Reading And Summary Response Essay On B

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Black people, Miscegenation Pages: 2 (685 words) Published: December 4, 2014
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A Summary on Brent Staples’s “Black Men in Public Space”

Brent Staples’s essay, “Black Men in Public Space”, was written to show how stereotypes about black men have affected him personally. He tells several short stories about how he was mistaken for some type of criminal. Using these personal experiences, he gives his audience insight into the cause and effect of these misconceptions.

“To her, the youngish black man – a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket – seemed menacing close (par.1). Staples describes his appearance from the woman’s point of view. He states that his appearance frightened a woman in Chicago enough for her to start running across the street. In the second paragraph of the essay, Staples’s reaction is the reader’s first insight into the effect that this experience left on him. “It was in the echo of that woman’s footfalls that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I’d come into – the ability to alter public space in ugly ways” (par.2). This is particularly meaningful as Staples projects that his first experience would not be his last. Staples states, “Over the years, I learned to smother the rage I felt at so often being taken for a criminal. Not to do so would surely have led to madness” (par.11). He goes on to list the many ways he takes precautions to make himself less threatening. Whistling, giving more space between him and nervous people on the subway, and letting people clear the lobby before he proceeds. All of these things have worked for him and appear to be working out for the pedestrians sharing his space as well.

This essay opens itself to a wide range of audience. It reaches out to the black men and the people stereotyping the black men. “Where fear and weapons meet – and they often do in urban Page | 1

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