Black Men and Public Spaces Critical Analysis

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In “Black Men and Public Spaces”, Brent Staples is in his early twenties and is faced with the menacing crime of being a black man in the 1970’s. As Staples likes to walk the streets at night due to his insomnia, every stranger that comes close enough to realize that he’s a tall black man lets their fear take control of them as they avoid him to the point of fleeing. To the eyes of people (mainly women) at night, he was no different from any other thug or criminal who prowls the street. Having moved to New York, and growing accustomed to being perceived as a threat, Staples learned to properly give people their space to intimidate them less as he walks the streets. Despite being a journalist, he has even had security called in on him at a magazine class is viewed in the American society, as Staples expresses how African Americans company simply due to his appearance. No matter what people perceive Staples as, he never lets it gets to him as he would whistle the pleasant tunes of various classical music to show he means no harm. All these events truly reflect how race and gender struggle to maintain equality through his own personal experiences and actions. Staples shows that the fear of stereotypes attributes more to the action and reaction to people, more so than their general logic. I believe that Staples gets caught up with the notion of “stereotypes” to the point where he fails to recognize that most of the reactions he gets are simply due to people being in situations that are unfamiliar to them, and like all animals relying on instinct at such encounters, they flee for the need to survive. As humans, we can’t see very well in the dark and it’s almost impossible to be able to predict what would happen in any situation. It is for that one reason that we can’t predict the outcome of a situation that lets the fear in us take over, and we lose our ability to think rationally. When Staples uses the words “my first victim” (369), he was talking more about...
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