society. Both authors have a similar foundation of what they believe is the right way to deal with living in a world where they are often put in situations where they have to compromise the way they live, act, and perceive themselves. There are two versions of Staples essay, “Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space.” The first essay he wrote when he was younger and much more fired up about how he was perceived in public. Staples is less compassionate towards the people who judge him in this first essay. He does somewhat want to change his image and to change the way people perceive him, but at the same time he finds himself getting frustrated with it and lashes out. There are several times where Staples scares people on purpose. For example when he forces himself between a couple walking down the street, he says how it was funny to him and how it was hard for him to refrain from yelling in their faces as well. He makes it clear that he could easily be the man that everyone thinks of him to be, a scary black man who wants to cause mischief. It is obvious that when Staples first encounters racial profiling that he does not take it kindly and doesn’t want to change the way he is seen but want to instead be the person that they see him to be. This...
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