Brent Staples

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Prejudices in Our World
Both Brent Staples in “Black Men and Public Places” and Judith Cofer in “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” seem to be illustrating the prejudices some people have. They both explain how the way they look gets them treated by others. Brent Staples, because he is black in perceived as a criminal; Judith Cofer is a Latina and is mistaken for a waitress. Both stories give numerous examples of prejudice. In addition, each writer has a larger purpose, a deeper reason for writing their story: Brent Staples’ reason for writing his story is to express to the reader how these prejudices affected him as well as other black men all over the country and how society, not just white people fear young black males. Judith Cofer’s reason for writing her story is to us the misconceptions and stereotypes many people have of Latin women. Brent Staples begins his essay by saying, “My first victim was a woman—white, well dressed, probably in her late twenties.” He makes it seem as if he really attacks this woman when the only crime he has committed is being black and taking a stroll late at night. No one seems to look at him as the person he really was at the time; a graduate student at the University of Chicago who as he puts it is a, “softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken—let alone hold one to a person’s throat”. He expresses the feeling of rage at always being perceived as a criminal. He describes how many people, no matter what color, react when he walks by. He tells up how people lock their car doors as he walks past them, how they cross the street, and how some women clutch onto their purses when they walk by him. Mr. Staples understands the fear as well as the real danger that everyone faces everyday however, he still feels alienated about constantly be perceived as a criminal. He talks about his childhood and being that he grew up in a rough town in Pennsylvania he never fully realized the fear that...
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