Racial Profiling Then and Now Essay Example
Racial Profiling Then and Now Essay Example

Racial Profiling Then and Now Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (1068 words)
  • Published: July 14, 2021
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On February 5, 2019 Trayvon Martin would have been 24 years old but his life was cut short because of racial profiling. In 2012 Martin was just a 17 year old African American boy who was visiting his father in the gated community the Retreat at Twin Lakes. Twin Lakes had been having a spring of robberies and burglaries so in September of 2011 they had enforced a neighborhood watch headed by George Zimmerman, who was legally permitted to carry a firearm on him and could have it while he was patrolling the neighbourhood. On February 26, 2012 Martin had left the townhouse he was staying in to go to 7-11 to get skittles and an ice tea but when walking back he was fatally shot by Zimmerman. Months prior to the shooting Zimmerman had called the police department several times for suspicious behavior and every time they were black men. The night of the shooting Zimmerman had called the police stating that he had seen “a real suspicious guy” walking between homes and saying he had started to run. Zimmerman was told by the operator to not follow to suspect but he did anyways. They had gotten into a violent altercation the ended in Zimmerman shooting Martin in the chest. Zimmerman was tried and acquitted which started the hashtag Black Lives Matter movement. Discrimination, racial profiling or just blatant racism is still alive today as much as people want to deny it, it's 2019 and people still hate other because of something as simple as


the color of their skin the essay, “Just Walk On By” by Brent Staple was published in 1986 and sadly is still very relevant today. Staples explains in his essay the ways that racial profiling has been affecting his entire life from his childhood growing up in Chester, Pennsylvania to the days he spent in graduate school at the University of Chicago to him starting a life in New York. Staples found it very hard to be a black man in his time and always felt like people thought he was a criminal. He always kept his rage to himself not to be upsetting to others with is feelings but that's the way America had ran and still runs. Staples essay is effective because he Staples essay is effective because he is forcing the audience to see what black men go through everyday by using vivid language and personal stories to show that his topic is still relevant today.

Staples describes the discrimination of black men by white men and women. Staple opens up his essay stating that he remembered his “first victim”, “My first victim was a woman - white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties” (Staples 362) by using the word victim without reading the rest of the essay one may think that Staples was a rapist or a murder and that was the point of having that as the first sentence because it makes the reader think about what a black man goes through on a day to day. Staples was only twenty-two at the time and had just started graduat

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school at the University of Chicago. This was the first time he had really experienced this type of discrimination.

Growing up in the 60s amongst gang violence, murders and various other crimes Staples was the kid that always stayed out of trouble and hung out with the “good boys”, he had known the crowd that would go to prison or had sadly ended up dying but goes on the describe how he was a survivor. Staples writes “I grew up one of the good boys… In retrospect, my shyness of combat has clear sources. As a boy, I saw countless tough guys locked away; i since buried several, too” (363) In other words Staples saw some of his friends and family become criminals and he knew he didn't want to be one of them by adding that he was one of the “good boys” he wanted the audience to know that he was never an aggressive person, so it makes the audience feel bad that someone that is so well educated with no criminal record is being profiled as a criminal.

Staples understands that not everyone is out to get black men. Some women are not as strong as men so they are more likely to get assaulted. He knows that women do have to worry about getting attacked at night or even during the day. Staples writes “Women are particularly vulnerable to street violence, and young black males are drastically overrepresented among the predators of that violence. Yet these truths are no solace against the kind of alienation that comes of being ever the suspect, a fearsome entity with whom pedestrians avoid making eye contact.” (362) In other words Staples is trying to explain that women are vulnerable but that does give them the right to not look them in the eyes when they walk down the street by each other in the daylight. He adds that Young black males are overrepresented among the predators his essay it's to show that he isn't in denial about black males and crimes and he's trying to show that he is aware of the problem but not all black men are criminals the way they are treated.

Staple knows that in order to live peacefully he would have to be more thoughtful with the was he carries himself. “Over the years, I learned to smother the rage I felt at so often being taken for a criminal. Not to do so would surely have led to madness. I now take precautions to make myself less threatening. I move about with care, particularly late in the evening.” (Staples 364). Staples explained that he has to change himself for the sake of white people so that they don't have to feel threatened by him just simply walking down the street at night. The madness that he is writing about is that white people will become defensive and it will further divide the two races.

Staples essay is still very relatable to many black men today. By telling his story over thirty years ago Staples compelled the audience to see what black men go through everyday by writing about

personal stories. He has helped people see the problems with the way they view others today and hopefully thirty years from now it will all be a thing of the past.