Many Rivers to Cross Essay
June Jordan’s essay entitled, “Many Rivers to Cross” talks about racism and injustice in the voice of Jordan herself.
It demonstrates her personal experiences to emphasize the reality of oppression that were prevalently being experience by most black women. The essays also contain several narration of Jordan’s life story that highlighted several instances of pain and sufferings.According to her essays, there were several rivers that a woman, most specifically a “black woman” must cross and is continually crossing in their lives. She presented that in her case, it can be traced back from the things that happen to her several years ago up until the present time. She presented instances about her mother’s death, abortion issues, unemployment, racial discrimination and many other forms of oppression that she have came across her life.Walker v.
s. JordanWith respect to Walker’s essay, one can notice the similarity on the issue they both focused on, which is the several injustices that most Black woman experience. The difference lies subtly on the structure and the voice of the narrator or the speaker in the essay.As for Walker, the topic revolves around the various discrimination that a Black woman experience. The speaker or writer talks about the different issues that her fellow Black women experience.
In this respect, Jordan’s essay appears to be more determined because her essay talks about so many personal experiences and not mere sympathy, as what can be gathered from Walker’s work.Her tone is angrier because the subject of the essay expresses personal sentiments, although her words are simple, its anger can still be reflected when one will try to grasp and feel the emotion in each statement.While Walker uses “perhaps” to express her ideas and to make the essay more persuasive or convincing, Jordan’s repeated use of the word “I” create an authoritative remark. I say that it is authoritative because it emphasizes her personal experience that makes her an authority of the “injustice issues” because it is something that she experience first hand.Her words have somehow gained authority because of the fact that it is not just a form of opinion but a statement of factual experiences, an account of what have really transpired in the past and how it have affected and is affecting her in the present time.Because of this structure, I believe that Jordan’s essay can motivate other people to do something about their lives given that they are exposed to the same experiences that she have had.
Moreover, her narration provides a greater chance that other people can relate to what she is trying to imply and to say in the essay.It shows that it is not just a kind of wishful thinking and an expression of idealistic thoughts in connection to what most of the black woman both of the past and the present have been experiencing like, rather it is something solid or something evident which were brought about by a real experience under real situation that presents more practical solution and opinions.Bell HooksIn Bell Hooks Inspired Eccentricity, the characters of Baba and Daddy Gus have gave us the idea of what kind of life had she experienced. Bell Hooks have used this two character in able to show a contrasting image of two people living together.
While Baba, her grandmother, was a “fallen angel”, her grandfather was rendered as the “family’s saint”.There were several descriptions that show how Baba and Daddy Gus differed in a lot of ways and how they have maintained a happy relationship despite their differences. Specifically, the character of Baba as someone who gets mad easily and the image of Daddy Gus as someone who have so much patience give us the hint about how they have survive their marriage.The author tried to create a visual image in the minds of the reader by providing imagery about the differences of Baba and Daddy Gus that clarifies the conflict of the story. These supported the idea of the two “living closed but with each creating their own separate worlds”.
In relation to this, the imagery that stuck in my mind is that of Baba’s room being spacious yet restricted or off limits and Daddy Gus room being small-spaced but “space off from the living room”. These suggest that while, Baba is strict and very conservative, Daddy Gus is contented and open minded.The presentation of these character seemed trivial at first, because how would you expect two very different people to get along well together given that each temperament and desires is the opposite of the other. However, as one get deeper into the story, he/she would get the impression that such circumstances were possible.
I believe the descriptions of the characters are important in order to elaborate the concept of “inspired eccentricity”, for their differences and the unconventionality of the experience and the situation was the main theme of the essay.Tension and CultureThe tensions that exist in families regarding their family members as can be seen in the essay or memoir, gave each of the members a chance to reflect on their personalities and a room for adjustments. I believe that this is crucial in a society because it gives presents that possibility of compromise. This is an important aspect of every society due to its effect in the relationships of the individuals.
As one can observe in the essay, not all wants and needs and wishes can be done or achieved in a simple manner. There were several things that one must look into or consider before doing an action.With respect to our culture the importance of tensions results to more productive outcomes, for even bad results that may come with such “tensions” somehow gave us the “lesson” or the message that such thing will result to something undesirable. Without tensions, everyone would agree to what one wants or in a rare case, they will all have the same wants, which hardly accounts as a human character.Tensions between the roles and personalities experienced in private family lives and public lives must be understand in terms of being a way to express individuality within a certain group. This affects the culture in such a way that it unifies the diverse personality in a certain group.
It also gives the person a chance to personally identify him/herself and not just accept whatever the culture dictates.Each decision that a person have in his/her life affects the rest of the people who are related to him/her in such a way that it creates reaction and responsive actions to what one does. In this case, on might be presented with an idea that tensions sprung within the decisions made by each individual, since individual decisions affects other people as well, especially the immediate family members.Whatever they display and the way they act along with the words they say have an impact to the individual.
The culture can then be seen as something that shapes the individual and was constantly being shaped and reshaped by the individual.“I the Juror”In “I the Juror”, Oates presented us with criticisms about the American justice system with an emphasis on the role of the Jurors and the way they came to a verdict by processing, comparing and contrasting and weighing different statements and evidences. Oates questions the capability of the Juror as well as the validity of the system itself having its current framework.As a juror, she has experienced being presented with so many contradicting evidences and realizing how racism works in favor or against those who gets the minority.
Also, she noticed that the cases of a “Black American against another Black American are not taken seriously by the system”. This racism is obvious during the course of their case, when the victim was a Black American. She states that there would have been a different understanding of the charge if only the victim had not been a Black woman.The experiences of being a juror have affected her in such a way that it changes her view of the Justice system. Also, it opens her eyes and mind to a realization of the inequality that dominates that court system.
For the jury itself is full of racist bias that blatantly reflects on its decision along with the deliberation process.It also gave her the impression of the whole justice system as being unfair and unreasonable. The mere fact that the jury have no or little knowledge of the situation or of the law along with the fact that what was gathered as a verdict were merely sentiments of a bunch of jurors who does have personal biases and motivations.With regards to the way the jury was selected, Oates said that it was “the most brainless…” process ever because it was done in such a way that there were no actual criteria. How can the jury be liable standard of justice when in fact they were just a collection of ordinary men and women who were picked by certain people called as persecutors to represent “justice”.Personal ExperienceA personal experience that has impacted me on some way comes in the form of age discrimination.
Not being taken seriously by senior members or elders or the grown ups gave me a lower esteem and results to a pessimistic attitude towards the fundamental decision making process.Not being able to decide for my self and being constantly manipulated by parents, I have developed dependency to them and their decision. This have further affected my attitude and definition of my self. Aside from my family members, my neighborhood have also affected my personal identity, in such case, there were several do’s and don’ts that must be followed.There were places that one cannot enter because one is too young to be permitted in such places, such as casinos and bars. Because of curiosity, there had been a tendency for me to more than ever want to see what was inside those places.
Also there had been a constant reminder that the “old” or “older” people were more privilege than the young ones.At an early age, I have learned to imitate the action of the grown ups in hope of having the same authority that they have, however my pessimistic attitude have constantly been pulling me down. The impact of this experience I believe is still visible or can still be seen in my current status and views about life. Since I am still an individual who tries to act as a “grown-up” or someone older than my actual age.ConclusionThe essays have made me realize that there have been so much oppression that Black women experience in her life.
Some of these experiences require more than understanding but also self reflection in able for one to finally realize. The actual experience of oppression, discrimination and/or prejudices gives the knowledge that can only be attained through self-reflection.There were several instances in our lives that we do not take seriously and we tend to accept as “norms of society” whereas through deeper philosophizing, one can realize that there were several factors that affects one’s decisions and actions aside from the mere fact that one is a subsisting being living in a society who were deeply entrenched with politics and compromise.These essays have opened my understanding of the world from the different personal perspective of each author. As it gives a description of personal experiences, it also gives the understanding of how several things in the society signifies personal autonomy along with individuality and independence. It also shows a society in view of the different biases and how the society can affect the individual.
It shows that society does not only affect the individual in a short period of time, rather it affects the individual in the everydayness of life. Through studying the different essays I have been aware of the fact that society is a powerful sphere that has a very large impact on the individual. Aside from that, I have realize that oppression is a societal disease that damages the women’s or individual’s psyche, affects personal preference and the interconnection of each person living within a certain culture.