The name of the story is Black Men and Public Spaces. It was written by Brent Staples in 1986. Brent Staples is a black man who whenever in public is met with fear from others because of his race’s stereotype. Feeling like a potential perpetrator can be just as unnerving as feeling like a potential victim. Staples has the ability to alter public space by his physical behavior, his dress and his verbal reaction. Black men have a reputation of being rapist, murders and gang members, therefore many people get worried when a young black man is around.
So Staples has learned how to change his perception or level of threat to others. He accomplishes this by his physical behavior. The way he walks or acts around others can change there mood. Now Staples notices if people are frightened by him. Brent Staples attempts to introduce people to something most all are guilty of, but pay little attention to. Using accounts from his own and others’ experiences, Staples essay portrays the racist tendency of people to assume black men are potentially violent and dangerous.
Stereotypes are so common in our world today and people don’t even notice how bad they portray it. I hate seeing that a man had to force himself to change the way he acts and portrays himself in public. Why should someone change their ways? It made me think of a time when I was getting gas on Green River Road near Washington Avenue. I was almost done when a car with two black men pulled up and stepped out of their car. I was nervous so I stopped and got into my car real quick.
Now that I think about it those men weren’t doing anything, just grabbing some late night food. How could I be that bad of a person? I know now that was wrong of me and I’m working on it. I hope someday society will realize what they are doing and change it. Not just for their sake but for mankind. Staples was viewed as a rapist, murder, and etcetera, all because he was a black man. But in reality he was just as uncomfortable as everyone who looked at him differently. Brent Staples tries to make people aware of what they are guilty of and someday all will realize.
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Topic: Black Men and Public Spaces
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