Black Men and Public Space Analysis

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In Brent Staples “Black Men and Public Space”, a black man reveals his experience with particular individuals in public areas whom fear him based on his race’s stereotype. Staples suggest that people still tend to portray black men as violent and dangerous individuals from racial tendencies without rationalizing and thus causing stress to the victims (black men) because they’re seen as threats despite their true nature. In the past, black men have had reputations that associate themselves with murderers, thieves, rapist etc. thus making people around them feel anxious and/or concerned.

The tone from the text appears ironic as Staples uses the words “My first victim” (137) as his opener despite himself being the victim instead of the offender. Although the narrator does not cause trouble nor harm anyone in his way, the ‘victim’ “picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest.” (137). The issue Staples is demonstrating is that people should not judge others based on preconception of a certain race, and that the black man was evidently the victim of discrimination instead of the convict. He utilizes the irony in his text to illustrate the injustice of what seems to be and what it should be regarding the treatment to black men. The narrator seems to appear conceded to the fact that people will always view him as a threat because of his race. He first introduces the story more than ten years ago in Chicago, and then mentions other experiences as he moves to New York for his job. Staples demonstrate that no matter when or where he is, the notion of black men being dangerous or being involved in criminal activity does not leave the world’s general schema. He goes out of his way to not make people uncomfortable despite his rage of his treatment in society. “If I happen to be entering a building behind some people who appear skittish, I may walk by, letting them clear the lobby before I return, so as not to seem to be following them” (140). With this quote,...
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