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  1. "Incident" by Countee Cullen
  2. "Night Walker" by Brent Staples
  3. Incidents between 1986 and 2005

It seems as if in America there is always some kind of race-related strain. There are various incidents of racism that makes a person wonder about the state of our society, not only in the past but throughout the twentieth century. Many literary works have been written in respect to race relations and the civil rights movement that try to work towards a peaceful co-existence. To some degree it has worked, however at times many people may wonder if any real progress is being made.

[...] We come to think that we have come a long way since the days of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement by in 2005 the same thing happened in the same exact neighborhood in Queens, ?mere blocks from the site of a 1986 attack in which a group of about a dozen white men set upon three black men whose car broke down? (NY Times). A group of white men drove around late one night trying to find the black men who they cursed at earlier that day, when they finally found them they started to chase them down. [...]

[...] Even the end of each stanza has meaning. The first stanza ends with which describes the author, the second with which describes the event, and the third with ?remember.? All these words are important and are the key to each stanza. This whole poem seems shocking when read through, and like the power, it becomes more shocking with each stanza until the reader is almost offended himself. Even the setting of Baltimore is significant since it is in Maryland, which is a border state between the north and south, which because of the civil war, there would be more prejudice towards African Americans in the south. [...]

[...] According to Staple's essay, things have not really changed since 1925. People expect the worst of black people for no real reason, only because they themselves have racist feelings. In the poem, the Baltimorean hates black people and looks down on them by calling the boy a racist word, in Night Walker, people fear black people and try to avoid them, even going so far as to have attack dogs around them for ?safety.? Nowadays, it looks as if not all that much has changed in people's minds when it comes to race. [...]

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