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Baldwin Response- Chardell Park

“A Report from Occupied Territory” discusses some social and economic issues faced by the African American communities in the United States during the 1960s. The article begins with a situation of commotion between white police officers and a few black civilians in Harlem. The eldest individual, a 31 year old man, was beaten so brutally that one of his eyes had to be taken out in efforts to save his other eye. In another incident, a 15 year old black boy was killed by a white police officer and six young black men and boys were framed for the murder. These two accounts segwayed into the topic of the article, which surrounded the fact that the system keeps African Americans in oppression; specifically career-wise. Majority of the people in this community are unable to work since the jobs given to black people were taken over by automated workers. Baldwin mentions how children in this community witnessed the travesties and tragedies of their parents. They refuse to adhere to the rules of their oppressors. To further uncover the culture described by Baldwin, a fieldworker may want to ask why those in this culture sell themselves short. The African American community is a community of numbers. Baldwin asks “Why is it not possible to attack the power of this lobby?”, and that is a deeply important question in which the answer could have broken the barrier between oppression and prosperity sooner. Another question a fieldworker could ask would be what resources are needed to move forward from the predicament the community was in? To gain a full understanding or even a more precise understanding of the situation at hand, a fieldworker may dwell amongst the community and culture for a period of time. Being amidst the circumstances on a day to day basis gives the fieldworker a greater chance at comprehending the issues faced by the people. This, in my opinion, is the most effective method of penetrating the insider perspective.

2 thoughts on “Baldwin Response- Chardell Park

  • The question of Baldwin about attacking the lobby, attracted me as well, because that’s one of the fundamental reasons why, African Americans were suffering so much in those early times. I also agree with the question asked that what steps would be necessary to get out of this tunnel of darkness and a fieldworker might question how to put an end to this hatred between the people of color.

  • I like your question about why the African America community in Harlem “sell themselves short” and why they could not attack the oppressors since the “community is a community of numbers”. There is something very interesting about this sort of psychology that really makes us think why and how oppressed people view themselves as weak. How do the tactics of the oppressor create this inferiority among the oppressed?

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