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Slims Table: The Life Of A Working Class Black Person

1484 words - 6 pages

Slims Table: The Life Of A Working Class Black Person

Slims Table, written by Mitchell Duneier has been called a true stereotype buster due to its content in which it truthfully examines the lifestyles of working class black men. The book is designed to break the common misconceptions imbedded in a majority of peoples minds over how a black man lives his life and why he in a sense "does what he does," "thinks what he thinks," and "acts the way he acts." Prior to the writing of this book by Duneier, there were many common stereotypes of a working class black man, which often caused negative attitudes towards them. Although many of them are still existent and quiet prevalent, Duneier sought to try and break these misconceptions in hopes to try and bridge the gap, which has for so long been expanding between blacks and whites.
Slims Table, appears to be written in a two-fold manner, in that Duneier tries to explain and debunk two different, yet equally important ideologies that have long since been associated to the black working class. Duneier tries to show the solidarity of the black working class with the way he presents the book, however, there is an underlying tone in which he is trying to show that the black race, in particular the struggling working class, "Is in no way hopelessly wrecked by the power of "white privilege" or racism." He tries to debunk the unfortunate and yet demoralizing caricatures that for so long have been placed upon the heads of the black working class, with such associations as poor, uneducated, unskilled and probably the most negative of all, useless. Yet, it is the manner in which he manages to bring all of this out, which is most impressing. He remains quite unassuming and appearingly non-subjective, yet he is stating his points and supporting them all the way through the book.
The setting for Slims Table primarily takes place in a cafeteria on the South Side of Chicago. There a character, known as Mitch, whom we can conclude is the author finds himself, a white man in a predominately black area, studying the lifestyles of many of the black men he encounters. The title of the book is derived from a group of people that Mitch meets in a cafeteria and befriends. He often refers to them as "the regulars" because as a routine they always meet in the cafeteria to discuss the days that they have had. Mitch later finds out they've been gathering there for over 10 years. As Mitch observes, the apparent "leader" of the group is a man named Slim, who is a black mechanic that works down in a back alley garage in one of the ghetto areas of Chicago. However, Mitch notes that he is one of the best mechanics he has ever known, which serves to try, right in the beginning of the book to debunk the stereotypes that have been attached to the black working class. Mitch does interact with many of the people he meets in the cafeteria, however, much of his observations are done from the "outside," a pseudo-objective, observant...

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