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Black Men and Public Space Summary

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Black Men and Public Space Summary

In his essay, "Black Men and Public Space" Brent Staples illustrates his inherited ability to frighten white people, and women. The issue is the unnecessary profiling and discrimination that Staples endures on a regular basis. Staple spends a great deal elaborating on the unfortunate encounters he has with individuals in public places. Staples' is an "avid night walker" (page 227). Due to this, he often scares the other walkers in many Chicago and New York communities. Staples find himself annoyed by the fear response that he stirs in others while walking. These responses are attributed to Staples being African American. Staples feel that his skin color is the issue for people. Staples allow himself to get upset over these situations rather than understand the reasoning behind it. Staples discusses giving other subway riders room to ease their worries about him through whistling classical music but it has become far too natural for subway riders to be worried about other passengers and their intentions. It seems that Staples take to offense the reactions that others have towards to him. Staple is aware that he is not a gangbanger but a highly educated black man and journalist with outstanding credentials. On the other hand, on the street Staples appears very sketchy, "A broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket" (page 226). Staples is discriminated against daily, because of his appearance but what people fail to realize is that it doesn't have to be a black man. It can be anyone.

I honestly can relate to Staples' issue with discrimination. To me Staple was a bit ashamed and upset about the issues he's faced with on a regular due to his skin color. Staples does not have control over how he was born yet he has to suffer for due to all of the stereotypes about African American men. If a white man with a similar appearance to Staples, I can almost be certain that people wouldn't react the same way in public place. Also, the white man wouldn't experience the same treatment or face the same problems as Staples did. The stereotype the world has created has caused many people to be and remain on edge. Staples tried to not let the stereotype affect him but the readers know that it did. Staples responded to discrimination by dealing with it and accepting it for what it was. He looked at this situation as the cup was half full and not empty. No matter what he would do stereotypes are out of his hands, Staples did the correct thing by staying grounded and rational when dealing with profiling and discrimination.

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