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Summary: "Walking While Black" by Garnette Cadogan

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Frederick Douglass, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and many other powerful people who fought for the rights and freedom of the black community are being let down. Racial inequality is occurring in the United States after decades of trying to dispel of it. In the essay, “Walking While Black”, Garnette Cadogan uses his intimate background and current life to explain the struggles and difficulties many people of color go through on a daily basis. In his essay regarding injustice and hardship, Garnette Cadogan is attempting to demonstrate the ongoing diversity towards people of color hoping to show others that being colored in the United States can be dangerous and can be seen as a threat.

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In the beginning of essay “Walking While Black”, Garnette is trying to understand the diversity of color between where he comes from and the United States, in order to live a safe life. This is shown when Garnette states, “A city was waiting to be discovered, and I wouldn’t let inconvenient facts get in the way. These American criminals are nothing on Kingston’s, I thought. They’re no real threat. What no one had told me was that I was the one who would be considered a threat. I wasn’t prepared for any of this. I had come from a majority-black country in which no one was wary of me because of my skin color”. This shows the innocence of many new coming colored people. In addition to this, Garnette tries to get the reader to understand that one’s appearance can lead to many misinterpretations.

Later in his essay, Garnette is presenting the fear and unease he has gone through in order to display that doing the wrong thing or mishandling a simple situation can lead to something intense and dangerous. This is shown when he states, “After a sumptuous Italian dinner and drinks with friends, I was jogging to the subway at Columbus Circle – I was running late to meet another set of friends at a concert downtown. I heard someone shouting and I looked up to see a police officer approaching with his gun trained on me”. This specific piece of evidence reveals how a simple gesture, in this case jogging, caused a major disturbance of peace and equality. If this were to be done by a non colored person, there would be no problem with it at all. Pure and modest acts should not be stressed over or led to negativity.

To summarize, America, the land of the free, does not give everyone the freedom that they deserve. This is due to racial inequality and discrimination. Civil liberty should be given to every individual, and controversy with diverse people should be put to an end. Maintaining peace between races should be a goal we want to accomplish, but it takes the whole society to reach it.

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