The black men throughout history has always had a negative perceived image of them by those in power. The idea that one’s skin give others pre-deceived notions about them. Stereotypes of black people only illustrates them as negative things in a society. The strong perpetuated stereotypes of black people create a fear based off their image. Staples states his experience “She cast back a worried glance. To her,
Staples successfully begins by not only admitting the possible faults in his practiced race but also by understanding the perspective of the one who fear them. Black males being opened to more violence because of the environment they're raised in are labeled to be more likely to cause harm or committing crime towards women but Staples asks why that issue changes the outlook of
In the short essay, “Black Men in Public Space” written by Brent Staples, discusses his own experiences on how he is stereotyped because he is an African American and looks intimidated in “public places” (Staples 225). Staples, an intelligent man that is a graduate student at University of Chicago. Due to his skin complexity, he is not treated fairly and always being discriminated against. On one of his usual nightly walks he encountered a white woman. She took a couple glances at him and soon began to walk faster and avoided him that night. He decided to change his appearance so others would not be frightened by his skin color. He changed the way he looked and walked. Staples dressed sophisticated to look more professional so no
Brent Staples is an author and editorial writer for the New York Times. His writing is mostly on political issues, cultural issues and controversies including races. In one of his essay written in 1986 which was published in Ms. Magazine “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space,” Brent Staples explains about his personal experience being black in an American society. Author wants his reader to understand that we are living in a culture with is constantly becoming violent and dangerous. Staples in his essay is gathering sympathy from his audience. He explains his thesis throughout the essay describing different incidents which took place in his life. Staples wants his audience to know how racial stereotypes has affected him as well as many other peoples like him and forced him to change so that he is not misunderstood by people and can prove himself fearless for others.
Brent Staples use of pathos though invoking a sad emotion that is invoked through me due to the situations he is put through with police, and people in general. “I could cross in front of a car stopped a traffic light and elicit the thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk of the driver – black, white, male, or female- hammering down the door locks” (174). This also invokes some anger at those people who are simply rude. “Then there were the standard unpleasantries with policemen, doormen, bouncers, cabdrivers, and others whose business it is to screen out troublesome individuals before there is any nastiness” (174). These instances not only show how only Staples was treated but how all of the black community was being treated in a dark era in American history. “The fearsomeness mistakenly attributed to me in public places often has a perilous flavor.”
Perhaps the woman ran in terror due to his skin color, but it makes more sense that she had the natural reaction of meeting a shady character in night. I have five sisters, and they never go out at night simply because they are afraid of running into a man who might be able to hurt them. They don’t even pay attention to what the man would look like, he can even be their size. They fear strangers, and they know that even if it’s a man of their height, he would over power them easily. He fails to recognize that women fear men simply because of the difference in strength and control. Staples misses the point of people running away, avoiding him, or locking their car doors. It’s not because he’s black, but because people fear that in which they . They cannot predict what to expect from a stranger who looks suspicious, whether they are black or white.
Fueled by fear and ignorance, racism has corrupted the hearts of mankind throughout history. In the mid-1970’s, Brent Staples discovered such prejudice toward black men for merely being present in public. Staples wrote an essay describing how he could not even walk down the street normally, people, especially women, would stray away from him out of terror. Staples demonstrates his understanding of this fearful discrimination through his narrative structure, selection of detail, and manipulation of language.
In Brent Staples’ “Just Walk On By: Black Men and Public Space” he forces women to recognize the feeling of estrangement from the surrounding public that he has endured. He first took notice at the age of twenty two, when his own self-judgement resulted from scaring a woman when solely walking at night near his college, the University of Chicago. He maintained his dejected attitude when he wrote that a few years later, his own work mistook him for a thief instead of a journalist. Brent Staples heightened his frustration by mentioning a black male journalist who was blamed as a killer in a murder, instead of the writer reporting it. In portraying two versions of his story, he proves that this was a rather common and difficult occurrence for not only him, but others of his race. To attempt to resolve this, he decided to attempt to cross the street or sing classical songs to portray innocence. In this article, Staples’ forces his audience to encounter the hypocrisy in which all black men are dangerous. He concluded the essay with the realization that you can't change what people think, only attempt to show them who you are. Brent Staples appeals to the audience through his emotionally charged language with the use of his experiences with unconscious prejudice.
In "Black Men and Public Space," Brent Staples writes about how he was treated differently throughout his life due to his race by using connotative diction that invites ethos and pathos. Staples describes the problems, discrimination, and disapprovals he faces being a black man in public places. Staples explains how through his lifetime, people have discriminated against him because he is an African American man who works as a writer in a primarily Caucasian field. Brent Staples explains, the first time he understood how much his presence startled or concerned others was after an experience he had when he used to take late night walks as a graduate student. In addition to his first experience Staples describes countless other different occurrences of when he felt he had been discriminated against by other people based on his race. Staples has constantly been seen as a threat or criminal solely because of the color of his skin, leading him to have to deal with many distressing situations.
Staples starts the essay writing about how his skin color has a negative change on the public perspective. “Black Men in Public Spaces,” written in December 1986 by Brent Staples, tells about his life in Illinois as a frequent “night walker.” He starts
In Brent Staples’ "Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space," Staples describes the issues, stereotypes, and criticisms he faces being a black man in public surroundings. Staples initiates his perspective by introducing the audience in to thinking he is committing a crime, but eventually reveals how the actions taken towards him are because of the fear linked to his labelled stereotypes of being rapists, gangsters and muggers. Staples continues to unfold the audience from a 20 year old experience and sheds light onto how regardless of proving his survival compared to the other stereotypical blacks with his education levels and work ethics being in the modern era, he is still in the same plight. Although Staples relates such burdens
In Brent Staples’ essay, “Just Walk on By” the author describes his experiences, feelings, and reactions towards the discrimination he has faced throughout his life as a black man. Staples describes several different personal experiences of when he felt that he had been judged or discriminated against by other people based on the color of his skin and how that contributed to his overall appearance. Staples has continuously been perceived as a danger or criminal simply because of his skin color, leading him to have to deal with many uncomfortable situations. The author has even gone so far as to take precautions when he is on the street just so that he will not be
In Brent Staples’ life, he has had many life experiences dealing with racism and has experienced racism first hand. Relaying these personal experiences is what he chose to write about in his essay. A life experience that Brent Staples shared is, “My first victim was a woman - white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties. I came upon her late one evening on a deserted street in Hyde Park, a relatively affluent neighbourhood in an otherwise mean, impoverished section of Chicago…. She cast back a worried glance. To her, the youngish black man – a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into he pockets of a bulky military jacket-seemed menacingly close. After a few more quick glimpses, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest. Within seconds she disappeared into a cross street.” (Staples
Similar to Dumas’ struggle in America as an Iranian, Brent Staples’ “Black Men and Public Space” details the struggle of being a black man in America. There are countless stereotypes implanted in the minds of Americans of the typical black person, aggressive, dishonest, ruthless, and overall ill intentioned. The first encounter with this racist outlook on blacks Staples had was in a wealthier area of downbeat Chicago, who began to appear worrisome and soon after proceeded to run from the author, who had done nothing intentionally to provoke fear in her. I agree that women should always place their safety as their first priority and should remove themselves from any situation in which they find themselves uncomfortable or at risk, but if blacks and whites can’t manage to walk the same streets without one race thinking the other is going to attack at any given moment due to the misconceptions floating around in their heads, then America really isn’t a land of diversity. It then becomes a land of hierarchy. As he says, Staples is too scared to even wield a knife at a chicken, let alone wield a knife at another human being, but by the color of his skin and appearance, one would never know this. Being perceived as dangerous, he writes, is a hazard in itself, and could easily land him in the back of a police car
Society, as viewed today, is not the same as it was at the end of the twentieth century, treatment of minorities was much different. Brent Staples was a writer at the time and choose to highlight this treatment in a piece titled Black Men and Public Space. Staples published this piece in Harper’s Magazine in 1986 which was an American magazine that covered politics, society, culture, and the environment. Even though the readers of the magazine were most likely aware of the culture surrounding African Americans it still was an effective piece. In Black Men and Public Space Brent Staples analysis the cultural identity of African Americans through the descriptions of personal experiences that he has had.