Baldwin response by Alexander Diaz

In “A Report from Occupied Terror” by James Baldwin, Baldwin delves into the discrimination people faced in the neighborhood of Harlem in the 1960s, which mostly came from police officers. The cultural information Baldwin includes phrases such as “negroes” and how police officers were beating citizens both young and old for little to no reason. For example, African-Americans were being brutally beat up solely for asking the police questions. Baldwin also mentions the “Harlem Six,” who are six young African-Americans who were serving life sentences on murder charges. Additionally, Baldwin brings up personal experiences when talking about the police brutality epidemic and denial of African-American freedom in Harlem by saying “This means that I also know, in my own flesh, and know, which is worse, in the scars borne by many of those dearest to me, the thunder and fire of the billy club, the paralyzing shock of spittle in the face, and I know what it is to find oneself blinded, on one’s hands and knees, at the bottom of the flight of steps down which one has just been hurled.”

In order to further uncover the culture Baldwin describes, a fieldworker may ask questions such as “How often do African-Americans get arrested in Harlem?”, “What do the residents of Harlem think about the discrimination they are facing?”, and how will this issue be put to an end? Other sources of information a fieldworker might use to penetrate the “insider perspective” include an African-American living in Harlem who is constantly facing discrimination and police brutality. Furthermore, if possible, a fieldworker could manage to get a Harlem police officer’s perspective on the situation to see if they would deny or confirm their wrongdoings and explain their reasoning if they did confirm their actions.

2 thoughts on “Baldwin response by Alexander Diaz

  • I really admire your use of higher level words. I like how you summarized the text and still managed to answer the questions given to us. I think it was also really smart of you to add the how the fieldworkers can do to actually get the information.

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