In thefollowing essay I will analyse the article “Walking while black: Michael Brown,black men and white police officers” which was published in the newspaper “TheSt. Louis American” on the 13th of August 2014. The article iswritten by Ishmael Sistrunk.
Ishmael is a young black columnist who writes forthe African-American newspaper “The St. Louis American”. I will also comment onthe relationship between the black men and the police. The main themeof the article is how the authorities see young black men and how young blackmen are treated as second class citizens. Some people would say it is racism whileothers would say it is a precautionary measure necessary because of the threatpolice officers think young black men bring on to them1.
In the article Ishmael write that even though the first black president of theUSA was elected and later re-elected there have not been a big change in theway young black men are treated by the police. But the biggest change withObama as president is that the racial debate got to the forefront. ManyAmericans refuses to cooperate with Obama as they see him as a leader not worthyof leading them2. Thishas also further deteriorated the treatment of the black community.
In thebeginning of the article Ishmael comments on current events with the killing ofMichael Brown and how the black community reacts by demonstrating and rubbingstores to make a statement3.Afterwards Ishmael writes about his own experiences with the police and howthey pulled him over when he got his driver’s license. He describes an episodewhere a police officer made him step out of the car and several tests weretaken as the officer claimed that Ishmael was high on cannabis because his tonguewas green according to the officer. Ishmael passed all the sobriety test andgot away with a warning4.Based on these things Ishmael seems to be a reliable source and this makes iteasier for the receiver to acknowledge the challenging situation of the blackcommunity and try to see it from their perspective. Ishmael uses pathos to conveyto the reader certain episodes from his own life as mentioned before where heevokes the emotions of the reader which are mainly American citizens from St.
Louis. It also shows how problematic the relationship is between young blackmen aged 18-25 and the police officers.At the endof the article Ishmael also defines some crucial things that needs to happen tosolve the problems between young black men and police officers. But basically,these solutions are proposed to save the lives of young black men. He writesabout how black rappers sing about the hood and all the crime even though theylive a life far away from the hood.
They are part of the problem according to Ishmaelas they create an image of the young black men being dangerous and nothing butviolent5.It is also a part of the reasons that there are so many racists. White peoplemay also think that the black rappers encourage and creates some sort ofapproval of the violent life. The black community needs to “clean up” theirimage and their neighbourhoods to establish a better relationship between theblack people and the authorities. But this is a very difficult task because thewhole black community needs to acknowledge the problem to improve thesituation. If this happens it might be easier for the authorities to changetheir view on the problem because so far, the black community has not shownthat it is willing to change.
Ishmael also finds it necessary for the whole St.Louis community and the whole nation to stand together to solve the problem andcreate an America where nobody is treated as second-class citizens and equalityis the norm. This is a huge dilemma as so big steps forward are not likely tohappen soon. The authorspurpose with this article is to make people aware of the racial problem in the UnitedStates. Ishmael thinks it is a very big problem that black men are scared totravel around their own neighbourhood because they fear the police. The lawenforcement is meant to provide safety and protect the community and not toscare them.
The article can change some peoples view upon the police and theactions they commit. The article also provides a picture of how it is to beblack in the modern America. With the article you can relate to the poem”Harlem”. The poem is written by Langston Hughes, and is about the restrictionsexperienced by the Black Americans while living in America. Langston writesabout a dream, not a particular one, a dream about a better future, but TheAfrican-American people often cannot dream big and accomplish great things inlife because of the challenging environment they live in. If they dare to have bigdreams they can get disappointed and that frustration may eventually explode.
If I shoulddraw a conclusion, with all the things kept in mind, it would be that Ishmaelhas many interesting and true points about the blacks in America. Hisintentions are good as he wish to reunite the black and the white community.Ishmael wants to get rid of the prejudices and work towards an equal Americawhere all its people can be satisfied and feel safe raising their children. Healso wants to stop young black men from being criminals. Overall, Ishmaelhighlights the key problems very well and well balanced as he is not justsubjectively only defending the black people, but he acknowledges as well that theblack is also part of the problem.
1 http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/29/opinions/im-black-and-struggle-with-implicit-bias-bailey/index.html2 Line 153 Line 2-54 Line31-345 Line55-60