Dr. Lynn Fauth
20 January 2011
Just Walk on By
In the essay Just walk on by, author Brent Staples shares his experiences of living with the prejudged notion that he is someone to be feared because he is different from his peers. Brent Staples grew up in the small town of Chester, Pennsylvania where he was an outsider. He caught on to something that most of his friends probably had never thought about before or even felt that they had the right to think about. Somewhere along the line of his child hood Staples chose to rise above the normality of his peers. He chose to become what was unexpected of him and set new standards for his life. He decided to be a dreamer, however; when his dreams came true Staples quickly learned that changing the way he felt about himself internally did not mean that people would overlook judgment on what they saw externally.
Brent Staples grew up in an urban hardcore society that demanded him to lust for intimidation over others but he matured and managed to slide by the test of his manhood, Staples writes,” I came to doubt the virtues of intimidation early on. I chose, perhaps even unconsciously, to remain a shadow—timid, but a survivor.” Staples moved on and became nothing close to a prototype of his brother who died at age 22 to gang violence. So how come after making such a drastic change in his lifestyle he still cannot manage to “just walk on by”? Staples might make his mother proud but his intellect and charm is not noticed by the women he has encountered in his new life. Staples writes, “I often witness that “hunch posture,” from women after dark on the warren like streets of Brooklyn where I live. They seem to set their faces on neutral and, with their purse straps strung across their chests bandolier style, they forge ahead as though bracing themselves against being talked.” More than once staples has had instances where women think they are being followed by him; their fast pace...
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