following essay I will analyse the article “Walking while black: Michael Brown,
black men and white police officers” which was published in the newspaper “The
St. Louis American” on the 13th of August 2014. The article is
written by Ishmael Sistrunk. Ishmael is a young black columnist who writes for
the African-American newspaper “The St. Louis American”. I will also comment on
the relationship between the black men and the police.
The main theme
of the article is how the authorities see young black men and how young black
men are treated as second class citizens. Some people would say it is racism while
others would say it is a precautionary measure necessary because of the threat
police officers think young black men bring on to them1.
In the article Ishmael write that even though the first black president of the
USA was elected and later re-elected there have not been a big change in the
way young black men are treated by the police. But the biggest change with
Obama as president is that the racial debate got to the forefront. Many
Americans refuses to cooperate with Obama as they see him as a leader not worthy
of leading them2. This
has also further deteriorated the treatment of the black community.
beginning of the article Ishmael comments on current events with the killing of
Michael Brown and how the black community reacts by demonstrating and rubbing
stores to make a statement3.
Afterwards Ishmael writes about his own experiences with the police and how
they pulled him over when he got his driver’s license. He describes an episode
where a police officer made him step out of the car and several tests were
taken as the officer claimed that Ishmael was high on cannabis because his tongue
was green according to the officer. Ishmael passed all the sobriety test and
got away with a warning4.
Based on these things Ishmael seems to be a reliable source and this makes it
easier for the receiver to acknowledge the challenging situation of the black
community and try to see it from their perspective. Ishmael uses pathos to convey
to the reader certain episodes from his own life as mentioned before where he
evokes the emotions of the reader which are mainly American citizens from St.
Louis. It also shows how problematic the relationship is between young black
men aged 18-25 and the police officers.
At the end
of the article Ishmael also defines some crucial things that needs to happen to
solve the problems between young black men and police officers. But basically,
these solutions are proposed to save the lives of young black men. He writes
about how black rappers sing about the hood and all the crime even though they
live a life far away from the hood. They are part of the problem according to Ishmael
as they create an image of the young black men being dangerous and nothing but
It is also a part of the reasons that there are so many racists. White people
may also think that the black rappers encourage and creates some sort of
approval of the violent life. The black community needs to “clean up” their
image and their neighbourhoods to establish a better relationship between the
black people and the authorities. But this is a very difficult task because the
whole black community needs to acknowledge the problem to improve the
situation. If this happens it might be easier for the authorities to change
their view on the problem because so far, the black community has not shown
that 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 and
create an America where nobody is treated as second-class citizens and equality
is the norm. This is a huge dilemma as so big steps forward are not likely to
purpose with this article is to make people aware of the racial problem in the United
States. Ishmael thinks it is a very big problem that black men are scared to
travel around their own neighbourhood because they fear the police. The law
enforcement is meant to provide safety and protect the community and not to
scare them. The article can change some peoples view upon the police and the
actions they commit. The article also provides a picture of how it is to be
black 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 restrictions
experienced by the Black Americans while living in America. Langston writes
about a dream, not a particular one, a dream about a better future, but The
African-American people often cannot dream big and accomplish great things in
life because of the challenging environment they live in. If they dare to have big
dreams they can get disappointed and that frustration may eventually explode.
If I should
draw a conclusion, with all the things kept in mind, it would be that Ishmael
has many interesting and true points about the blacks in America. His
intentions 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 America
where all its people can be satisfied and feel safe raising their children. He
also wants to stop young black men from being criminals. Overall, Ishmael
highlights the key problems very well and well balanced as he is not just
subjectively only defending the black people, but he acknowledges as well that the
black is also part of the problem.
2 Line 15
3 Line 2-5