There has been bad blood between the black and white people in America; it remains an ongoing issue to date whose roots can be drawn from back the olden times. Even though the subject is not as vast as it was 50 years ago, its impact can still be felt every all over America, in both the community and individuals. America had a black president, and that changed things for a while; how that was possible is still a mystery. One more fascinating viewpoint is the telephone; it is a device to converse with, however, is it possible to unite the black and white people using it? That is what the article "Time and Distance Overcome" addresses. The essay explains how white people hanged black people throughout America. Of importance to note is the change of attitude in the second part of the paper to a very negative one as compared to the first segment when the telephone shafts turn into a sign of something destructive. In this part of the essay, the central theme is also found, plus it is after reading the second part that the reader comprehends that the objective of the article was not to discuss phones but to talk of racism. The last section articulates Eula Biss' relationship with the poles as her granddad operated as a lineman.
Then, she loved telephones since she associated them with her grandfather. "My grandfather was a lineman. He broke his back when a telephone pole fell...When I was young, I believed that the arc and swoop of telephone wires along the roadways were beautiful...believed my father when he said, "My dad could raise a pole by himself." And I believed that the telephone was a miracle. Now, I tell my sister, these wires do not look the same to me". In the present day, Eula Biss sees telephone poles differently. She grew up and acquitted herself with the history of the telephone, and that changed a lot about her. Thus her relationship links the first two sections.
The use of crucifix-like telephone rods was rather deliberate. The community was founded on the spiritual interpretations of Christianity, and maybe this outlines a similarity in the two, forming a disparity between the morality of religion and the wickedness of humanity. The discovery was harsh for the society to grasp, and it probed everything that was deemed the conformist wisdom. People are always afraid of change since time immemorial, that means somebody had to take the blame in case the transformation failed. The "negroes" as denoted "The negro only asked time to pray." had to take the blame( "Time and Distance Overcome"). Eula Biss defines the American idea "Lynching," which refers to hanging individuals on poles or bridges (Biss ). Lynching was accepted as a penalty to lawbreaking, and Eula Biss puts it clearly in the essay: "...black men were lynched for crimes real and imagined..."(Biss "Time and Distance Overcome"). Once more, it was the marginalized ones who took the fall for peoples' inability to adapt to change(Radway). Since humanity is always in transition and up to date, society is scared of this relentless power. One ought to identify themselves, which indeed, for many individuals is a dreadful and frightening step. Telephone discovery brought about good and bad results; The challenge of communication from one point to another was overcome, and that was an excellent solution for everybody.
Also, the use of crucifix-like telephone rods by the author shows how something can be visible but still not form part of the normal conversation. It can be wide-spread and affecting a particular population just as lynching affected black people, yet people lack justification for talking and chanting a way forward. The author says that she did not intend to write on lynching. However, after reviewing articles addressing the invention of the telephone, she realized how it was connected to racial discrimination. There is an explanation for everything and the need for accountability in every violation that affects another person. When we analyze the history of racial discrimination, we see that it started happening a long time ago, yet there was no one strong enough to create a conversation around it. For example, according to Anderson, it was until the emergence of civil rights movements that black people could occupy spaces that were previously set aside for only whites (Anderson 11). In the article, The White Space, the author acknowledges that blacks have moved from ghettos and occupied urban settings that were previously held by only whites, thus showing how the country has made progress in racial incorporation. Meaning, racing was visible since time immemorial; it is just that there were no significant efforts to create conversations around it. However, more than five decades later, people can highlight how race has affected them and how they wish for change. One of the results of the gradual conversation surrounding race is Barack Obama being the first African-American president, a position that was implied to be set aside for whites.
However, conversations around racial inclusion have been received by mixed reactions. On the one hand, back people are more relatively free because they can attend schools, restaurants, work for organizations, and live in areas without fearing to be discriminated against. However, the perception of the whites is that the black space is dominated by fear and destitute. The image is created and maintained by music videos, TV shows, books, and news. Seemingly, the media is promoting a vision of black people, which encourages white people to fear when within the environments predominantly occupied by black people. Notably, the mainstream media has been accused of bias when covering news on brutality against black people. Baker-Bell et al. highlight the bias by how CNN analysts analyzed the story of a black girl student who was assaulted by a White School Resource Officer (Baker-Bell et al. 130). The analysts explain that the actions of the student showed that she did not have respect. Ironically, a video of the incident that the girl was seated when the officer came and tossed her around (Baker-Bell et al. 131). It shows the analyst did not care to understand what could have caused the girl to act that way. The instance is just one of the many stories where black victims of crimes have been violated instead of being given justice. While the incident is not similar to the lynching referred to in "Time and Distance Overcome," it confirms the persistence of institutional violence against black people perpetrated by whites and supported by the media. Also, it confirms the continued silence on the topic just as there was silence when crucifix-like telephone rods were used to lynch African-Americans. Therefore, it shows the critical role of mainstream media to navigate through conversations surrounding racing discrimination and violence objectively.
Anderson, Elijah. "The white space." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1.1 (2015): 10-21.
Biss, Eula. Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays. Graywolf Press, 2018. Print.
---. "Time and Distance Overcome." The Iowa Review (2008): 83-89. Print.
Baker-Bell, April, Raven Jones Stanbrough, and Sakeena Everett. "The stories they tell: Mainstream media, pedagogies of healing, and critical media literacy." English Education 49.2 (2017): 130.
Radway, Janice A. A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire. Univ of North Carolina Press, 1997. Print.
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