Black Men and Public Spaces

Topics: White people, Black people, African American Pages: 2 (744 words) Published: November 14, 2013
This reflective essay “Black Men and Public Spaces” by Brent Staples, argues about the author’s personal struggles for being a black man, in his twenties, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Brent Staples was born and raised in Chester, Pennsylvania but he finished his studies and began working as a journalist in Chicago and New York City. Staples writes about some stories that gradually led him to realize over the fear of being judged by his race. In “Black Men and Public Spaces”, Staples let us become aware of his attitude and the way he perceive the situations he presents.

To begin with his story, Staples presents a white woman who he comes across walking in the streets. He states that just by looking at him, she started to run until he could no longer see her. That first scenario made him realize of what being an african american man or what his “inheritance” (p. 336) will cause, if he was seen in a public space. This because of the stereotype black men suffer of being rapist or a thief. Later in the essay, he tells about white people’s actions in the intersections whenever he passed by a car or crossed the streets. For example, the driver will automatically put down the locks, or the pedestrians will cross in another direction.

Also, he explains how in his own work as a journalist, his own peers had accused him for being a thief and called security. In his writing, Staples describes how he understands that young black males are constantly related to violence and other crimes and that this is why he was constantly judged. Likewise, he explains how he had seen this incidents, of violence where he grew up.

As it was stated, this is a narrative essay where the author reinforces his message by expressing his personal experiences. This can make the audience understand in a sensitive way his point of view. That is, his personals stories can help to not only understand what he believes or how he sees the situation, but to understand what he feels about the...
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