The Journal, Whispering Vivaldi (Steele) is a very interesting read. It is very easy to relate with and addresses very real issues of life. Prejudice as a result of race and other societal groupings are very common. To help me read the journal, I used the principle of active reading. This involved asking questions to myself as I read in order to relate with the writer. I also had a preview of the journal to find out what the author was trying to communicate. The author’s background helped me know his motivation for writing.
During the reading, writing down what I thought what a passage was trying to communicate helped me understand in a better way. Highlighting the text and making short notes also greatly assisted. Retelling the whole story in my own words was also of great aid to my reading and understanding. I read the book with a dictionary at hand, for looking up complex words. On reading the journal, I understood that there are things that we have to deal with because of our societal identities. They are contingencies. The writer is an African American, who was born in Chicago land in the 1950’s. He experienced racial prejudice, as a result of the society stereotypes. The writer came to understand that such discriminations result from the way the society organizes itself around some identities such as social classes.
He gave various experiences in his and other people’s lives where, they were prevented from enjoying certain privileges because of stereotypes. He also gives a way out for dealing with such prejudices as there are things that we can do to make the stereotypes not apply to us personally.
Such is what the Staples did, by whispering Vivaldi. There are things we can also do to make stereotypes apply to us. I did not understand whether the character realized he was black when he was eight or when he was thirteen. Staples too does not make clear what he meant by declaring that he became an expert in the language of fear.
Steele, Claude M. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Issues of Our Time). New Yolk: W. W Norton & company inc., 2010. …