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Baldwin response by Johanni Valerio

James Baldwins, “A Report from Occupied Territory” is an article that deals with this racial discrimination and brutality arising during the 1960s in Northern cities like Harlem in the black population. He discusses violence policeman did against black people in this occupied territory. While reading this article the cultural information that the reading was about how in Harlem how there was a large amount of African Americans, who many may have fled the South felt that the North allowed them to have this liberty and less. But Baldwin gave us an understanding that it wasn’t like this. Police were like enemies to the black population in Harlem. Their behavior was feeling inferior, afraid to speak up and being harassed by police. For example, even if a black salesman will ask the policeman, “why are you beating him like that?”(Baldwin page 2), they would immediately harass the man and hurt him for no reason. This informant helps us learn the treatment though his experience. Segregation in schools was a big culture issue that was like a rule. This rule was this segregation in which gave many the “habits of inferiority every hour of the day” as Baldwin explains on page 6. This action causes the behavior of fear and feeling less, rejected or less to be hurt by authority. The Harlem Six were a vital example of the culture happening in Harlem. The Harlem six were teens and young adults who were charged with a murder they never committed now bring sent to life in prison. This act was unfairly executed as they were not given any justice that summer of 1964 around the fruit stand. This unlawful act to these teens sums the culture how African Americans were racially discriminated for just the color of their skin. 

The kind of question a fieldworker might ask to further uncover the culture Baldwin describes is, Why do whites believe they are superior to be able to control? Another can be that, Has this violence policeman have done to black people in Harlem been occurring longer then just in the 60s? Why haven’t any federal action or humanitarian action been done, cause this is clearly a violation to these teens rights? What does this show what whites really think about blacks? Why do blacks were seen as inferior to others? Was everyone aware of the treatment in the North being as hard as it was in South, because many assumed it was better in the Northern cities? These questions will help add  more culture, information and behaviors to his article. Some other resources that penetrate the inside perspective, for an informant is things like past events similar to this, recordings, clothing and even criminal records. This information will give even more information to the reader and reasons to why all this is occurring. These sources help enter the minds of why there was this issue between African Americans and policemen. These sources go through an inside perspective within the article. 

2 thoughts on “Baldwin response by Johanni Valerio

  • Yes, I really agree with you. Blacks were treated very negatively. They were in constant fear and had no sense of freedom. I loved how you made the comparison between the northern and southern cities. You were able to show how Blacks were treated badly everywhere and not just in Harlem. Good job!

  • I liked how specific you were especially with explaining the mistreatment against black people in the North and how even the people who tries to help me punished as well. I agree with the unfairly act that was executed around the fruit stand because it would have been considered as a prank if the people where Caucasian. However because they are black they were discriminated against and now have to suffer with this unlawful punishment.

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