Walking while black
The article “Walking while black: Michael Brown, black men and white police officers” was published in the newspaper the St. Louis American on August 13, 2014. The writer of the article is Ishmael Sistrunk, who is a young black man and a columnist for the newspaper the St. Louis American. The newspaper is an African-American newspaper, which continuously have been published articles since 1928.
The main theme of the article is racism. Ishmael Sistrunk writes that although slavery ended about 150 years ago, the politicians as well as the police still only treat young black men as second-class citizens. The fact that the United States got their first black president Obama in 2009 and he even was re-elected should almost imply that racism and prejudice among Americans are no longer to find. But that is far from reality. It may have resulted in the exact opposite. According to the author, President Barack Obama’s election brought racism to the forefront. This is because many Americans have simply refused to cooperate with him as commander in chief as he impossibly knows how to lead “their” nation.
To begin with, the author accounts for the problem and also the main subject of the article: racism. Then he explains episodes from his own life and involves himself in the article. This creates credibility to the sender; the sender will be more reliable in this way. It is easier for the receiver to empathize with the situations. Afterwards, he comes back to the issue. He chooses to comment on the shooting of Michael Brown, who is also mentioned in title of the article. Finally Ishmael Sistrunk account for some solutions in order to save young black lives.
He explains how he has been bothered by white police officers as a young black man. The day he got his driver’s license was the day he was the main target of police officers in St. Louis. He explains several episodes where the police for the poorest reasons have stopped him. Racism reasons. One day he got stopped on his way back home. The police officer accused him of being high cannabis, because of his green tongue color. In fact it was blue from his sports drink sitting in the cup holder. He was allowed to escape after a lot of testing, however, with a warning. This clearly shows that the relationship between young black men and white police officers is not to brag about.
First of all, the author uses the appeal form pathos. The sender, who is Ishmael Sistrunk attempts through the article to evoke feelings and moods in the receiver of the article, which mainly are Americans. This he does by including his own experiences as a young black man with the police.
Ishmael Sistrunk argues that racism is largely present in everyday life. An argument requires evidence if the receiver must believe in the argument. Here the author uses his own experiences as evidence. However, these experiences can easily be very subjective and you would therefore be critical. However, he mentions the Michael Brown case, which is only one case out of many that show the same pattern as Ishmael Sistrunk describes in his own experiences as a young black man.
In the end of the article Ishmael Sistrunk suggest, what you can do as a young black man to protect yourself. He mentions that the majority of the black rappers mostly rap about guns and drugs even though these young black men don’t live like that. Young men black or white tend to have the need to show off. They think it’s cool to rap about these kinds of things. The majority however is still black. He explains that young black men need to clean their image. But I think it’s a very difficult task. There will always be some who ruin it for the others. But then the “white” must choose to condoning this and not to generalize. It is clear that you can get critical, but it should NEVER lead to a life lost.
The author’s purpose of this article is primarily to illustrate how big a problem racism is. It is not acceptable that young black men are afraid to walk in their own neighbourhood and it is certainly not acceptable that it is the police that triggers that fear. The police should provide security and ensure trust. That is why they are here. In order to protect citizens. Not to scare citizens. The message is very clear. The people who have always felt comfortable instead of intimidated by police presence have, after reading the article, got a glimpse of how it is to be black and how difficult it can be sometimes. Ishmael Sistrunk believes that it is time to find solutions and create better relationships. I think it will be a struggle to fight racism and I quite simply think that it is impossible to avoid racism completely. It will to a greater or lesser extent, always be present.
The poem “Harlem”, which is written by Langston Hughes is about the limits of African American people in the American dream. At the beginning of the poem the author writes of a dream. He does not refer to any particular dream. The narrator suggests that African American cannot dream or desire great things in life because of the environment that surrounds them oppress them. Even if they dare to dream, their dream may feasts for so long that it rots or maybe eventually it explodes.