Literary Essay #1
10 February 2018
Flight Patterns and Racial Profiling
In Sherman Alexie’s “Flight Patterns,” the author tackles a subject that happens in everyday life. The story revolves around profiling others after the attack on September 11th. This occurs throughout the story and affects William’s relationship with his daughter and his wife, and it ends up being a conflict in his life. As William learns about Fedaku and his past, the profiling he does on Fedaku goes away, and he is more intrigued with Fedaku himself.
“Flight Patterns” lays an elaborate exploration on the conflicts and contradictions that William, an Indian man, faces in his everyday life while trying to balance his family, his career and himself as a person. When William travels in the story, a taxi pulled up to the driveway, and he notices the driver. "The driver, a short and thin black man, stepped out of the cab and waved" (Alexie 40). Right before William got into the cab, he profiles Fedaku again because of the way he talks. "His accent a colonial cocktail of American English, formal British, and French sibilants added to a base of what must have been North African" (Alexie 41). So, even without exchanging so many words with Fedaku, he profiles him based on his voice and appearance. During the taxi ride, William continues to judge Fedaku. When Fedaku tells William that he has a wife and three sons "But they live in Ethiopia with my mother and father. I have not seen any of them for many years" (Alexie 75), William profiles him again.
He notices the scar on Fedaku's face and states "a black man with a violent history" (Alexie 76). He profiles Fedaku and his history just because of a stand out facial feature, in this case, the scar. They continue to chat during the ride, and after Fedaku telling William that he might not be able to see his family again, Fedaku immediately profiles William, automatically assuming that he is Jewish; "What are you? [Fedaku] asked... "Not so dark, but too dark to be white. What are you? Are you Jewish" (Alexie 81). Profiling is seen here when Fedaku thought the "Indi...