Dealing with Society: Brent Staples' "Black Men in Public Places"

Topics: Black people, Miscegenation, Security guard Pages: 2 (576 words) Published: November 10, 2009
Dealing with Society
As much as people may want to avoid passing instant judgments on others, it seems to be a part of human nature to be critical. Stereotyping and making assumptions over a person due to the way they are casually dressed or by their race is a kind of safety utility one uses in order to be more aware of one’s surroundings and to avoid burglary or kidnappings. At first glance Brent Staples is someone a female would put on their radar to look out for. Even though he recognizes that he does seem to have that appearance he knows who he is and feels it to be unjust because passing judgments are made about him on a day to day basis. In his essay “Black Men and Public Spaces”, he writes about society’s perception of a black man. Staples used another example where it strengthened an impacted his writing. While he was working as a journalist in Chicago a huge mistake was made. He was “…rushing late into the office of a magazine…with a dead line story in hand, [he] was mistaken for a burglar. The office manager called security and, with an ad hoc posse, pursued [him] through the labyrinthine halls, nearly to [his] editor’s door” (Staples 106). He had no form of identification and continued to walk with the security guards without putting up a fight to truly claim his post there as a journalist. This case made a point where the audience can sympathize with this sort of discrimination. One may try to identify with Staples because he has overcome his childhood and went down the right path. He writes “I grew up one of the good boys, had perhaps a half-dozen fistfights” (Staples 106). He continues to say that he has buried some friends, had family in prison, and other people that used to live down the same block go down the wrong road. He is a college graduate, a person who made it through against all odds and so he believes that he should not be one to fear. Yet, it is going to continue to happen and one must cope with humanity. Dealing with society...

Cited: Document
Staples, Brent."Black Men and Public Spaces." Literature for composition essays, fiction, poetry, and drama. 4th ed. New York, NY: HarperCollins College, 1996. 103-107. Print.
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