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Brendan Karijomenggolo
Freshman Composition
Lisa Diomande
Summary and Response Revision
March 1, 2015
The Struggle

The life of the average black person living in America isnt as cushy as
one would expect for one that lives in the land of the free. James Baldwin is a
relatively important writer on this subject matter and has written multiple
works of literature regarding ethnic identity. A Report from Occupied
Territory, for example, discusses the discrimination against blacks and how
such a troubling stigma is still prevalent in the modern era.
His first point discusses how there is a lack of decency in this world and
how it can be reflected in how poorly black people were treated back then.
He says: A plea for the recognition of our common humanity. Without this
recognition, our common humanity will be proved in unutterable ways.
Violence and the oppression of black people are the unutterable ways that he
speaks of. Even in the past, cops were still beating down unthreatening black
people for no reason and no repercussions, a major problem that can still be
seen to this day. Ferguson, Treyvon Martin, Eric Garner; all of these cases
support the never ending tensions between whites and blacks and despite

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much outrage brought up from such atrocities. It is very unlikely that this
trend will ever change in the near future.
Next he addresses the typical lifestyle of black people at the time: The
jobs that Negroes have always held, the lowest jobs, the most mental jobs,
segregated education, habits of inferiority. The government is a major
contributor to why so many of these things are happening to black people
then and now. Baldwin shows this through a dialogue between Washington,
government rep, and Jim, representative of blacks. In it Washington asks:
say, Jim, whats going to happen to this summer? Immediately, Jim knew
of the negative connotations of this question due to the same repetitive
cycle that Jim goes through every summer dealing with Washington: Do
you think any of those unemployed, unemployable Negroes who are going to
be on the streets all summer will cause us any trouble? What do you think we
should do about it? Then he replaces his second question with what was I
going to do about it? implying that even though the government promises
to do something about the crappy conditions that blacks undergo, in
actuality they wont do anything because they dont really care, leaving Jim
to solve the problem himself.
This fact can be further support when he states: They thanked me.
They didnt believe me, as I conclude, since nothing was ever done. The
summer was always violent. And, in the spring, the phone began to ring
again. Thus, proving how adamant the government is when tasked with

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solving this issue. This next statement essentially sums up how ethically
wrong the situation is and how unfair of a system for blacks: The principle
on which one had to operate was that the government which can force me to
pay does not have the authority to say that it cannot protect my right to
vote or my right to earn a living or my right to live - no nation, willing to call
itself free, can possibly survive so massive a defection.
In my personal experience, Ive witness countless amounts of blacks
trying to make it through life the best way they can. Whether its harvesting
food at churches, gathering donations on public transport, or merely applying
for jobs they barely qualify for, theres no denying that black people have the
desire to work hard and to make a good living out of it. However, due to a
system that essentially turns the tide against blacks and that the only way
for them to live is to manipulate such a system. According to James Baldwin,
this fact can be supported as he says: He may prefer to remain where he is,
given such unattractive choices, which means he either remains in limbo, or
finds a way to use the system in order to beat the system.
Racial inequality is a very serious matter that society still hasnt moved
on from. Sure other parts of the world deal with similar situations albeit on a
more severe scale, massive poverty and higher mortality rates come to
mind, but that doesnt excuse America for its cruelty of the colors. Seen as
the most free and accepting of any other nation, it is our duty to supply
freedom and justice for all races, genders, orientations and political

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viewpoints. If such ideals cant be fulfilled here, we might as well become as


corrupt as any of those third world countries that we are scared of turning
into.