Baldwin Response – Mauricio Guidos

Baldwin pointed out the wrongings that the police in Harlem have committed against African Americans in his essay. He had an emphasis specifically on the “Harlem Six”. Six men wrongfully arrested and convicted of the murder of a couple that owned a used clothing store. Baldwin knows that the wrongfully convicted men are the result of the rampant racism from the police at the time and from society as a whole. He would also say that the racism minorities were facing were systematic because of the laws that were aimed directly on having the minority population under check. One such law would literally have a police officer enter your home without alerting you that he is entering. I find that absolutely ridiculous, but back then it was expected. Because as Baldwin said “To respect the law, in the context in which the American Negro finds himself, is simply to surrender his self-respect”. Which is disheartening, since again as Baldwin said “The law is meant to be my servant and not my master”. Baldwin includes his experience since he is a part of the community and a part of the civil rights movement. He is an insider. He would say 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”. He knows the struggle that the community has to go through. A fieldworker would ask questions pertaining to how a minority could stand up to the discrimination they face everyday and who are the worst offenders, so that we can observe the person in question and answer the question of why they would turn to racsim. Other sources that a fieldworker could use is to socialize with the community and get an informant to help out on the research. Another way that a fieldworker can gather more information is by living in the area they want to conduct their observations. 

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