The Issue of Racial Profiling in Some Thoughts On Mercy

The United States of America is known for having one of the most diverse and ethnically rich societies in the world. In spite of this rich ethnic diversity, race conflict still runs rampant today In “Some Thoughts On Mercy”, the disillusioned Ross Gay, motivated to write by an incident where he was a victim of racial profiling, attempts to convince his educated readership that America’s residual racism and stereotyping are detrimental to society and its people. He uses the especially persuasive stylistic techniques of logical reasoning and personal anecdotes, and the structural element of impact analysis to emphasize his points Gay uses anecdotes to get his point across about the reality of racial profiling to his readers.

A perfect example of this effective usage of personal anecdotes arises early in the paper, when he narrates a story about being pulled over by a police officer for being African American.

He shares, “he smiled ijust for a second i then asked if I had any drugs in the car,” Gay declares that he does not, to which the cop asks if he “had been drinking” which Gay had obviously not been.

Despite Gay informing the officer that these suspicions are all untrue, he persists with an inflammatory question, “‘You don’t have any weapons or anything illegal in the car I should know about?m In other words, the cop is unspokenly and warrantlessly accusing Ross Gay of a number of crimes by asking him these questions The only reason the cop asks these questions is because he suspects Gay is partaking in stereotypical African American crimes, His use of this anecdote is very effective in showing the detriments of racism, because it shows how one man acting on racist presumptions contributes to the larger stereotypes ingrained in society Furthermore, the effect it has on Gay demonstrates how racism harms the mindset of African Americans.

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Gay uses anecdotes very effectively to convince his readers that racism is a very real social toxin that plagues the mindset of African Americans.

Ross Gay also uses logical reasoning to further prove how stereotypes today contribute to a negative mindset among people, to the avid readers of The Sun. A prime use of this occurs when Gay explains what finally caused him to break free from a mindset of fear of the police force. He declares, “I am thirty eight years old and generally law abiding”, he adds “when I paid my taxes, I was helping to pay police officers salaries”. This leads him to conclude that, “therefore this cop was actually my employee…” Essentially, Gay is saying that the police exist to protect law abiding people like himself In addition, his taxes are what enable the government to maintain a police force, so they actually exist to serve the members of the community, like him In this way, Gay walks us through an incident that demonstrates why abandoning fear of authority is a logical choice, His use of logical reasoning is potent in proving that racial profiling and stereotypes are baseless social evils, because African Americans are no different from other people and shouldn’t fear the police, but they do because of the culture created by stereotyping.

In effect, Gay uses this technique to convince his readers that racism and stereotypes are truly illogical and overall simply harmful to society In addition [0 these great techniques, Gay uses the structural element of impact analysis to delineate to his readers that racism has real harms in today’s world A usage of impact analysis occurs when he discusses how stereotypes degrade African Americans. He states, “when the police suspect a black man or boy of having a gun, he becomes murderable [sic]: Murderable [sic] despite having earned advanced degrees or bought a cute house or written a couple of books of poetry,” Basically, Gay is saying that when the police feel the slightest degree of a threat coming from an African American, it is acceptable to kill them because stereotypes have created a culture in which people are used to thinking black people will almost always harm them.

This type of thinking can only spread due to stereotypes, which will make people think that the actions of a few African Americans set a premise for all of them, This is a powerful use of impact analysis, because it demonstrates to Gay‘s reader how a negative image about a group of people spreads through stereotypes and ends up translating into tangible detrimentsi In the years following the beginning of the American civil rights movement, it cannot be denied that the country has taken monumental steps to fight racism and stereotypes, and strive for equality. However, as the country nears the fiftieth anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, it is important to not lose sight of the goalr Many people today still find themselves the victims of racism and still struggle to break stereotypes, Ross Gay, the author of Some Thoughts on Mercy, was motivated to write as a result of an incident of racial profiling that had deeply affected him, He uses the especially convincing techniques of anecdotes and logical reasoning, combined with impact analysis, to persuade his audience of educated and avant garde readers that racism is a real disease afflicting the United States today.

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The Issue of Racial Profiling in Some Thoughts On Mercy. (2022, Nov 12). Retrieved from

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