Black Men and Public Space
In his essay, “Black Men and Public Space, Brent Staples expresses his experiences, struggles and discoveries of being a African American man of great stature in America in the 1970’s. His appearance alone—a dark looming figure—sparks a subconscious fear for an ordinary man. Typical citizens only see in black and white thus their eyes cannot distinguish between Staples and a criminal who prowls the streets with the same features. Describing his own character as a courteous and harmless person, clashes with the views of those around him that possess negative stereotypes towards black men.
His reverse relationship with Caucasian people make it seem that a white person’s fear is not as strong as the discrimination Staples encounters in his day-to-day life, making him the victim, not the culprit. Being in these situations initiates a response from Staples in order to intimidate people less. Staples, in this reading, tries to make his readers live in his shoes and acknowledge the fact not all black men are the ones that automatically appear in their mind.
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Sometimes the fear of stereotypes attributes more to the action and reaction to people, more so than their general logic. We might believe that issues of race and gender is not present in this time and age but it still remains maybe in stronger than in the past. Although we consider America to be an egalitarian society, it is far from it. While we wish to live in a society where stereotypes are non-existent and men are all treated equal, we as human have it in our nature