Cultural Collision

Select two of the four question sets and craft answers to the questions. Then write a one paragraph summary of the other two work. Give a heading for each paragraph or answer set with the title of the work, copy the question and add your responses. “Parallel Lives”    In his introductory article, Canter Brown, Jr. describes the “hard racial barrier” that divided the lives that blacks and whites lived “through the 1950s.” In Bill Maxwell’s essay in “Parallel Lives,” he describes himself as an “angry young man,” for whom “stepping out of ‘place’ could be lethal.” Consider the hard racial barrier that existed between blacks and whites during these times.  How could one “step out of place” during the 1950s and early 1960s?  Can one “step out of place” in 2016?  If so, what are the similarities and the differences between stepping out of place during the 1950s/early 1960s and stepping out of place today? What “small indignities” and “brutal encounters” did Maxwell suffer, and what was his response to these? If these things happened to you today, how would you respond?  Was the way you would respond even possible in the 1950s and 60s?  Why or why not? Who “cooled” Maxwell’s “growing hatred of white people”? How was this cooling accomplished?  Do you think that Maxwell is still angry at the way he was treated in his youth?  Should he be?  Beverly Coyle describes herself as “illiterate” concerning the “Whites Only” and “Coloreds Only” signs above water fountains. She writes, “We all looked at those signs without reading them.  Black presence in our lives was so minimal that incidents of racial conflict did not exist in my young perspective.”  How often do you cross paths with people who are racially or culturally different from you?  How and why do your paths cross?  How much do you understand about the lives and experiences of those who are racially or culturally different from you?  Can you see racial or cultural conflicts from an “other’s” point of view? How can you better understand the “other’s” point of view? Towards the end of her essay, Coyle describes the plot of In Troubled Waters, her novel “in which black and white characters struggle to know each other across a divide that still exists.” Do you think a racial divide still exists?    Do you experience a divide in which you struggle to know someone who is racially or culturally different from you?  If so, describe your struggle.    James Baldwin, “A Letter to My Nephew”     Baldwin writes this letter to his nephew in 1963, on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The letter was published in The Progressive magazine and later is adapted for his collection of essays, The Fire Next Time.  Who is his audience for this essay beyond his nephew?  And why write it on the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation?  How had the world changed (or not) from 1863 to 1963 and how has it changed (or not) from 1963 to today? He states later in the letter that his nephew is fifteen years old.  What is the significance of this age to Baldwin’s message? What does it tell you about the nature of the letter when Baldwin says, “I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times”?  Why would writing this letter be so difficult? How does he describe his brother, his nephew’s father?  What happened to him?  What are these “tears he sheds invisibly today? What does James Baldwin mean when he says: “One can be–indeed, one must strive to become–tough and philosophical concerning destruction and death, for this is what most of mankind has been best at since we have heard of war; remember, I said most of mankind, but it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime”? In paragraph four, Baldwin tells his nephew that he is “writing this letter to you, to try to tell you something about how to handle them, for most of them do not yet really know that you exist. … [they] don’t know that she exists, either, though she has been working for them all their lives.”  Who is “them,” and what does Baldwin mean when he says, “[they] don’t know that she exists, either, though she has been working for them all their lives”? Follow the use of the word “innocent” in this essay. Underline or highlight it every time you see it. How is it used for rhetorical effect?  What is Baldwin‘s dispute with his “innocent country”? Baldwin gives his nephew several pieces of advice. Choose one piece of advice he gives and explain why it is important for his nephew to follow. What does Baldwin mean when he says, “Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger”?  In danger of what? How much of what James Baldwin said about America is still true today?  Please find an example to support your response.   Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Letter to My Son” Coates wrote this letter to his 15-year-old son in 2015.  The letter was published in The Atlantic magazine and later adapted for his prize winning book, Between the World and Me.  The work takes its inspiration from Baldwin’s letter to his nephew and book The Fire Next Time.  That inspiration is visible in the inscription Coates chose to start his essay: “And have brought humanity to the edge of oblivion: because they think they are white. — James Baldwin”.  What similarities do you find between Coates’ letter and Baldwin’s?  In what ways are Coates’ letter different from Baldwin’s? Who is Coates’ audience for this essay beyond his son?  What is the need for a publication like this in 2016?  Is this “the fire next time”? The title of Coates’s book comes from a poem by Richard Wright that recounts a lynching (. Think about how the title relates to Coates’s argument and then read the poem.  Why might Coates have chosen this name for his book? What understanding can we gain by reading these texts side-by-side? David French writes in The National Review a response to Coates in the form of a letter to his African American daughter.  Again, who is the author’s audience beyond his daughter?  What is the significance of addressing his letter to an African American daughter?  What similarities do you find between these three letters?  In what ways are the letters different?   Angie Thomas, “The Hate You Give” As Starr and Khalil listen to Tupac, Khalil explains what Tupac said “Thug Life” meant. Discuss the meaning of the term “Thug Life” as an acronym and why the author might have chosen part of this at the title of the book. In what ways do you see this is society today?  Chapter 2 begins with Starr flashing back to two talks her parents had with her when she was young. One was about sex (“the usual birds and bees”). The second was about what precautions to take when encountering a police officer (Chapter 2, p.20). Have you had a similar conversation about what to do when stopped with the police? Reflect upon or imagine this conversation. Why did we care about Khalil when the encounter with the police officer occurs? What subtle but powerful writing tools did Thomas use to completely round out Khalil’s character by the time o

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