Just Walk on By: An Essay on Racism and Discrimination

“Just Walk on By” is an essay written by Brent Staples. In this essay, Staples recalls how he was perceived by others due to his race and how it caused him to be afraid and paranoid in public. Although he was never actually harmed by anyone, the way he was treated made him feel like he was in danger.

Staples begins by describing how he would be perceived by white people when he walked by them. He would often see the fear in their eyes, and sometimes they would even cross the street to avoid him. He also describes how he was once mistaken for a hooligan and was chased by a policeman. Although he was never actually harmed, the way he was treated made him feel like he was in danger.

Although racism is no longer as overt as it once was, it still exists in our society today. Blacks are still disproportionately stopped and searched by the police, and they are more likely to be incarcerated than whites. This is just one example of how racism manifests itself in our society today.
Staples’ essay is successful in highlighting the racial discrimination that blacks were subjected to. He also does a good job of showing how this discrimination can lead to paranoia and fear.


The author's purpose in writing this essay is to raise awareness about the problem of racial profiling and to offer possible solutions to the issue.

The author feels frustrated and angry that he is often perceived as a threat because of his race.

Some possible solutions to the problem of racial profiling include increasing public education about the issue, implementing stricter penalties for officers who engage in racial profiling, and increasing diversity within law enforcement agencies.