Night Walker Response Questions
Staples refers to the woman he encountered as his first victim due to the general stereotype that had engulfed the social setting at that moment in the society where he had found himself. The blacks were almost always seen from the negative light. He was also depicting how the woman saw herself in his presence, she saw herself as a victim especially because she was a young white well-dressed woman. Staples on the other hand did not have the most pleasing of appearances and would have easily passed off as a mugger, a rapist or even something worse than that. He was a six foot black man with a beard and wafting hair as he says.
The Unwieldy Inheritance he refers to is the awkward social position he found himself not of his own accord but as it seems it discreetly appears to be a form of inheritance accorded to him by the fact that he was a black. He was an innocent 22 year old graduate student who had newly arrived to the University of Chicago probably with a great vision only to face a society heavily puffed with various forms of racism. However, this is because his resided in a place where an affluent neighborhood occupied predominantly by whites was at very close proximity with the ghetto of Chicago which was highly impoverished at that time.
The language of fear is a phrase used by Staples to refer to the various forms of reactions of people to the presence of a young black man who appeared as suspicious. It is a language ingrained in to the mindsets of individuals by the society and is observed to be an almost spontaneous reaction to the presence of any suspicious character. The example he gives to illustrate this language is the crossing of people to the other side of a dark alley rather than passing by him. The locking of vehicle doors upon spotting him was also an expression of the language coupled with pleasantries with police, bouncers and others charged with the responsibility of screening out troublesome individuals.
The titles carry with them an aspect of the stereotype and they would rather render the piece to be perceived negatively upon the first judgment of the title. They appear to contradict the main reason for Staple’s writing especially because he is trying to paint the other side of the coin and show the society that not all young black men are gangsters seeking a way to express their anger and frustration. If given these titles, my perception of the purpose of his writing would be affected since it would appear as though the black men are trying to seize the public space to advance their sinister desires which is the exact opposite of why Staples wrote the essay.
Melodies from selections of Beethoven and Vivaldi would serve to ease the tension of the people around him because they could identify with the popular classical compositions. The compositions would provide a common platform for the lovers of the classical music and the common interests served to overshadow the racial differences. It was also highly unlikely for a mugger would not be the kind to sing such pieces of music and this went a long way to make the people less afraid.