Sunday, August 23, 2020

the last book I ever read (The Street by Ann Petry, excerpt seven)

from The Street by Ann Petry:

The next day’s papers said that a “burly Negro” had failed in his effort to hold up a bakery shop, for the proprietor had surprised him by resisting and stabbed him with a bread knife. She held the paper in her hand for a long time, trying to follow the reasoning by which that thin ragged boy had become in the eyes of a reporter a “burly Negro.” And she decided that it all depended on where you sat how these things looked. If you looked at them from inside the framework of a fat weekly salary, and you thought of colored people as naturally criminal, then you didn’t really see what any Negro looked like. You couldn’t, because the Negro was never an individual. He was a threat, or an animal, or a curse, or a blight, or a joke.

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