Black Men in Public Space

670 Words 3 Pages
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 …show more content…
This shows that he kept in mind how other people feel when they are around in a dark and late setting. He also tries to lighten up the mood and make himself seem friendlier by whistling tunes from classical music. “I whistle melodies from Beethoven and Vivaldi and the more popular classical composers” (Staples 226). Whistling got people to feel calmer around him, for he writes, “and occasionally they even join in the tune” (Staples 226). He changed the way he physically appeared to be so that people would be less likely to put on a stereotype about African Americans on him. There were various times I experienced people misjudging my shyness for being mean. The first time people see me they think I am a mean person because the way I look. When I walk, I do not have smile on my face so it looks like I am intimidating to talk to. Some were afraid to talk to me because they thought I was stuck up. When people begin talking or starting to get to know me they realized that I am a really nice and shy person. The first time I heard what others thought of me I was shocked because my personality is the opposite of what they think. I do not take it personally because I am a nice person once people get to know me. I felt bad because I do not mean to come off that way to others. The way I reacted to it was to smile more at people and try not to look so intimidating. I tried to change how I looked
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