Racism: Similarities and Differences In Two Essays

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In the two essays, “Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space” by Brent Staples and “I’m Not Racist But…” by Neil Bissoondath, there are both differences and similarities. The two authors differ in their opinion on the causes of racism and life experiences involving racism, but are similar in regards to the use of stereotypes in the world In Brent Staples’ opinion, causes of racism are derived from fear and the insufficient knowledge that a person might have about another that may cause them to be racist. In his piece, he writes, “Another time I was on assignment for a local paper and killing time before an interview. I entered a jewellery store on the city’s affluent Near North Side. The proprietor excused herself and returned with an enormous red Doberman pinscher straining at the end of the leash. She stood, the dog extended toward me, silent to my questions, her eyes bulging nearly out of her head. I took a cursory look around, nodded, and bade her good night.” (Staples 227) This quote shows that the woman that owned the jewellery store was afraid that she might get robbed by Staples and therefore acted by protecting herself with her vicious dog, with the intention to scare away the “robber”, whom she believed to be Brent Staples. She assumed that because she was in an affluent neighbourhood and because Brent Staples was black, he was there with the intention to rob her rather than the true reason, which was to kill some time prior to his next interview. She showed prejudice and racism towards Staples because of she was afraid of his skin colour and did not have true information about him. Neil Bissoondath differs in his definition of racism. He writes that the cause of racism derives fr... ... middle of paper ... ... became afraid and tried to get away from him. (Staples 224) In Neil Bissoondath’s essay, we see an example with the mover complaining about a Chinese driver he encountered. He said, “I’m not racist, but the Chinese are the worst drivers on the road.” (Bissoondath 271) The accusation that the mover made was a stereotype which exists about the Chinese, in general, because of the shape of their eyes because of their ethnicity. Their eye sight is not impaired in any way because of the shape of their eyes, but because they are different and people are afraid of them, they are made fun of because they are different. In regards to racism, Brent Staples and Neil Bissoondath may have different view points about its causes and by their life experiences involving racism, but they have similar views on the use of stereotypes and how they affect the races they pertain to.

In this essay, the author

  • Compares brent staples and neil bissoondath's "just walk on by: a black man ponders his power to alter public space."
  • Analyzes brent staples' view that causes of racism are derived from fear and insufficient knowledge that a person might have about another that may cause them to be racist.
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