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When reading Cadogan’s personal essays, one can see many themes strung throughout all of them. For this post, I will specifically be looking at race and, similar to Ally’s response, the religious connections that are related to his response on the racism in America. In his essay “Walking While Black,” he speaks toward the struggles and diversity that he encountered when he came to America. He says, “I recognized that the way I would treat dangerous people when I was growing up in Jamaica was the way people began to treat me.”

Cadogan doesn’t just speak of racism in America but takes the reader through a walk in his shoes. In his essay “Due North,” he speaks of the drastic difference between walking down Upper East Side versus the South Bronx. In “Walking While Black,” there is the same theme of racism strung through the essay. In both essays, this theme is not the holding factor of the essay. Instead of just focusing on racism, he discusses racism in a way that has religious undertones, as Ally has also pointed out.

His obsession with the racism in America does not end with pointing out the fact that it exists; he takes it to another level by using language with religious connotations – “pilgrimage” and walking, as well as the idea that he is on a journey, which could be compared to a biblical disciple following Christ. He often is also explaining what appears to be a two-sided, black-versus-white subject. For example, he discusses walking on the Upper East Side versus walking in the South Bronx, white versus black, Jamaica versus America. This emphasis on dichotomy also seems somewhat representative of religious language. For example, in Genesis, we encounter phrases like “heavens and the earth,” “he separated the light from the darkness,” “and there was evening and there was morning,” and so on. These are just a few examples of religious associations that can be made throughout his essays. In understanding Cadogan’s essays as having a religious undertone, one could agree that his essays are about the struggle of encountering racism, but more significantly, they present the journey of a man moving from naiveté to a consciousness of the dangers he faces simply on account of his race.

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