Alton Fitzgerald White uses plot elements to help the reader understand his background as well as perspective in the essay “Right Place, Wrong Face”. The staples of life that the author explains suggest that he would be a well mannered man who would understand how to abide by the law yet, he still finds himself in a peculiar sitautaion. Style is employed in this short essay to help paint a mental picture for the reader. Describing the setting with descriptive words, the author allows the reader to make a connection between the phscial elements and the actual circumstances. Subsequently, the beliefs that Alton Fitzgerald holds prior to the incident where he is wrongfully arrested are crushed because he feels as if these teachings where contrary to reality.
The analysis of incidents of wrongful arrest are not uncommon. In fact, even the assertion that he was arrested based on his color is studied from many points of view when looking at the American criminal justice system. The majority of the imprisoned are minority males in the United States (Blumstein 2015). Blumstein (2015) explains that approximately 30% of all African-American males can expect to be incarcerated at some point in their lifetime and that there are six times as many black men in prison than white.
Explaining that his upbringing had him convinced that racism did not exist, he his shocked at his wrongful arrest. The interesting point that emerges to the reader is his level of surpise when he becomes a victim of something that he would have previously though to be unture. The reader has to make certain conclusions based on the information provided by the author as it relates to racism and the intersection of thoughts and beliefs. Perosnally held beliefs help people construct meaning in life but, we learn from this essay that experiences are a comprelling factor as well. In life, people experience many different sitautaions and circumstances and have different persecteives. In one article, van den Bos (2009) explains that people may use cultural worldviews as a means of coping with uncertainty. This is an example of one uncertainty management model. Following events in life that cause people to question beliefs, some mechanism is employed to help them make it through and process the events as they relate to life.
The author acknoleges that his character was not considred when he was being arrested and held and that his skin color was the factor used to link him to criminal activity. Explaining his clean appearance and the evidence that he was not a criminal alludes the fact that he further thought he should not be considered in mischief. The reader has to consider whether or not they have empathy to the situation. Explaining that he sat in jail crying tears of dismay at the sight of injustice, the author craftfully depicts the feeling that came over him as he considered his life. Crichlow (2013) suggests that issues of race have roots in education. For example, some consider education to be a mark of character but, inequality is prevalent in all sectors.
In conclusion, the author exposes that racism is not restricted to just disenfranchised persons. Even people who have physical attributes associated with success can still be subjected to racism. Furthermore, the personal beliefs that people have about racism are challenged when they have personal experiences that cuase them to be subject to unfair actions or decisions
- Blumstein, Alfred. “Racial Disproportionality in Prison.” Race and Social Problems. Springer New York, 2015. 187-193.
- McWhorter, Kathleen T. Successful College Writing: Skills-Strategies-Learning Styles. Macmillan, 2011.
- van den Bos, Kees. “Making sense of life: The existential self trying to deal with personal uncertainty.” Psychological Inquiry 20.4 (2009): 197-217.
- Crichlow, Warren, ed. Race, identity, and representation in education. Routledge, 2013.