Brent Staples

Better Essays
"Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power To Alter Public Space"� Stereotypes affect different individuals regardless race, religion, sex, and creed. In "Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space,"� Brent Staples demonstrates how a stereotype on race and sex can intervene with one another. Each point, whether a narrative or remark, can have positive and negative outcomes on the audience Staples is trying to enlighten. His thesis, the ability to alter public space through racial stereotypes, affected him as well as many other persons of his stature and skin color. It not only influenced lives of people like Staples, but infringed onto the "victims"� of Staples and others like him. Staples explains his thesis throughout the essay through narratives of incidents in his life. He explains one encounter with a young white women, "on a deserted street, in an impoverished section of Chicago"� (556). She glances back at him and disappears off into the dark. In paragraph two, Staples understands her thoughts of him being a mugger, a rapist, or even a murderer; but "her flight"� made him feel "like an accomplice tyranny"� (556). It also made him feel like he was "indistinguishable from the muggers,"� and laid on him and "unnerving gulf between nighttime pedestrians-particularly women"� and himself (556). This confrontation not only shows how a stereotype affected the thoughts of a female walking at night, but how it negatively touched a black male. Staples gives example after example showing a bigoted label he obtains due to his race and sex. Not only females, but males of the same race show a sign of uneasiness and discomfort when confronted by black males in insecure and dangerous areas. In his essay he mentions Norman Podhoretz, the writer of, "My Negro Problem-And Ours."� Podhoretz recalls in his essay that he grew up in terror of black males, and that "he cannot constrain his nervousness when he meets black men on certain streets"� (557).


Cited: Barnet, Sylvan, Marcia Stubbs, and Pat Bellanca, The Practical Guide to Writing with Readings and Handbook. 8th ed. New York: Longman, 2000.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Brent Staples

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages

    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…

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Brent Staples

    • 829 Words
    • 2 Pages

    web, I found out some very informative information about the life of Brent Staples. Brent Staples was an intelligent man, not just an ordinary man from Chester, Pennsylvania. He earned various degrees as different universities and colleges like a BA from Widener University in 1973, and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1977. He was a professor of psychology at various universities in the states. Writing is one of Staples’ specialties and he has been a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times and the…

    • 829 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Brent Staples

    • 272 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Brent Staples wrote an essay about “What Adolescents miss when we let them grow up in Cyberspace.” In the beginning Staples describes the father of his 10th grade heartthrob. He insinuates that he is a fearsome steelworker who struck terror in the hearts of 15-year old boys. Whenever they would talk on the phone, her father would cut the conversation short. Now he has to make a choice to give up or show up at the front door. This is the first sustained encounter with an adult outside of his family…

    • 272 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Brent Staples Destiny

    • 789 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Brent Staples; Fight Against The Destiny Everyday millions of people; young and old, rich and poor are getting up with the sunshine glittering in their eyes and start in their days with different concerns, in different moods. Each of them is just living out their lives with the destiny that has been set for them. It is interesting how life starts differently for each of us. Some may be born rich, handsome or super intelligent, while the others may be born poor, disabled or as orphans. Some may…

    • 789 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    First analytical essay The night world In “Black Men and Public Space,” Brent Staples makes the most interesting idea that, people look – always – to black men as a threat, they see every dark skinned youth as an incoming danger, and that is what Staples implies in his essay. He also explains when he was young, people looked at him as a mugger or, a rapist or even worse. So, throughout his essay we can see Staples’ realization of the fact that, people – rarely - change their prospective about…

    • 1226 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Brent staples

    • 4879 Words
    • 13 Pages

    B_r_e_n_t_ _S_t_a_p_l_e_s_,_ _“J_u_s_t_ _W_a_l_k_ _o_n_ _B_y_” _ My first victim was a woman—white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties. I came upon her late one evening on a deserted street in Hyde Park, a relatively affluent neighborhood in an otherwise mean, impoverished section of Chicago. As I swung onto the avenue behind her, there seemed to be a discreet, uninflammatory distance between us. Not so. She cast back a worried glance. To her, the youngish black man—a broad six feet two…

    • 4879 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Brent Staples Analysis

    • 528 Words
    • 3 Pages

    apologetic attitude and extreme behavior modification that Brent Staples exercised for the simple purpose of alleviating the fears and suspicions aroused by the presence of a black man. Brent says he smothered the rage that surely would have turned to madness, he kept a wide distance from people on subways who appeared to be nervous especially during the wee hours, and even moreso if he had changed from professional attire into jeans. Brent, in his own words, allowed people to walk by so he didn't…

    • 528 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Recitatif Brent Staples

    • 564 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Through Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” and Brent Staples’ essay “Black Men and Public Spaces”, we see the similar topics of nonverbal communication and stereotypes. Through his use of a cowbell metaphor, and her use of handshake imagery Staples and Morrison explore the theme that nonverbal communication and stereotypes can affect how people act and are viewed in society. After living in New York for a few years, Staples learned to take precautions, so as not to seem threatening. He would…

    • 564 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Public Space,” Brent Staples discusses the development of standard stereotypes that can not just affect the actions of the victim, but the suspect. Throughout the essay, Staples describes himself in a sequence of events, and proceeds to tell the readers how people around him react. Brent Staples was a tall black man and always faced the same reaction when walking the streets during his late night strolls. People that were walking late as well especially white women would avoid Staples either by crossing…

    • 484 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Brent Staples' A Brother's Murder A belief I feel very strongly about proposes that all problems faced by our society have solutions. If this belief is true, why do problems still face us today? The answer could be a result of either laziness by the people in our society in finding these solutions or just the fact that there are too many problems to solve. Maybe this belief I have is too far out of reach to be true. On the other hand, Brent Staples, a well-respected writer, seems to share this…

    • 746 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays