Black Men and Public Space

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Black Men and Public Space

Tyrone a young black man, born and raised in the South Bronx, wanted nothing but the best to succeed for his future. A straight A student in college. Never once in trouble with the law, was wrongfully accused of murder. Tyrone was minding his business walking to his local bodega, when this innocent lady was robbed and stabbed to death right in front of him. The black man who committed the crime fled the scene. Tyrone was there when this all happened. The police arrived to the scene right away to question all the witnesses; they all accused Tyrone because he was the only black man in the area. Tyrone an innocent black man had experienced what “Black Men and Public Space” deal with almost every day.

Brent Staple’s essay, “Black Men and Public Space” discloses the racial profiling and ignorance he experiences out in public spaces from others as a young black man into his older age. Staples’ shares with his readers some of his personal encounters when he was stereotyped by his physical appearance. Staples’ also illustrates his inner struggle of acceptance of not being feared no more. In today’s society many black men have given a bad reputation for other black men that do not deserve the treatment they receive as if they were criminals. As many good black men there are, who prove that not all black men are criminals, it will not stop people from being stereotypical. As Brent Staples stated, “Black men trade tales like this all the time”.

As common stereotyping may be, it can make someone feel alienated. To know your physical appearance can cause such fear, when you know you can’t even hurt a mouse. Living in today’s society, is one wrong to stereotype a person if that person looks suspicious and makes you feel unsafe? Should one feel inferior because they’re being stereotyped?

Brent Staples chose to use his own personal experiences as a black man to explain how he is stereotyped by society. He...
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