Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Beautiful Struggle, Chapter 6

[The Beautiful Struggle]

At one point in chapter 6 of The Beautiful Struggle, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, "…because of your size you will do things that will be seen as a threat. You need to be conscious especially around white people” (173).

How did you respond to this statement about the imperative of black boys being so self-aware of how they
might be perceived as threats? Why or how so?

8 comments:

Jamal Sims said...

I found this quote in chapter six (Float like gravity, never had a cavity), to be a very valid. Personally, I have felt the need to belittle myself to not be perceived as "threatening" or "thuggish", and most of the time I may not even recognized that I've done so. While reading this chapter, it also made me think of the phrase "acting white". In many occurrences, I have been told that I don't act black or that I talk too proper.

Robert F said...

I feel like it has a lot to do with stereotypical behavior white people have learned as they were raised. It is natural to seek out threats and avoid danger, but sometimes it is taken to a different level. Large black men are depicted in society as criminals, when for the most part it is not their fault they are that size and they are decent people. I say this based on the experiences I have dealt with being a larger black man.

Jeremy H. said...

This chapter covered the stereotype of the thug and how society reacts to those who fits this stereotype. But, it is even more interesting to see how the author views what others may consider contributes to him being a thug. He takes pride in the the fact that he survived his neighborhood experiences and I believe he should, because these life lessons made him what he is today.
Jeremy H.

gabriel said...

Black men are always perceived as a threat in society despite the height. You could be the friendly giant but still considered a threat or danger to others. The darker the individual the more they are deemed as a threat. Black boys have to know that they are perceived as threats. Just slip up and see how quick they are in trouble.

Evan T said...

"that you will be held as a threat." It can be a help in some points but is definitely a hardship, because one can get away with, in many cases, scaring people out of fighting to defend themselves; which was something he did in the chapter after being called a punk. But it leads many to fear and many people do not want to give up the "power" so this causes them to go at you. Not necessarily through physical means but often this is the case. To defend the honor of a pride that really is just based on fear. It causes an environment that is closed off and creates unnecessary violence and hate.

Nicholas M. said...

It's sad, but true. White people have this ill perceived stereotype of black people because of the way society has portrayed the black man or woman. I feel that this is the main reason why white people and black people will never truly be equal.

Deandre Howard said...

Honestly, there is no need to be "self-aware" in terms of race. My reaction to statements like this if often to insure or discern personality from generalization. A person can "look" like a "thug" or criminal (it is just subjective) but that doesn't mean he is one. My main concern is personal reputation, because if people recognize you by individuality (and not race) then their own concerns are based on personal and past choices (how you represent yourself).

The notion of judging someone by race alone is absurd, but there is merit to the pattern in terms of population (if statistics show that many blacks act "thuggish").
That doesn't, however, give the authority to base personality on an individual basis.

We don't have to represent a "race". At all times, we represent ourselves. The problem with concepts such as this is perpetuation of statistics (whether or not they are properly surveyed and/or biased).
-DeAndre H.

Dj Sterling said...

The first thing that came to my mind when I read that passage was a rhetorical question. "Why should we have to be conscious or self-aware around certain people?" Every guy that is bigger in size should be held to that same standard if that's the case, but that is an ideal world and not the actual world we live in. I stand tall and try not to reduce my height or persona just because I'm around a specific group of people.