Essays on Black Men and Public Spaces

Black Men and Public Spaces
Original title Black Men and Public Spaces
Author Brent Staples
Genre Non-Fiction
Language English
Characters Brent Staples, The Author
Published 1986
ISBN 465086158
Book Summary
Essay Examples

Table of Contents

In his essay Black Men and Public Space,” Brent Staples explores the effect his race has had on his life, from the first time he was consciously aware of it in junior high school to the present day. Staples begins by describing an incident from his youth when he and a friend were mistaken for criminals and chased by a white mob. Though they were innocent, the experience made him aware of the threat his mere presence could pose to others.As he grew older, Staples began to notice the way people reacted to him when he was in public spaces. He would be followed by store clerks, given a wide berth by passersby, and generally treated with fear and suspicion. He came to understand that his race was seen as a threat by many white people, and that he would always be viewed with suspicion because of it.In the years since, Staples has learned to use his 6-foot-tall, athletic build and “intimidating” presence to his advantage. He now uses his size to assert himself in public spaces and make people feel safe, rather than afraid. He has also come to accept that there will always be a certain amount of prejudice against black men, but he has learned to live with it and not let it control his life.”

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