Expository Essay

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Just walk on by is an article written by Brent Staples depicting his run-ins with racism. He discovers his incontrollable power to negatively affect pedestrians and other individuals around him while on one of his regular night walks in Chicago. He became used to being judged based on his race and appearance, but not content with it. Ultimately, Staples found a way to relieve the tension of other around him, causing them not to be so hasty with their assumptions. Pat Capponi’s Dispatches from the Poverty Line tells a story of how she fell victim to stereotyping, but also made some of her own. Capponi talks about a board that she worked on consisting of some high-powered co-workers who she felt were intimidating. This board is where she made some of her own stereotypes based on their positions. Both authors Staples and Capponi are very different people, but both share the same situation, being stereotyped and subject to prejudice by race, gender and their physical appearance. If staples were a woman on his late night walks in Chicago, would other woman still clutch their purses in fear of robbery? Would people still lock their car doors at the sight of a woman walking past them at a stopped light? Gender plays a large role in the stereotyping that occurs in these two articles. In stapes’ situation he was perceived to be a dangerous and immediate threat everywhere he appeared. Could this be because of the history in the area? He believed so, as he stated that “ black man have a firm place in New York mugging literature”. While this does warrant the behavior of others, it explains how the prejudice came about. Capponi also has a similar situation where her gender affects her. An old man approaches her while she is reading in the park and sits near her hoping to spark some conversation. The old man’s intensions seem to far more devious than Capponi’s, in that he was

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