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Down these Mean Streets

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by

Marta Guevara

on 17 January 2014

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Transcript of Down these Mean Streets

Down these Mean Streets
Chapter 16- Funeral For Prodigal Son
• In chapter 15 Piri got into a fight with his brother Jose. Jose says "I ain't black, damn you! Look at my hair. It's almost blonde. My eyes are blue, my nose is straight. My motherfuckin' lips are not like a baboon's ass. My skin is white. White, goddamnit! White! Maybe Poppa's a little dark, but that's the Indian blood in him. He's got white blood in him and…" This is not how his brother usually acts, but he thinks he is white and not Puerto Rican.

•The next day it was quiet, and Piri thinks to himself 'I love you all' to his family, and his mother tells him to stop saying that he feels like he doesn't belong.

• Piri also wants to go down south, the reason why he feels different because of his skin color.

• Poppa tells Piri about when he was a teenager and people of color were not accepted, and said that he felt a cold rejection. He also talked about his his father gave all of his kids American names because he felt proud to be an American. Poppa started to cry because later in life he didn’t accept his dark skin complexion.

• Piri then says good bye to his family, and says "I hate funerals."

Chapter 17- Gonna Find Out What’s Shakin’
• Piri going to Brew’s and Alice’s apartment (the windows were covered in newspaper instead of shades)

• Piris brother punches Piri in the face but Piri tells Brew that he started it so its okay.

• Brew and Piri what to go down south to Norfolk Virginia to find information about Charlie and other people.

• Piri wants to find out his nationality because his mother is white and his father is black

• Brew says to Alice that just because he is a Puerto Rican doesn’t mean he isn’t part of the black race (because Piri is a black Puerto Rican) “When your born a shoe, you stay a shoe”
Chapter 18- Barroom Sociology
Down These Mean Streets
Project By: Nashaya Godfrey, Elwin Cabrera, Jonathan Chimbo,
Marta Guevara-Chavez
• They were walking around the colored part of Norfolk, after that Brew remembered a place from another life. The place was called Blue Bell.

• The guy from Pennsylvania sat and told them the he is writing a book about the Negros situation.

• Brew suggest to the Pennsylvania guy to write a specific part of Norfolk in his book.

• After a long conversation the Pennsylvania guy say “It comes to the point of violence I know that many will die especially Negros, those fight and that they will help the cause”.

• Brew ask for the name of the Pennsylvania guy and he said my name is Gerald Andrew West but he say in a way to let someone know your name when you think he’s inferior to you.

• Gerald ask to Thomas if he is a Spanish descend. He said no, just Puerto Rican.

• After words, he started to describe himself as a black Puerto Rican “Moyeto”. He tells Brew about his family tree and how he is one-eighth colored.

• He talks about his mix race or blends. He feels that he can identify as Spanish since he admired the culture, but he continues to feel confuse about his race. He does not feel that he belongs to a particular race due to his racial blends. He finds himself as unique position.

• He talks to Brew about not being able to write as a black man, but continuing to feel confuse. Gerald asks a question to Mr. Thomas tells that he has the right to identify with whatever race or nationality approximates his emotional and physical characteristics.

• At the end he tells that he feels comfortable being a Spanish extraction and tells him that he might feel the same way if he was in his place. He finally found what he was looking for. He decides to write the book from both points of view black and white.
• In what ways does Piri establish a new level of independence and maturity? How do members of his family show respect for his desire to find his own identity?
Piri wants to leave home and go down south. His mother doesn’t want him to leave but accepts it anyway, and then tells him “be un hombre, wherever you go. ” His father tells him about the time that he felt different, and excluded, and also wants to give him money.
What might you say about the racial identity of these three men?
Gerald the racial identity is Pre-encounter; he doesn’t accept his race they think Black is wrong, And white is right. Thomas racial identity is pre-encounter; he is Puerto Rican trying to be black. Brew racial identity is encounter he accept what he is because he can’t change his race.
• Brew and Alice are talking about him going to Virginia. Alice thinks that anything is better than being a negro, and Brew gets mad.

• Brew slaps Alice because for what she says

• Brew almost gets molested by white boys, and he almost kills one of them with a rock

• Alice gets raped by white boys

• Brew and Piri decide to go to Virginia

• Piri likes Trina (Trina is a white Puerto Rican) Brew does not like the idea of him dating a light skinned girl
Continued....
What might you say about the racial identity of these three men?
Gerald the racial identity is Pre-encounter; he doesn’t accept his race they think Black is wrong, And white is right. Thomas racial identity is pre-encounter; he is Puerto Rican trying to be black. Brew racial identity is encounter he accept what he is because he can’t change his race.
Continued....
Chapter 19- Las Aguas Del Sur
Piri tells Brew his opinion over white people (paddies), all he thinks that they are all ignorant, careless people.
Piri and Piri go on a ship and meet Steward
Steward is a old white man basically in charge of the mess boys.
Steward tells Piri and Brew exactly what to do when they serve breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
So on the following day Piri serves coffee to the captain and the chief mate. Chief mate gets mad because he gets cold coffee the three times Piri served him.
Conitnued....
Chief mate calls Piri and asks why he brought cold coffee purposely, also added boy, Piri tells the chief not to call him a boy because his mother would tell him if you know your a man, never let anyone call you a boy.
Chief never called him a boy again.
The ship stopped by Mobile , Brews hometown, Brews attitude changed once he knew they were stopping there.
Continued....
Piri was hungry so he stopped by a restaurant and noticed he was the only black head in the restaurant.
They went on the ship and right after they stopped at New Orleans.
That was the last time Piri saw Brew.
Piri meets a mexican guy and thanks to him he had a chance to have sex with a paddy. But he had to be a Puerto Rican not a black person. Then goes back to the ship.
Piri gets into a fight with a swede guy and almost kills him. Piri spares his life but Isaac is disappointed.
Many white people claim that they are not prejudiced and that racism isn’t so bad but are clear that they wouldn’t change their race. How does Piri indicate this?
Piri indicates this by telling Brew how being white have so many privileges but blacks are treated like garbage.
How is the steward an ally?
Steward was a very nice man. He didn't disrespect Piri or Brew at all. Piri seemed to like the guy.
How does Piri deal with the chief mate?
Piri didn't let the chief mate disrespect him, he told him not to call him because his mother said once you know your a man don't let anybody call you a boy. Ever since, he hasn't been called a boy.
What happens in the restaurant in Mobile?
Piri goes to the restaurant and sits on a stool then he just waits till a waiter receives him. He notices that he is the only black head in the restaurant. The waiter passes buy him three times and does not receive him so he gets furious and yells out his order. Everyone gets quiet and looks at him. Two guys tell him to leave and Piri hesitates but Brew told him to go with him to the ship, so they went to the ship.
What was Piri’s motivation in Texas?
Piri's motivation was to have sex with a white chick and so he did but told her that she had sex with a nigga but he ran so he wouldn't get into more trouble.
What do you think might have happened to Brew?
I think he got jumped and killed maybe that was why he disappeared.
What advice does Isaac give Piri after he fights the Swede?
Isaac says "You got to have the heart not only to spare a life but to take it." In other words, you should of killed the guy.
Critical Lens- Text To World
Piri has a hard time categorizing himself between Black or Puerto Rican. He argues with his family for rejecting that he was black or at least looks black, because if they did accept it, that meant that they were black too. Everyone at least have one point in their lives where they have to find themselves, and where they belong. This relates to Marta because she was born here in USA but her parents are from El Salvador. She doesn't know what to consider herself because her parents would say she is white american because she was born here not in El Salvador. It happens to a lot of hispanic americans.
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